June 26, 2009

FIND/LAFF statement on BANANAS!* screening

Filed under: News — admin @ 1:10 pm

Film Independent (FIND) director Dawn Hudson read a statement prior to the screening of BANANAS!* on June 20. It was also handed out to the audience.

"Before you watch this film, you need to know that serious questions have been raised about its credibility.

The judge specifically mentions in her ruling that the witnesses you will see in the film tonight (from the Tellez trial) lied under oath, presented false employment records, and presented fraudulent evidence of sterility.

The court has referred Juan Dominguez to the State Bar and to criminal prosecutors. He is defending all charges against him.

None of this is reflected in the film you are about to see. As a reult, there seems to be little question that the version of reality that the film portrays does not match the reality that emerged in the courtroom.

So why is the Los Angeles Film Festival showing this film when the allegations presented have been found by an LA Superior Court judge to be based on fraudulent evidence?

This is a question that we at Film Independent and the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) have been wrestling with for the past several days – not the least because there is the threat of litigation if we go forward with the screening.

We are not eager to be sued. Nor, given what we know, do we believe that BANANAS!* – in its present form – presents a fair or accurate portrait of Juan Dominguez and the Tellez trial.

This is why we are showing this film – out of competition – as a case study, to illuminate a timely exploration of what makes (and doesn’t make) a responsible documentary."

Read the full statement »

Watch director Fredrik Gertten’s speech before the screening »

Also see AJ Schnack’s blog post and its comments:
"What is the Documentarian’s Responsibility When the Story Changes?" »



  1. The Los Angeles Film Festival has just earned its acronym for its willing submission to multinational corporate pressure. Dole’s powerful legal firm, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher has publicized in its June 23 letter that LAFF “itself provided a lengthy written and oral statement to the audience…” It’s interesting to me that LAFF should have such initiative. Is LAFF now a fact-finding body for all film releases it screens? Has LAFF undergone any other fact finding missions “itself” with regards to any other films? Maybe LAFF should, at least, have the courage to admit that it was put under some kind of pressure to act in the way that it did. I mean, we aren’t supposed to believe that it acts in the interests of unrestrained speech, are we? That’s a laff!

    Comment by Carlos M. Dominguez (brother) — June 28, 2009 @ 12:46 am

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