Big Boys Gone Bananas: Fredrik Gertten


Fredrik Gertten comes from Sweden and makes documentaries that focus on the struggles of the vulnerable. But when he made a documentary about a workers lawsuit brought against fruit giant Dole, he ran into his own lawsuit and a public relations effort to discredit him. Fredrik Gertten filed his own lawsuit and kept his cameras rolling, we hear from the the director of Big Boys Gone Bananas. .

Part Three of The Current

Big Boys Gone Bananas: Fredrik Gertten

We started this segment with a clip from the trailer for Fredrik Gertten's 2009 documentary, Bananas! … a film about a lawsuit Nicaraguan banana workers brought against the giant fruit company - Dole. A lawsuit filed by California attorney Juan Dominguez alleged the company knowingly exposed the workers to the pesticide DBCP during the 1970s, leading to health effects such as sterility. It also alleged Dole hid knowledge of the pesticide use from the workers. A jury found in favour of six of the twelve plaintiffs and awarded them 3.2 million dollars. A judge later overturned that award, ruling that the testimony of the banana workers was fraudulent.

So while Fredrik Gertten thought he was documenting the victory of the workers and highlighting their struggle, the story was really only beginning. It's a story that he continues in his follow-up documentary, Big Boys Gone Bananas. It runs today at the Hot Docs festival and opens theatrically in Toronto on Friday, May 11th. Fredrik Gertten joined us in our Toronto studio.

We also hope to hear Dole's reaction to this documentary in an upcoming edition of The Current.

Other segment from today's show:

Harper's Milestone Majority: One Year In

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