New attack from Dole

After the screenings of BANANAS!* on the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, Dole’s lawyer firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LPP demanded the festival to send them all business records pertaining to BANANAS!*.

We think that this would truly hurt the integrity of the organization, as the supporter of the independent filmmaker, and of free speech.

Below is a letter sent to festival director Dawn Hudson from BANANAS!* director Fredrik Gertten, where he asks the festival not to cede to the demands of the subpoena:

 

July 1, 2009

Dawn Hudson
Executive Director
Film Independent
Los Angeles CA

Dear Dawn Hudson and Film Independent Board of Directors:

RE: Subpoena from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LPP dated 13 June 2009

We wanted to express our thanks to you for showing our film BANANAS!* at the recent Los Angeles Film Festival. As we were all under pressure amidst the controversy, we were pleased that you went ahead and screened the film.

We now understand that Dole Food has subpoenaed Film Independent for business records pertaining to our film BANANAS!*. We respectfully urge you to reject this act of blatant intimidation, and ask you to please not assist Dole Foods and their legal representatives in attacking out film and filmmaker team.

To cede to the demands of the subpoena without fighting them would truly hurt the integrity of the organization as the supporter of the independent filmmaker, and of free speech. Further, this could very well set a dangerous precedent in how outside parties handle legal actions toward films presented at the Los Angeles Film Festival and films associated with Film Independent.

As you know Dole attacked the film early on without seeing it. As more professionals and general audiences were able to view the film, many saw Dole’s counter campaign antics clearly as the intimidation tactics that they were and continue to be.

Between both our organization and yours, we collectively have strong contacts in the global, independent production community, and we intend to rally this support for our cause. We would like to talk with you at your earliest opportunity on how we can work together in fighting this subpoena.

Thank you for all your support, and we look forward to moving ahead together to stop these unwarranted attacks on us the filmmakers, and on Film Independent.

Sincerely,
Fredrik Gertten

 


Download the letter in PDF »

4 Comments

Dole is demanding business records pertaining to the film because it knows that it can succeed with the flimsiest evidence to demonstrate some connection between the filmmaker and the subject. The legal system here operates in favor of large business interests, especially Judge Chaney, which Dole’s lawyers: Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, have specifically asked to be available as a judge in any further matters or in case of appeal on any present matters. She said she would ask permission of the circuit court (of which she was recently elevated to) to follow through on matters related to the case. FIND and LAFF are a couple of pretentious organizations of spineless artists that can only talk up concepts of free speech, as long as real action and determination in defense of it are not required. Count on them to acquiesce. The lesson here, missed by LAFF and FIND is that the government may have some impediments to restraining speech, but if the government (i.e. the legal system) acts in defense of deep pocket corporations and their battalions of high-powered attorneys (that have actually shaped the character and operation of the legal system) then justice won’t be done to our high-minded, but forgotten principles of free speech. All media, as well as the filmmaking community consequently suffers as it helps to shape prececedent through its inaction, acquiescence and cowardice. Oh, well. Sad, but true.

This is normal.

Large corporations as LEGO and RayBan are doing the same thing. They use the full extent of the law to send threatining “warning letters” to competitors or distributors of their competitor products - but the letters are all legal.

These large global companies can do what they want - because they have once lobbied for these laws. They have control.

The only way the smaller companies and people can get any such control is to vote for non-conservative and non-socialist politicians. Be careful next time you vote, and vote for smaller parties and politicans, and then we might succeed in getting a better world. This is valid all over the free world.

Thank u very much for trying to inform humankind to all the evils out there. Keep up the good work

No matter what the order, release the video.
I don’t care if it is in US or other countries.
Heck, Bit Torrent the movie if you have to.
This information MUST reach the public if you guys have any chance of helping those who are harmed.
If you can get this to become viral on You-Tube, then you have achieved at least a small victory.

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