Around the globe, farmers are fighting an uphill battle against Monsanto. Though some people are keenly aware of the many struggles modern farmers face, the plight will soon be highlighted in the upcoming film Percy. The movie is based on the true story of Percy Schmeiser and will feature actors Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci.
Schmeiser, a canola farmer from Saskatchewan, Canada, was sued by the agriculture giant Monsanto over patent infringement in 1998. According to Deadline, Walken will play Percy and Ricci will depict anti-GMO activist Rebecca Salcau.
The synopsis follows:
“As [Walken’s character] speaks out against the company’s business practices, he realizes he is representing thousands of other disenfranchised farmers around the world fighting the same battle. Suddenly, he becomes an unsuspecting folk hero in a desperate war to protect farmers’ rights and the world’s food supply against what they see as corporate greed.”
(Spoiler alert!) Monsanto successfully sued Schmeiser for patent violations after the company’s GMO canola was found growing on his farm without a license. To this day, Schmeiser maintains that the seeds accidentally blew onto his property. In 2004, the case made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, where judges ruled 5-4 in favor of Monsanto. Though Schmeiser lost, his story has evolved into an iconic ‘David vs corporate Goliath’ tale.
In 2008, Schmeiser was also portrayed in the documentary David versus Monsanto. His fighting spirit led people to view him as an anti-GMO folk hero. As a result, many actually view his legal defeat as a win.
Schmeiser told CBC in an interview:
“In the end it turned out good and we brought the world’s attention to what GMOs do and what it could do to farmers.”
Monstano has sued U.S. farmers over patent infringement involving saved seeds nearly 150 times. This has raised questions about companies having patents on plants and other forms of life. Regarding Schmeiser, the corporation views him as more of a thorn than a hero.
The agricultural giant states on its webpage:
“The truth is Percy Schmeiser is not a hero. He’s simply a patent infringer who knows how to tell a good story. Schmeiser knowingly planted this seed in his field without permission or license. By doing so, he used Monsanto’s patented technology without permission.”