The Antidote #14: McLibel
Indymedia (Auckland) Presents
The Antidote #14
An evening of alternative political documentaries
Sunday, December 4 @ The Classic Comedy Bar and Theatre
321 Queen Street, Auckland
7.45 pm start time for films
Released in time for McDonald’s 50th Anniversary earlier this year.
This movie has never been shown before in New Zealand.
With new material covering recent developments and completely re-edited archival footage, this update of the David and Goliath story where ordinary people face off against the corporate ogre - is the culmination of ten years of filming by director, Franny Armstrong, and her crew.
An example of low to no budget documentary-making at its most successful, the documentary came together through donated equipment and largely voluntary crew work, and acclaimed film-maker Ken Loach donating his services to directing the dramatic reconstructions.
McLibel is the story of how two ordinary people humiliated McDonald's in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history.
McDonald's love of using the UK libel laws to suppress criticism was evident as major media organisations like the BBC and The Guardian crumbled and apologised, but then they sued gardener Helen Steel and postman Dave Morris.
In the longest trial in English legal history, the "McLibel Two" represented themselves against McDonald's £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation's business was cross-examined: from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children.
During the hearings, Dave brought up his young son alone and Helen supported herself working nights in a bar. McDonald's tried every trick in the book to unsettle them, including legal manoeuvres, top executives flying to London for secret settlement negotiations, spies and even a visit from Ronald McDonald himself.
Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concluded at the European Court of Human Rights. And the result took everyone by surprise - especially the British Government.
McLibel is not just about hamburgers. It is about the importance of freedom of speech now that multinational corporations are more powerful than countries.
Filmed over ten years by no-budget Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.
"Call me biased, but I learnt more from this film (and laughed much more) than I did in Super Size Me."
Nick Fraser, BBC
Steel and Dave morris, who spent seven years defending
themselves against the colossally expensive legal team
fielded by the notoriusly litigious McDonald's, emerge as
thoroughly British heroes - modest, decent, funny and
stoical - and McDonald's look gratifying ridiculous and even
faintly sinister. Absolutely unmissable."
The Guardian (UK)
This feature will be preceded by two short documentaries from the
Oceania Indymedia Newsreal.