tv World Apart with Oxana Boyko RT November 3, 2013 2:29pm-3:01pm EST
as a swedish filmmaker and journalist i always took the right of freedom of speech for granted. but as i came to learn it depends on the story you want to tell. in two thousand and nine i had made a film about a court case in los angeles where banana workers from nicaragua were suing gold food company for the use of a banned pesticide i think claimed made them sterile along with other serious health effects and in november two thousand and seven the jury in the los angeles court delivered a groundbreaking verdict was found liable for malice and misconduct. my hope was that this would bring about better conditions for the farm workers to produce by us today. the message was extremely unpleasant so
to get a film out would prove to be a journey full of obstacles. out . in the beginning or made two dozen nine were ready to launch my film by anonymous. one morning a huge package from the us was delivered to our office. only a few days earlier we had launched the film's website announcing that we would have our world premiere in competition at the los angeles film festival. inside this package was a cease and desist letter from a law firm representing dold food company claimed that facts in my film were based on a fraud. that the banana workers were lying. i
didn't buy the. i said what's going on here we're not out to get. him and the story convinced that this was a misunderstanding. as they see the film everything will fall into place. when the cease and desist letter came in from dole i was also mentioned and i guess in some way i was kind of flattered it was like wow ok nice i'm on the rich the radar for a dollar it's really nice to see but. my wife really sort of looked you know brought me back to reality and said you know this is quite serious you know we could lose the house we could lot of things could happen doe decided to go after everybody so they could stop the film and so in doing so they threatened everybody threatened me they threatened los angeles film festival by going to all of the
major sponsors including the l.a. times and i think it was important that we all had a united front. as we started to step towards you know the film screening at the festival. i wanted to tell the whole world what was going on but i didn't so when i was interviewed for a local swedish t.v. news i did not give the reporter to full story i didn't tell her about the letters from told that we might not be able to show our film. i was doing a segment on this film that was about to compete at the l.a. festival. all sound a few days later i received a long letter and email from don't be our agency in washington. that is to want to look at the documentary was based on false accusations and lies my initial reaction was fear i was scared to think it made me very uncomfortable i mean this was
a tiny segment aired by a local news station how did they find it i'll be watching every move i can talk to the agency that put me in touch with the vice president i have made it very clear to this producer and to the l.a. film festival given that there are no orders to the absolute basis on which they built this spell and they're going forward with it very well when they're going to get sued and two they're going to be exposed to candidate damages and they'll still remember when they asked him what exactly is faked. or what lies are you throwing to. try to save me just went on and on that made me angry the film is based on a sham that's the point but have you seen the film or sham or told you know charlotte. we didn't tell anybody to threats against a film. that created the first headline. front page.
a beloved american corporation and now swedish filmmaker is making this crook into hero. that. it was such an insult who worked so hard to make this movie the fumes of the skin grew in the film's entire. i want to say. we feel like. it's a very silly sensible. so we. it all very. clear to us there's anything. other than.
sit by joel geyser our early trying to be addressed. and especially likely to ask you. guys los angeles they're going to serve us are obvious surprise if a doctor gets. the same week to judge concluded the. case probably had committed fraud the conclusion was based on testimonies from witnesses stories. so what happened to the central premise that your documentary that's just about to be released turns out to be a fraud. that. they're basically created in and. they sort of support the people getting
their piece of that. so have you finally seen the documentary and i have to admit i did not. and could not defend themselves publicly instead the journalist attacked me and my film with one question why don't you change your film. is found to be a fraud i told them that this was still an illegal fight and that i didn't believe decent usage they're attacking you as a filmmaker they're attacking the film they're. everything became personal it wasn't just about the film is really going after you. and if you look back everything. was actually they moved it off of them because they couldn't get after him to the film because. to them is damaging because you know the c.e.o. from then had you know admitted his guilt right there you know in court did it
occur to you and mr rennes all that me just try to use d.c.p. until you were sure your workers wouldn't be affected just general waiting for the evidence to pile up. the first tool pass but you still don't know if our film will be screened at all. festival board calls us to an urgent crisis they have received new letters from don't. assume they're not even on a plane. and they make it very clear to us people no longer defend my from. my account this is chris. we just came out of the meeting. just a bottom line. it's not really finished but they. think they will
get sued so hard not to risk their own organization the fessor game up with different options but the options are never going to be in your favor in the options were i mean i was in the room with the options where they were going to show up next year where you can get distribution or why don't we just show clips and we can do a discussion around it but all along that was going to do anything for your for your film and then also we fell. in on the publicity side all that said to dole was yes you're right so i'm just going to show clips so that i don't get in trouble. if festool keeps changing the conditions would have to accept that the film has been taking on a competition another legal disclaimer defending those view of the film. it's going to be read before the screen. if we don't accept these terms there will be no world premiere. i've got to find
a disclaimer text in my hand just as i arrived to the theater the festival is given in to pressure from dawn publicly announcing that the banana workers are liars i tried not to read it because i knew i would be good stuff so basically if you say i'll say it is a microcosm coming around the watch achatz is this is that. the dole vice president michael connor and his lawyers are right these are the guys who have been putting pressure on us for over six weeks not to pull the film. right from the scene. first right. and i think that you're. on a reporter's twitter. and instagram. could
be in the know. on. the deepest lake in the world. usually that no more than fifteen thousand years old this one dates back twenty five min. spirits and buddhist gods live via. the pure clear water in the lake is helping scientists unravel the mysteries of the universe. i tried to see by cal in its entirety. it's not that i have discovered something new here. brother but i absorb everything but this place offers. the
spirit of bike. exactly what happened that day i don't know but oh well yeah i killed. piers leaders are i got arrested. for a crime i did not do. we have numerous cases where police officers lie about polygraph results. people to confess to police officers don't beat people anymore i mean it just doesn't happen really. in the course of interrogation why because there's been this is like meant no because the psychological techniques are more effective in obtaining confessions than physical abuse and they were off the table they could do what they wanted they can say what they wanted and there was no evidence of what they did or what they said.
