About the Film

Flush Revolution

To a stranger, he’s quirky, but to those who know him he’s Mr. Toilet, a leader of the global sanitation revolution. He grew up in the slums of Singapore with a bucket for a toilet and knows the agonies of not having a proper loo. Using humor as his weapon, Mr. Toilet fights an uphill battle against taboos surrounding toilets asserting, “Poop culture will soon become pop culture.” His goal is to appeal to the masses by making the toilet a symbol of pride and success – just like the newest model of the iPhone. But not everyone is thrilled with his unconventional methods—unabashedly using the word sh*t or referring to himself as the 007 of toilets because it spells loo upside down. Mr. Toilet (whose real name is Jack Sim) is plunged into his biggest sh*t-uation yet when he is asked to create a model for India’s sanitation crisis and bring 6 million toilets to the state of Andhra Pradesh. After successfully creating the World Toilet Organization and convincing 193 countries to adopt an unthinkable holiday—United Nations World Toilet Day—he feels ready for this next venture. But, as a visionary from a completely different culture who inherited a boyish outlook and a seemingly clumsy approach, many conservatives and traditionalists feel threatened by Mr. Toilet’s eccentric ideas and complete overhaul of their bureaucratic process.

The Issue

Why should you give a crap?

The sanitation situation is not just gross or inconvenient - it's a matter of life and death

  • With no safe place to go, 4 out of 10 people are forced to face the dangers of public defecation

  • 1 of 3 women do not have a safe place to relieve themselves. They risk regular sexual harassment and rape

  • A child dies of water born diseases about every 15 seconds. By this time tomorrow, another 2,500 will be dead.



Worldwide more people have cell phones than a toilet. Here are some sanitation soldiers on a mission to change that:

Jack Sim, AKA "Mr. Toilet"

Toilet Advocate & Founder of The World Toilet Organization

“ What you don’t talk about you cannot improve. We need an international conversation about poop, but poop itself is taboo. And while 2.5 billion people worldwide still lack access to proper sanitation, and open defecation transmits diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and hepatitis A, our polite silence on the subject is deadly. ”

Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak

Toilet Inventor & Founder of Sulabh International

“ Women really suffer the most because of an absence of toilets in rural areas. They have to go to open locations only before sunrise and after sunset. Unlike men, they simply cannot do so during the day. Apart from a vulnerability to rape, they are also prone to animal attacks and snakebites. What's more, many girls aren't even going to school because of the lack of toilets there. ”

Jae So

Director of Trust Funds and Partnerships at the World Bank Group

“ In addition to the health impacts, the social and economic costs [of inadequate sanitation] are also staggering. India's economy alone loses roughly U.S. $53.8 billion per year, or the equivalent of 6 percent of GDP. In addition to health and morbidity, the losses relate to industry, like tourism and environmental costs. ”

Dr. Michael Hoffmann

Caltech Professor of Environmental Science and Lead Researcher for Winning Team of the Bill & Melinda Gates Reinvent the Toilet Challenge

“ Life expectancy correlates to the accessibility of clean water and proper sanitation practices. All of our efforts in biomedicine may go for naught if we don’t take care of sanitation. ”

Doulaye Koné

Deputy Director Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“ Don’t get me wrong, I love our conventional crapper. This single invention has saved countless human lives. But, today’s flush toilet is expensive. It has costly infrastructure with miles of pipes and sewage treatment plants. It also accounts for 40 to 60 percent of per capita water use in industrialized countries. And today, 2.5 billion people still lack access to safe sanitation and 1.5 million children die every year as a result. If we can send a man to the moon, I’m convinced we can invent a better toilet. ”

Rob Zimmerman

Senior Manager of Sustainability Marketing at Kohler Co.

“ Look at the promise of delivering proper sanitation to parts of the world that will, let's face it, never have water or sewage infrastructure. If that can be demonstrated, it's going to be one of the most significant breakthroughs of the 21st century.”

Our Supporters

Sponsoring Organizations

Kohler Co. is a global leader in both kitchen and bath design and technology. They are a company dedicated to improving sanitation conditions worldwide and supporting the continued research and innovation of toilets. In addition to their support of this film, Kohler has collaborated with Caltech for the past two years in the development of a photovoltaic toilet as part of the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Our goal of creating a completely off-the-grid toileting system that is easier to transport and easier to maintain will allow us to place toilets in more locations around the world that have inadequate sanitation. And that allows us to improve the lives of more people.”

– Rob Zimmerman, Senior Manager of Sustainability Marketing at Kohler Co.

Founded in 1873 with headquarters in Kohler, Wisconsin, Kohler Co. is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies comprised of more than 30,000 associates. With more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide, Kohler’s modern design and revolutionary technology create one-of-a-kind kitchen and bathroom products, engines and power systems as well as premier furniture, cabinetry and tile.

