Cinema Libre Studio has picked up all North American rights to “McLibel,” a documentary that follows two Greenpeace activists through what became the longest trial in England’s history.
McDonald’s sued Helen Steel and Dave Morris in 1990 over a pamphlet the pair handed out in front of one of its fast-food restaurants in 1984. It accused McDonald’s of starving the Third World, destroying rain forests and selling unhealthy food. In 1997, Steel and Morris were found guilty of libel and fined £40,000.
Director Fanny Armstrong released her film in the U.K. in 1998. However, on Feb. 16, the European Court of Human Rights declared the case breached the defendants’ right to a fair trial and the Strasbourg-based court ordered Britain to pay the pair a total of E35,000 ($45,400) in compensation and offer a retrial.
Cinema Libre plans to launch “McLibel” theatrically in mid-April, a date that coincides with McDonald’s 50th anniversary.
Based in Canoga Park but with offices in Paris, London, Munich, Rome, Madrid and Tokyo, Cinema Libre previously released “OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism,” “Uncovered: The War on Iraq,” “Unconstitutional,” “Unprecedented” and David O. Russell’s “Soldiers Pay.”