PUSH is a new documentary from award-winning director Fredrik Gertten, investigating why we can’t afford to live in our own cities anymore. Housing is a fundamental human right, a precondition to a safe and healthy life. But in cities all around the world, having a place to live is becoming more and more difficult. Who are the players and what are the factors that make housing one of today’s most pressing world issues?
In Harlem, New York, we meet a man who spends 90% of his income on a flat. Soon, the two-bedroom will cost 3600 USD per month. His 1.700-unit housing project has just been bought by a huge private equity fund. In Barcelona, Ahmed and his family are the last left in their building where all other apartments are sealed off. The new owner has been pushing all of their neighbours out. In London, people talk about ‘bank boxes in the sky’; new condo buildings and flats sold on international fairs as investment pieces. Now many apartments in these shiny new buildings stand empty.
Enter Leilani Farha, of Ottawa, Canada. She has just sent her kids off to school when she receives an email with a startling graph. It shows the extreme difference between housing prices and wage development over a twenty year period. In the Greater Toronto Area, housing prices have increased at three times the rate of income. With a background in advocacy for the homeless, Leilani has for the past three years been the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, with the right to hold governments accountable if they don’t meet the human rights obligations in the UN Human Rights Charter.
PUSH follows Leilani’s quest to understand the radical change that cities all over the world are now being confronted with.
Fredrik Gertten is an award-winning Swedish director and journalist. His most recent films, Becoming Zlatan (2016), Bikes Vs. Cars (2015), Big Boys Gone Bananas!* (2012) and BANANAS!* (2009) were shown in more than 100 countries and on leading film festivals. In 1994, Fredrik Gertten founded the production company WG Film. Before that, he worked as foreign correspondent and columnist for radio, television and daily newspapers in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Today, he not only directs, but also produces films at WG Film, which has become one of the biggest Swedish production companies known for its local stories with global impact. In 2017, Gertten received an honorary doctorate from the faculty of Cultural Studies at the University of Malmö for his work as a documentary filmmaker.