Supporting Organizations

About the Team

Lily Zepeda

Director

Lily Zepeda’s passion for exploring the most unconventional stories began with a career in journalism, interviewing subjects ranging from Grammy award-winning musicians to scientists involved in cutting-edge environmental research. Through her global travels in the developing world and after venturing into other unexpected steps—TV production and marketing—Lily honed two of the most crucial skills for documentary filmmaking: relationships and compelling storytelling. Exposure to global and social issues has influenced her desire to build bridges across cultures and tell stories that increase audience understanding of our shared humanity.

In 2012, Lily got wind of a competition to build the world’s best toilet that was happening right in her backyard at the California Institute of Technology. Having always had a penchant for stories about taboo or quirky things, a savvy toilet was certainly right up her alley. But what struck her most is how the toilet crisis affects women— they must hold their bodily urges ALL day and when they finally relieve themselves at night they are at risk for rape. Beyond that, adolescent girls often do not go to school because they have no privacy during menstruation. As a storyteller, a youth mentor and a woman who has the dignity of a proper place to go, I knew it was my responsibility to tell these stories that nobody wanted to talk about.

When we laugh barriers come down and, without even realizing it, we become receptive to information, or ways of thinking that weren't there before. This is the approach I have taken with Flush Revolution—using our subject, Mr. Toilet and his unconventional weapon of humor to open audience's minds and hearts to the gravity of the issues.

Tchavdar Georgiev

Producer

An Emmy nominated writer, producer, director and editor. Together with Amanda Pope, Tchavdar Georgiev wrote, produced, and directed “The Desert of Forbidden Art,” showcased on PBS Independent Lens. The film was described by LA Times’ Kenneth Turan as a “remarkable documentary.” It was nominated for two Emmys and won the Cine Golden Eagle Jury Award and other international prizes. Georgiev directed and edited, together with Dana Berry, for National Geographic, “Finding the Next Earth” and edited “Alien Earths,” which was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy. He recently edited the two-time Emmy-nominated HBO documentary “Valentine Road” as well as “Finders Keepers” (Cinema Eye Honors Award), both of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Georgiev was one of the editors on the documentaries "We Live in Public" (Grand Jury Prize at Sundance) and "One Lucky Elephant" (Best Doc Editing Award at Woodstock Film Festival) as well as the narrative feature "Bastards" (MTV Russia Best Film Award). He recently wrote, co-produced and edited "Off The Rails" to premiere at Hot Docs and Full Frame Film Festivals.

He has also produced for PBS, History Channel, National Geographic, Amazon Studios, USA Networks and MTV.

Eugene Efuni

Producer

An experienced screenwriter, producer and director for feature films in the US, Europe and Eastern Europe. Eugene Efuni is an Executive Producer of American Independence Film Festival, and an official of the US Embassy film festival in Ukraine. He has produced 6 international feature films including: “Iris Effect,” starring Anne Archer, Agnes Bruckner and Mia Kirshner; “The Second Front,” starring Craig Sheffer, Todd Field and Ron Perelman; “Mirror Wars” starring Malcolm McDowell, Armand Assante and Rutger Hauer. Recently, Efuni has produced one of the first s3D feature films shot in Eastern Europe, “Rzhevsky vs Napoleon! 3D!” which was theatrically released in Russia and Ukraine. Currently, he is developing a large budget sci-fi film project at MGM based on a cult best-selling novel “Metro 2033.”

Greta McAnany

Co-Producer

Greta McAnany is an award-winning filmmaker and entrepreneur. McAnany graduated from USC in 2010 and over the next 3 years went on to finance and produce the feature film BITE SIZE, distributed by BOND360. The film won the Grand Jury prize at Cinequest Film Festival and was featured by Katie Couric’ on ABC. It was distributed on Netflix, Amazon, Vimeo, Pivot TV and more. McAnany is a recipient of film grants from Morgan Freeman and his Rock River Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures and the prestigious Thornton Foundation. After experiencing first hand the gender bias that female filmmakers in Hollywood face, McAnany co-founded X-Factor Films, a digital studio and branding platform for content and creators of millennial female entertainment. Beyond her work in film she has produced award-winning live newscasts and reported as a theatre critic for LA Stage Times, where she interviewed Oscar and Tony-winning writers, directors, and actors.

Saptarshi Roy

Director of Photography

Saptarshi Roy (Sappy) started fiddling with his mom's analog 12mm still camera at the age of 5 . Later as a teenager he realized that he wanted something more than capturing just a frame- it had to be an entire film. After graduating from an electronic media college, Sappy aggressively followed his passion of filmmaking. He shot numerous random videos of people, wildlife, architecture and technology for himself and his early clients. It's been more than 12 years and his clients now include Indian CNN-IBN, Star India and NDTV, Tommy Hilfiger, Ambika Pillai (Fashion Make-Up Artist), KOHLER, Kitchen Aid, Samsung, Mc. Donalds, a Hindi Food Show for EPIC channel (currently on the air), and ESPN.

Sh*t Talk

18 / Jan / 2016

Year In Review 2015

    Hi Flushers! As we dive head first into 2016 we wanted to take the time to say a… Read more...

09 / Jun / 2015

Actress and Activist Nikki Reed: “Give a Shit”

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CyD3R_glXY[/embed] Read more...

contact the filmmakers

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