"A very brave film. No wonder the main TV channels dare not show it." K e n L o a c h "This cracker of a film deserves the widest exposure." J o h n V i d a l, T he G u a r d i a n
McLibel: Two Worlds CollideTo coincide with the anniversary of the verdict in the McLibel Trial (June 19) and the start of the appeal (July 3rd), there will be a public screening of the banned documentary 'McLibel: Two Worlds Collide', followed by a debate, at the Riverside Studios on June 20. More than 50 local video and cable screenings are planned around the country & abroad and the film is available to purchase on VHS or can be watched on the internet at: www.spanner.org/mclibel. The McLibel defendants will be burying a video in a time capsule at an appropriate location in London, to protest at the mainstream media's censorship of the film.
London Screening And DebateScreening and debate: Riverside Cinema, Hammersmith. Sat 20 June. 4pm. £3.50. Tickets: +44 (0)181 237 1111.
Speakers: Helen Steel & Dave Morris (McLibel defendants), Franny Armstrong (Director), Michael Mansfield QC
Local ScreeningsMore than 50 screenings have already been scheduled in the UK, US, Germany, Finland, Holland, Australia, New Zealand and Croatia. How about organising one near you? There are press releases, helpful hints and technical tips available at:
Watch It On The WebThe full 55 minute documentary can be watched as streaming video at: www.spanner.org/mclibel. Thanks to FreeSpeech TV (www.freespeech-tv.org) for digitising it for us.
Why Isn't It On TV?Proposed transmissions on both the BBC ('Heart of the Matter') and Channel 4 were blocked by their respective legal departments, both having been previously threatened with legal action by McDonald's. This is despite the all-clear from the production's independent media lawyer.
The film is being distributed the new way: as 'streaming video' on the Internet, on cable TV in the States, at international film festivals, on home video, at local video screenings and by a travelling solar-powered cinema. Negotiations are under way with mainstream TV stations in countries with less archaic libel laws (including France, Canada, Australia).
'The Trial Of The Century.'On June 19th 1997, after the longest trial in English history, Justice Bell delivered a mixed verdict. He ruled that McDonald's "exploit children" with their advertising, are "culpably responsible" for cruelty to animals, deceptively advertise their food as nutritious and pay their workers low wages. But he also ruled in their favour on other points (notably rainforests and diet & disease) and awarded damages of £60,000.
McDonald's abandoned plans to claim their money - or to obtain an injunction stopping distribution of the libellous material - after the impoverished defendants, who had represented themselves, vowed to go to jail if necessary. Half a million 'What's Wrong With McDonald's?' leaflets were distributed by the defendants' supporters post-verdict. The 'McSpotlight' internet site (dedicated to the trial and McDonald's) has now been accessed more than 40 million times. www.mcspotlight.org
'This Cracker Of A Film ''McLibel: Two Worlds Collide' is the inside story of the single father and the part-time bar worker who took on the McDonald's Corporation.
Filmed over three years, the documentary follows Helen Steel and Dave Morris as they turn from anonymous campaigners into unlikely global heroes defending themselves in the longest trial in English history. Along the way they face infiltration by spies, secret meetings with top executives, 40,000 pages of background reading and a visit from Ronald McDonald.
The 52-minute documentary uses interviews with witnesses and reconstructions of key moments in court (directed by Ken Loach) to examine the main issues in the trial (nutrition, advertising, employment, animals, environment), as well as the implications for freedom of speech.
McLibel is not about hamburgers. It is about multinational corporations and the power they wield. Worth giving up six years of your life for?
Running time: 52 minutes Production company: One-Off Productions Ltd. Date: 1997
To Order A VHS
Price: 12.99 (waged), £9.99 (unwaged) P & P: £2 (UK), £3 (Europe), £4 (world) Format: PAL (UK) or NTSC (USA)