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BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*
Have you ever wondered how far big corporations are willing to go in order to protect their brand? I’m a documentary filmmaker who has experienced this first hand – and I have a new film to prove it. Here’s my story...
What happened to my last film
It all started with my previous film BANANAS!* which recounts the lawsuit that 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers brought against the Dole Food Company, the largest fruit corporation in the world. When the film was about to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Dole tried to stop it at all cost, claiming the documentary was “fraudulent” – although they hadn't even seen it. Dole’s law firm sent us a “cease and desist” letter demanding of us to withdraw the film and close its website, or we would get sued.
It soon became clear that this multinational corporation wanted to scare us and the festival into silence. The festival kicked the film out of competition and had a disclaimer read in front of the film. I had to accept this, I simply felt that I must screen my film and show the world that there is no defamation or slander in it. I decided that if the big boys were going to deliver a lawsuit against me then I wanted it on camera.
What's this new film about?
My new film BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* tells the story of this journey, a story you would hardly believe unless you witnessed it with your own eyes. Dole attacked us with a lawsuit, bullied us personally with scare tactics, and tried to control the media through massive PR-spin. Dole managed to create major headlines in their favor, saying that the documentary was based on a lie – before our film could be seen and judged by anyone. Their agents even called up every single news reporter who published a story about our film. It was mind-boggling and frightening.
Dole spent a lot of time and money trying to kill the story of BANANAS!* simply because their reputation was on the line. As Dole’s public relations company stated it, “it is easier to cope with a bad conscience than a bad reputation.”
The only way to stop corporations from acting this way in the future is to raise awareness about this kind of behavior. The principles of free speech and freedom of the press were established to protect citizens from their governments. In my experience, it’s now corporate control that’s threatening these rights the most. So this new film is not just a film about us. It’s a fight for the rights of all storytellers. And I want to inspire people around the world to discuss this.
Where we're at
The new film is already finished and just had a very successful world premiere at the world’s largest documentary festival, IDFA in Amsterdam. The film will have its North American premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival later this month. So we’re lucky enough to have the greatest possible launch platform. What we don’t have is the money to pay for the initial costs of such a launch. The greatest platform is no use to us as long as our pockets are empty, thanks to Dole’s impact on our business. An international launch costs a whole lot of money that we just don´t have.
So what do we want?
BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!* should be seen and used by people all over the world – in cinemas and in schools. It might be a scary story, but it comes with a happy ending. There is hope.
What is utterly important to me is that this film reaches out to the heart of the conflict, the United States. This is where this story needs to be told. This is the home of the people who tried to stop BANANAS!*.
Yet for a launch in the U.S., I need to pay for so-called ‘errors & omissions insurance’, which is required to protect people who show the film from the economic consequences of potential lawsuits. In addition. there are a lot of other expenses required for the release, paying for people who work on the distribution, for film copies needed for theatrical screenings, for DVD production and shipping costs, for travel expenses and so much more. That’s why I really need to raise at least $15,000. And we simply can’t do it without your help.
Why we need to reach this goal
If the project does not reach $15,000, we’ll get nothing from Kickstarter. This is my first campaign here, so I wanted to be modest. Everything beyond this target will really help us get back on our feet and reach an even broader audience. We’re still suffering from the loss of all the time and money that went into the fight Dole had brought upon us. Against all odds, we did succeed in making my previous film available to people around the world. But it came at a huge price.
What do you get out of it?
Not only will your contribution kick-start the outreach of an important film about the power of big corporations and their impact on our rights – you’ll also have a great choice of rewards for your support. Naturally, many documentary projects can only promise rewards that you’ll receive after a long, long wait until the film has actually been made. Luckily, we’re in a different position. With your help, our film is ready to be launched – and (depending on your choice) you’ll receive your reward right away.
The clock is ticking, so pledge your support today!
What if you cannot pledge money?
You can still help a great deal. If you spread the word about this campaign or share the trailer for the film, you’ll do us a huge favour. You can also organize a screening of the film in your own town. Come and learn more on www.bigboysgonebananas.com and join our network!
Thank you for your time and support. It is all greatly appreciated.
- (60 days)