El Susto (2019)
Directed by Karen Akins, 75 mins
Sunday 01 November 2020 19:00 GMT plus panel discussion
Among all the traditional food and drink offerings to the dead lovingly placed on family altars during Mexico’s Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) there is one favorite beverage that stands out. Its iconic shape and logo are instantly recognizable around the world. And its omnipresence at grave sides today in contemporary Mexico is no coincidence.
Since the floodgates of the North American Free Trade Agreement opened Mexico up as a major market for invasion from U.S. multinational food and drink corporations, Coke has become a part of the Mexican landscape, the Mexican way of life and the Mexican way of death. Today Coke and other soft drinks are fueling Mexico’s leading cause of death: Type 2 Diabetes. How can the devastating impact of Mexico’s Number One Killer be overturned? And what lessons can be learned for the rest of the world?
Uncovering the public health crisis caused by aggressively marketed and distributed sugary soft drinks and processed foods, El Susto ushers in a political revolution for all consumers. Just as the battle to regulate tobacco entailed fighting denial, cover up, creative cultural manipulation, government cooption, corruption, misinformation and gross abuse of power, so the struggle to save lives from Big Soda also involves a people’s movement, which in Mexico is led by public health heroes Alejandro Calvillo and Dr Simon Barquera, who must fight both industry influence and notoriously corrupt government. Their unlikely victory in achieving the first national soda tax in spite of the dire circumstances serves as the leading example of how a country can put public health over powerful forces who make a profit from unhealthy products.
El Susto issues a powerful call to action: to resist the normalization of soft drink consumption and to observe all links between soft drinks, public health and the powerful lobbies that increasingly influence national health agendas around the world.
The panel discussion was moderated by Mark Galloway, Director of the International Broadcasting Trust; Mark was joined by Karen Akins, director El Susto, Yanaina Chavez Ugalde, Bristol Medical School, researching obesity prevention using a systems science approach, and Katharine Jenner, Campaign Director, Action on Sugar.
Panel discussion replay here:
El Susto had its World Premiere at the 2019 Global Health Film Festival
A limited number of tickets are available: book now to join us on Sunday 01 November; we will close registration at 5pm on Sunday 01 November and will send you a link to the event by 6pm, an hour before the screening starts.
Registration is free of charge; each screening costs just under £1,000 for us to organise. We are grateful for any donation you are able to make to help cover our costs; you can make a donation securely using this link.
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