this ok great thank you all i'm so sorry like that contingent there getting us going here. welcome to the fifteenth annual los angeles film festival presented by the los angeles times i'm don hudson executive director of film independent and i also looking at you tonight screening and case study of bananas the screen is presented by film independent film and it is los angeles film festival and frederick the director and i want to introduce to you right now. right. now i want you to first. i want you to read the first you want to introduce the film yes i will but i want you to read this first i work i mean. yeah. that's was i was told all right it was actually one of the most shocking things i've ever seen
this sort of putting a documentary into a special ghetto of its own declassifying it and then. actually feeling like there was surveillance on me in the audience as we lined up and were forced to read a document that disavowed this thing and i actually felt completely ashamed for the entire los angeles movie industry and the festival i. it was beyond belief to think think that that could be done to to a participant in a film festival before you watch this film you need to get 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 trial lied under oath presented false employment records and presented fraudulent evidence of sterility none of this is reflected in the film you are about to see as a result there seems to be little question that the version of reality the film
portrays does not match the reality that emerged in the courtroom. we are not eager to be sued that is why we are showing this film out of competition as a case study to eliminate a timely exploration of what makes and doesn't make a responsible documentary the language was basically saying we're going to show this film as a test case we don't believe it's true we don't believe this filmmaker. so just be warned that what you're about to see is a bunch of crap why would they show a film it's a bunch of crap and all it's. it was just it was weird now let me introduce the director again frederick thank . everybody. sorry for all this waiting it's been the very very special. time this. i have never experienced anything like this before in my life i believe
in democracy and i believe in the free word and i believe that there is a balancing of side to between different voices and i think those are all to be room for independent films and i'm really happy to talk to all of you off to the film about the complexity of life and filmmaking and truth i mean all truth in the court but maybe also in filmmaking. lean back have a nice time thank you. thank. you. what was kind of sad with the whole disclaimer thing it was really said it was exactly what dole wanted to do don't want to have a divide division between film independent and use
a filmmaker you know if felt like the screenings at the festival coupled with the disclaimer and the panel discussion afterwards of colleagues and a lawyer it felt like they were punishing you and what i saw those really like power like it was almost like a like an effect for show just to make sure that they distance themselves anough from you so that we don't couldn't come out and that just felt really really strange at that that they would do that because allison you became the pariah in the room not dull. the festival was nearly over and still no loss but all this pressure just been scattered. as i was preparing to leave los angeles i heard that dole had served a court order on the festival demanding all emails contracts recordings
film footage relating to my movie. it seems like this is not over yet. i came back to sweden early july i was totally exhausted after the turmoil in l.a. . so i was actually sitting at home one night on the internet looking for a whole day trips with my kids and i received a call from los angeles it's a journalist who wants to comment on a lawsuit being brought against me from dold dole foods is suing us. film maker for wanting to show a fraudulent documentary slamming the company money based filmmaker frederick is being sued by a dollar the company claims the film is a fraud. we are suing. because we.
