LANDLORDS WITHOUT FACES. APARTMENTS WITHOUT RENTERS.
A DOCUMENTARY EXPLORING THE NEW, UNLIVEABLE CITY.
Housing affordability is decreasing at a record pace. The local working and middle classes have become unable to afford housing in major cities across the world. London, New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, Tokyo, Valparaiso, Sydney, Melbourne, Caracas, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm… the list seems endless. People are being pushed out of their very own homes – because living in them has become unaffordable.
Young people are getting trapped in a cycle of renting apartments that are becoming less and less affordable. Working class and lower income communities face evictions and are left without a place to live. The high cost of housing pushes people into poverty and homelessness. In the UK and US, for instance, homelessness is increasing by alarming rates. More often than before, it is children and families that end up without a home. The problem is even worse in the Global South, where the number of people living in informal housing is projected to exceed 1 billion by 2020. However, the crisis also puts stress on the middle and upper-middle classes. In London, for example, even a doctor’s salary is not necessarily enough to buy a home.
This isn’t a natural, inevitable development. It can change.
Residents should be able to afford to live in their own cities. It is time to recognise that housing is a human right, not a commodity. Let’s push back.
Fredrik Gertten, Sweden, 2019, 92′
Housing prices are skyrocketing in cities around the world. Incomes are not. PUSH sheds light on a new kind of faceless landlord, our increasingly unlivable cities and an escalating crisis that has an effect on us all. This is not gentrification, it’s a different kind of monster. The film follows Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, as she’s travelling the globe, trying to understand who’s being pushed out of the city and why. “I believe there’s a huge difference between housing as a commodity and gold as a commodity. Gold is not a human right, housing is,” says Leilani.
Following the film streaming, a panel discussion & Q&A with director Fredrik Gertten and Leilani Farha will be presented.
PUSH is my journey to understand why life in our cities is getting so unaffordable. For two years I filmed with Leilani Farha, we had daily Whatsapp chats discussing the issue. Early on it was clear that we were lacking a language to describe the ongoing development. Words like gentrification are not sharp enough at describing the issue. It’s a global disease when homes are turned into assets in a financial game. The gentrification talk creates a divide. Blaming a hip coffee shop or an art gallery for pushing out the poor is just silly. There are other -much stronger forces in action. If citizens and politicians want to push back the invasion of speculative money from hedge funds and criminals. we need a deeper understanding.My hope is that PUSH will form a platform for better conversation. That people in countries around the world realise that the development in their town is not unique. There’s a global pattern, a business model repeated over and over again. A new kind of landlord, a hedge fund whose customers are not the tenants but the investors. PUSH is now out on a global journey, at cinemas and festivals. Everywhere, I meet people who through the film now feel less lonely. Just more angry.
Film event guests
Fredrik Gertten is an award-winning director and journalist based in Malmö, Sweden, and owner and manager of the production company WG Film which he founded in 1994. Previously he worked as a foreign correspondent and columnist for radio, TV and press in Africa, Latin America, Asia and around Europe. Today he combines filmmaking with a role as a creative producer at WG Film. Recent films include BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!*, world premiere Sundance 2012, BIKES VS CARS, world premiere SXSW 2015 and BECOMING ZLATAN, world premiere IDFA 2016. His films have met audiences in 100 countries, including leading festivals. In Sweden the sale of FairTrade bananas went from 5 to 50 per cent of the sales after the release of the BANANAS!* films. In October 2017 he was named Honorary Doctor at Malmö University’s Faculty of Culture and Society, for his work as a documentary filmmaker.
Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Global Director of The Shift
Leilani Farha is the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Global Director of The Shift. Her work is animated by the principle that housing is a social good, not a commodity. Leilani has helped develop global human rights standards on the right to housing, including through her topical reports on homelessness, the financialization of housing, informal settlements, rights-based housing strategies, and the first UN Guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing. She is the central character in the documentary PUSH regarding the financialization of housing, screening around the world. Leilani Launched The Shift in 2017 with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Government.