"Everybody does it. Nobody wants to talk about it."
SH*T! follows radical solutions that turn human waste into green energy. From the bottom of the poverty ladder to the heights of power, $H*T! shows a transformation in thinking, where human waste is not a problem – it’s a resource. According to Co-director Annika Gustafson “’You can't make a film about shit!’ is the number one comment we get when we tell people about our film”
The facts: a full third of the world’s population has no access to toilets. That’s 2.6 billion people who have no choice but to defecate in the open, posing the single largest threat to drinking water and public health on the planet.
At the center of SH*T! lies a simple innovation: the PeePoo bag. Invented in Sweden, it turns human waste in to fertilizer after a mere two weeksThe filmmakers followed the PeePoo team as they seek to make a viable business out of a good idea and launched a pilot project in Kibera, Kenya’s largest slum. Well-intentioned outsiders with high-stakes business goals (the model depends on local people creating micro-enterprises to sell the bags) meet cultural, philosophical and language barriers, all of which makes for some low-level humor and high drama.
Clean water is an important, and appealing cause. Picking up a bottle of Ethos at Starbucks you can help a child somewhere, somehow get clean water. But large-scale change is not neatly packaged; SH*T! faces an uncomfortable truth with a touch of humor and a heaping dose of humanity. Conventional development approaches to overpopulation, poverty and lack of sanitation and electricity in the world’s worst slums require lots of money, highly-functioning governments, and international cooperation. Meanwhile, a short-term way to deal with this most basic of human activities provides a dignified, safe and sustainable solution. It takes a brave storyteller to venture in to this subject, but Annika Gustafson and Phil Jandaly, partners in film and in life, fear not. Their unique approach – animated poo! – to telling this story of innovation in action makes an appealing story out of well, you know.
- $H*T! – the film
- Sulabh International Social Service Organisation
- Community-led Total Sanitation
- WaterAid America Inc.
Director: Annika Gustafson & Phil Jandaly
Annika Gustafson grew up on a pig farm in southern Sweden where she literally fell into the manure pit – an incident that ultimately drove her to look for a different occupation. KILLING TIME, her feature length documentary debut, won Le Grand Prix at the Montreal Human Rights Film Festival 2008.
Born in Birmingham, England, Phil Jandaly spent his first years in Lebanon before moving to Montreal. Phil mainly works as an editor and cut Annika’s award winning documentary Killing Time. He knows a thing or two about poop after Annika talked him into having two sled dogs and a baby.
Together they formed Bedouin Viking Inc. as a reflection of their respective Swedish and Syrian heritage. The fusion of two seemingly mismatched cultures stands as a powerful metaphor of curiosity and tenacity, and an illustration of the global vision in the filmmakers’ work. SH*T! will be the first production to fall under the banner. Annika Gustafson previously produced under Man & Motion Productions.