Hello. This is the official, full-length (81 min) version of our 2005 documentary, McLibel. This film was made completely independently (no studio/broadcaster backing) over four long years. We’re a tiny independent film company always struggling to make ends meet, so if you watch for free here, please make a donation – http://spannerfilms.net/donate – and also sign up to our email list: http://www.spannerfilms.net/mailing_list . Thanks v much and enjoy the film, Franny & Lizzie from Spanner Films
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The first documentary from renowned director Franny Armstrong (The Age of Stupid, Drowned Out), McLibel tells the true story of two ordinary people who battle McDonald’s in what became known as “the biggest corporate PR disaster in history” (Channel 4 News). The Seattle Times called the film an “irresistible David and Goliath tale… you can’t help but cheer along” and the Sydney Morning Herald described it as “an often-hilarious exposé of big business arrogance… and an extraordinary example of independent filmmaking”.
McDonald’s often used the English libel laws to suppress criticism. Major media organisations like the BBC, Channel 4 and The Sun had backed down in the face of their legal threats. But then they sue single father Dave Morris (41) and gardener Helen Steel (34). In what became England’s longest-ever trial, the “McLibel Two” represent themselves for three and a half years in court against McDonald’s £10 million legal team. Every aspect of the corporation’s business is cross-examined, from junk food and McJobs, to animal cruelty, environmental damage and advertising to children.
McDonald’s try every trick in the book against the pair, including legal manoeuvres, secret settlement negotiations, a visit from Ronald McDonald and even spies. Seven years later, in February 2005, the marathon legal battle finally concludes at the European Court of Human Rights – will the result take everyone by surprise?
Filmed over ten years, with courtroom reconstructions directed by Ken Loach, McLibel features the first interview with a McDonald’s spy, as well as in-depth contributions from Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Keir Starmer (then Helen and Dave’s pro bono lawyer, now the UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions).
The McLibel trial became a cause-celebre in the UK, resulting in changes both to UK law and to McDonald’s itself. It is often cited as influencing works which followed, including Fast Food Nation, Jamie’s School Dinners and Super Size Me. The producers estimate that more than 26 million people have seen McLibel on TV, cinema, DVD and at local screenings worldwide.
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More about the film: http://www.spannerfilms.net/films/mclibel