produced the riches are clearly a dish much very against the company and against our employees. it's three different lawsuits they're seeing me frederick and. the way they doing this what exactly is their strategy. really the. their main object if. they have a. we've become a part of our own film. trays a trial and now the same forces are directed against us. have you considered accommodating them in any way with the film there is nothing to accommodate their demands include stopping the film shutting down the websites i won't discuss this issue in public in the future. shoulders we worked around the clock twenty four seventh's and we have no time to engage in new film projects. luckily we have a us insurance policy covering us against lawsuits and now we have the best lawyer
working for us your film is wrapped up into a much bigger call for their cause is to get rid of billions. using chemicals so this is a cheap investment for them they are. very expensive. they're going to do but it's an investment in a bigger picture. yeah it's it's just distressing i mean it's distressing and yeah it is but it's kind of the notional rollercoaster because i mean most of the time i feel quite good but it's. it's of course extremely tiring yeah that is my little bit that's the point and that's that's what they want to get try to zap your confidence they try to make you cautious in what you say they're trying to essentially you and others to say you know what it's not worth it to go after these
corporations fight these sort of hop potato issues on the be on the. soft so i don't feel that way in. the book. i worked as a foreign correspondent earlier on like in korea or chile or south africa and i always teamed up with american journalists and i have had respect of them but i kept wondering why did they keep telling the story from dole's perspective why didn't they dig deeper. the thing that was most surprising about the media coverage of the suit that came out against you was how easily you were a fraud and doll was wrong and the banana company was fighting for justice and. no
reporters should ever take that at face value we have a astounding lack of curiosity on the part of the journalism community in the us. a lack of skepticism these journalists failed in their job they took a press release and reprinted it basically they didn't do any due diligence and that is even more shameful than the film festival disavowing you we have a media that is corrupted by power mostly by corporate power you have corporate ownership from the top you have corporate advertising coming in from the side we have a media that is where advertising and money and corporate influence is really the mother's milk. the reality is that the media is much more willing to take down stories when a company comes to them and say listen. don't write that story now because you're going to look stupid and we will go on with
a massive denial and we'll go all to your media organization as well i know all the global corporations in the us who have threatened to pull advertising from the wall street journal the new york times because they don't like the editorial coverage so there isn't as much investment in investigative journalism as there was in the past journalism itself is under threat. spending a lot of money to story they have an american p.r. company contacting journalists around the world to broker is one of the prominent public relations firms in washington they're located in the heart of downtown just about a block from the white house it's really hard to know what your parole tour is up to or who they even work for because they're not obligated to disclose any of that information. proctor used to work for the coalition provisional authority in iraq
which the united states government set up shortly after the invasion that overthrew saddam hussein so he would have been involved in frequent strategy meetings about how to sell the iraq war and part of selling that war would have also been to attack the critics and to make the critics look bad and if you look at the roster of any of the top wapping in public relation firms in town they're filled with former members of congress for murder ministration officials former cia officials increasingly journalists are going the same route. and. we now occupy an era of extreme reputation anxiety among leading companies around the world because
they are very aware that corporate reputation which they may have built over fifty years or so can be shredded in a matter of minutes so when a company feels that it's on the potential attack you try and divert attention from the real story or you have a snow dump of good alternative information so they will go out there and say listen we've got this story about reputations being on the files by this disreputable swedish filmmaker acting for a lawyer who we think is fraudulent we you can have this exclusively we'll give you all the background information and you plonk the story so if it's frederick's a bad guy if i can get that narrative into the newspapers first to make it sticky an appeal to people in a way that they'll want to tell their friends then that's the story that will go out. there was a swedish documentary maker who went to nicaragua he did
a documentary on how pesticides of damage the health of workers there the problem was that was not the case these workers were recruited by by a lawyer down there who wanted to make a case he wanted to to he had a brief against dole basically and so he recruited a bunch of nicaraguan banana harvesters to lie and say that their health was damaged the swedish filmmaker made the documentary. and he didn't find out it was a fraud until the film was done this guy still wants to show the film because he went through the process of making that i cry for any reason r.t.o. . people that want to. make up something that is fine simply.
place was no way oh. clearly they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. and sold to the u.s. and turned over to the u.s. for. the sole that could be buried alive. was saved with great effort. and they wanted to turn me into a terrorist so it is they wanted me to admit that i was a member of al qaeda the taliban that i fought with them. not about time i didn't even know what al qaeda is nevertheless there are people. brave enough to start a fight. something's going to be done that's going to be done by me and it's been a short amount of time but it's going to impact me and be prosecuted but it's going to impact. on wife my daughter. the one time a trap. on our t.v. . wealthy british style.
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i. said. i don't want to die i just really do not want to die young young. what you're dealing with. a few years but our children will just be. on the internet media that that's the future if you have a safe environment. we're going to face big problems. right on the scene. first street. and i think picture. on a reporter's twitter. on instagram. when
the drone heat i was outside with my grandmother everything became dark i was scared a pakistani girl who survived a u.s. drone attack travels to washington to tell congress how her home was destroyed and her grandmother was killed. also this week angered by n.s.a. spying and e.u. delegation fails to get explanations from u.s. officials or germany turns to edward snowden to get answers about the tapping of chancellor merkel's phone. who she. higher. speed. is going to repeat it continuously we hear from n.s.a. leaks reporter glenn greenwald who says u.s. intelligence will continue to harvest data despite.