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Filmmaker to present 'Dispatches from the Banana Lands'

February 19, 2011

Filmmaker to present 'Dispatches from the Banana Lands'

"Dispatches from the Banana Lands," a lecture with Jason Glaser of La Isla Foundation, is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, in Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

The movie charts the social upheaval and violence intrinsic to the production of bananas in Central America. For consumers, bananas are a delicious and nutritious start to the day, a healthy snack, and a fixture in our fruit bowls. For millions of residents in the banana lands, the production of bananas means social upheaval, violence and pesticide poisoning.

Glaser will address these specific problems in the banana industry and share how they are a reflection of a wider problem in industrial agriculture throughout Latin America, especially in the sugar industry. The aim is to open a dialogue at Skidmore to address these problems and explore the potential for solving them.

Glaser, a producer and director of Affected Films, is also president of La Isla Foundation. According to its web site, La Isla Foundation works with institutions and local communities to fight an epidemic of chronic kidney disease in the western region of Nicaragua.

The foundation was created in 2008 by a crew of filmmakers documenting the plight of plantation workers in Nicaragua. While making the documentary The Affected they witnessed a chronic kidney disease (CKD) epidemic among sugar-cane workers in the municipality of Chichigalpa. They paused their work on the film and created the foundation to address the CKD epidemic. In this region CKD is the number-one killer, occurring at least six times above the national average. In some families, the disease has claimed the lives of three generations of men. The death rate is so high that the small community of La Isla is now known as "The Isle of Widows."

The program is sponsored by the Zankel Chair Professor of Management, and the International Affairs and Latin American Studies programs.



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