Bonita: Ugly Bananas

My first film about banana workers. Ecuador/Scotland, 23 mins.

Watch the film here: Bonita: Ugly Bananas

As someone who used a video camera to document testimonies, I found myself in possession of unique material and needed to tell the story of the events I had witnessed – a story that would otherwise have been suppressed. Bonita: Ugly Bananas is the story of banana workers who stood up to Ecuador’s most powerful oligarch and the price they paid for their actions.

The film has been broadcast on television in Britain, Venezuela and Ecuador, where it was screened to coincide with the presidential campaign when Alvaro Noboa, plantation owner, was running for president. It has been screened at festivals including Document International Human Rights Film Festival, Glasgow, Cine Pobre, Cuba and was awarded Best Documentary at Deep Fried Film Festival, Scotland. Bonita is used as educational resource for schools and NGOs such as Banana Link, The Fairtrade Foundation, Ecologistas en Acción (Andalucía), Scottish Trade Union Congress and Friends of the Earth (Scotland).

Banana worker, Alex Mata,  injured during the attack against Los Alamos workers - he had a bullet lodged in his head. Photo: © Jan Nimmo

Banana worker, Alex Mata, injured during the attack against Los Alamos workers – he had a bullet lodged in his head. Photo: © Jan Nimmo

Synopsis

When Scottish artist, Jan Nimmo, travels to Ecuador, the world’s largest exporter of bananas, to gather workers’ testimonies, she observes the formation of the first trade unions in the banana sector for 30 years. The Los Alamos banana workers decide to go on strike for the most basic of rights. But the company which owns the plantation, Bonita Brands, is owned by Alvaro Noboa, Ecuador’s richest man and serial presidential candidate. Alvaro Noboa doesn’t like unions. Bonita is the world’s fourth largest banana company yet the workers earn a pittance, are exposed to a cocktail of toxic agrochemicals and their living conditions are appalling. Bonita is a powerful eyewitness account of what happens to workers who dare to stand up against a powerful oligarch…..

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