Flush it

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Watery but never wet, this compelling documentary promises to put aspirations for Western levels of water provision and sanitation on the map for developing countries. The film interweaves concerns about local water shortages, global water scarcity and toilet history with aspirations for grand projects and excellent loos. Eritrean refugee Tiba is at the centre of the film. Pontificating from her own bath full of bubbles Tiba considers everything from depleted aquifers to desalination to Livingstone's plea not to flush. Tiba's wet dream informs us pit latrines stink, while experts help flush the crap and remind us that water can never run out.


The documentary includes witness testimony from Dr Caspar Hewett, water engineer; James Woudhuysen, Professor of Forecasting and Innovation at De Montfort University; Angela Lee, Exhibition Curator, Gladstone Toilet Museum; Terry Woolliscroft, Customer Manager, Twyford Bathrooms; James Heartfield, writer and lecturer; Robin Oakley, Senior Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace UK; Tony Rachwal, Thames Water Research & Development Director.


Click here for Press Kit.


The genesis of a film made to question low horizons

Demanding the best for everyone is at the heart of WORLDwrite's work and water provision and sanitation requires no less. For many years the charity has questioned Western low horizons, the derisory nature of development prescriptions for our peers in the developing world and the tendency to view everything in terms of "sustainability". It is against this backdrop the film Flush it evolved.


In 2002 we produced a critical charter Time to Ditch the Sustainababble which unpicked the conflation of environmental limits and human needs and noted:


"Most projects promote superficial improvements to primitive technologies like solid fuel stoves, pit latrines and dry sanitation - burning dung, shitting in a pit and then recycling it - in preference to the necessity of forging modern infrastructure plans. It is intriguing that educated Westerners dedicate so much thought to Third World shit and dirt."


Read the full charter here.


In 2003 we ran a campaign with hundreds of young volunteers entitled Raising Horizons to Raise Water to put the case for modern amenities for the developing world. As well as conferences and workshops, campaigners carried water on their heads across London to demonstrate the unacceptable toil involved in fetching and carrying water for miles each day. View images from the walk here. We also took part in an online head to head environmental debate on water, which you can see here.


In 2005 we completed a major film based exchange visit to Ghana. Five films which form the Pricking the Missionary Position series captured numerous instances of disgust at what was on offer from the West, from a derisory rope pump suggested by Water Aid to useless boreholes. Unsurprisingly, aspirations for modern bathrooms, washing machines, piped water in every home and all the mod cons tripped off the lips of anyone and everyone when we asked what they wanted. What is more remarkable is the extent to which our peers obvious wish to live the comfortable life we do in the West is down played, denied or deemed ridiculous. This is often justified in terms of "cultural difference", "environmental impact", "not a priority", "unaffordable luxury", "inappropriate" or "not a need but a want". All of these disgraceful excuses were evidently in need of a good flushing.


In 2005 volunteers taking part in our film training programme suggested we take on the water worriers and put our peer's aspirations to the fore. By simply telling the tale of one our volunteer's dreams and exploring what that meant we had a film.