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Author: WG Film

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Cities are becoming increasingly unliveable for most people. Costs are rising but incomes are not. Sky-high rents, evictions, homelessness, and substandard housing are common realities for urban dwellers across the planet. There is a global housing crisis. How did this basic human right get so lost? Who is pushing people out of their homes and cities, and what’s being done to pushback?

On the heels of the release of the award-winning documentary, PUSH, filmmaker, Fredrik Gertten and Leilani Farha, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, have reconvened. Join the filmmaker and the advocate as they reflect on their experiences making PUSH and exchange ideas and stories about the film's central issue: the financialization of housing and its fall-out.

For more about PUSH and to view it: www.pushthefilm.com

For more about Fredrik Gertten and his other films: www.wgfilm.com

For more about Leilani Farha in her new role, Global Director of The Shift: www.maketheshift.org

27 Episodes
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There is a Monster taking over our cities. No one knows its name, and few have seen it, but it's at the heart of the global housing crisis. In this first episode, Fredrik -the Filmmaker - and Leilani - the Advocate - provide a swift overview of the global financial actors who have taken over our homes and turned them into commodities. You’ll hear excerpts from the film PUSH www.pushthefilm.com, including Professor Saskia Sassen who talks about financialization of housing and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz who explains how pension funds emphasize monetary growth over morality. Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
In this episode, the Filmmaker and the Advocate discuss the rage that is popping up in cities around the world right now and ask: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO ANGRY? WHAT'S HOUSING GOT TO DO WITH IT?In response to the Global Financial Crisis of '08, governments sided with the banks instead of homeowners. Suddenly people’s homes became 'distressed assets' and were purchased en masse by hedge funds to grow their capital. This ‘solution’ turned the world’s biggest private equity firm, Blackstone, into one of the world’s largest landlords. With this as a springboard, Leilani and Fredrik explore the anger sparked by inequality caused by financialization: homelessness and unaffordability in California; evictions in Spain and elsewhere; Uber drivers sleeping in their cars, and the disproportionate political power of financial elites. With clips from PUSH.Fredrik reveals that PUSH www.pushthefilm.com will finally be released in the US in early September!Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Airbnb: Friend or Foe?

Airbnb: Friend or Foe?

2020-07-0941:57

Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, Airbnb has had a huge impact on housing in global cities. In this episode the Filmmaker and the Advocate discuss the irony of a start-up that was originally established to help three guys pay their rent in San Francisco has turned into a 27 billion dollar business that has resulted in evictions and has decreased affordable housing stock in cities across the globe. Leilani and Fredrik also discuss some of the cities and Mayors who have pushed back against Airbnb to protect local residents and save the culture of their cities. With clips from PUSH www.pushthefilm.comProduced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The Filmmaker, Fredrik Gertten and The Advocate, Leilani Farha discover that a plant-based milk company, Oatly, sold 10% of the company to Blackstone for USD $200 million. Yep, that’s the same Blackstone featured in PUSH – the award winning documentary film by Fredrik, that features Leilani. The same Blackstone accused by Leilani in her role as UN Special Rapporteur for violating the right to housing of tenants in countries around the world. And yes, Oatly is a Swedish company, from the very same town where Fredrik has lived his whole life: Malmö. He even knows some who work there. And so, The Filmmaker and The Advocate couldn’t help but take to the podcast airwaves to discuss Oatly’s decision to sell a seat at their table to Blackstone and Fredrik’s attempts to pushback. With clips from PUSH.Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The Filmmaker and the Advocate discuss the global pandemic and its direct and undeniable relationship to housing. Not only did the pandemic lay bare the global housing crisis, it has provided a once in a generation opportunity to solve it. Fredrik and Leilani discuss some of the creative new laws and policies being enacted by city governments to address homelessness and inadequate housing, and the stubborn refusal by governments to embark on the structural changes necessary to make sure all people have a decent home in which to stay.Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The Filmmaker and the Advocate take a dive into dark money – money made from illicit activities like drug trafficking, refugee smuggling, and illegal arms sales. In PUSH-the film Italian journalist and author of Gomorrah, Roberto Saviano, explains that “it’s in the tax havens where legal and illegal capitalism meet and merge”. In other words, tax havens that were originally set up to hide criminal money, are now a natural part of any global business. With 80% of corrupt money landing in real estate, Fredrik and Leilani discuss how dark money drives up the cost of housing, and other effects on urban centres, particularly in cities like London, UK. The podcast releases new clips of Saviano and Queen’s Counsel Simon Farell who discuss how criminal money exits and enters a place like London which they identify as the world's capital of criminal money.Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
PUSH, directed by the Filmmaker, Fredrik Gertten opened to sold out audiences in Copenhagen and Toronto in the spring of 2019. PUSH is a multi-award winning documentary that has changed our understanding of the root causes of the global housing crisis. The film features the Advocate, Leilani Farha, then the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing. After years of being followed around by The Filmmaker and his crews, The Advocate turns the tables and puts Director of PUSH, Fredrik Gertten, in the hot seat. In a more personal podcast, Leilani asks Fredrik about his motivations, methods, and how he really feels about the United Nations.Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Home Sweet …. EVICTION

Home Sweet …. EVICTION

2020-08-2134:411

You can’t squeeze water out of a stone, and you can’t squeeze money out of people who don’t have any.  This episode of PUSHBACK Talks focuses on EVICTION: the brutal action taking place across the planet, where millions of people, from India to the US, are being kicked out of their homes, often with nowhere to go. And the threat is only increasing. 40 million Americans are one month away from eviction. Reports from India, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and the United Kingdom confirm the same pattern.  The Filmmaker and The Advocate share EVICTION stories from the global south as well as developed countries hit by the pandemic. They ask: Where will the evicted live? Are governments doing all they can to help? Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The Filmmaker and The Advocate explore whether it’s actually gentrification that’s ruining our neighbourhoods or something else. Fredrik fiercely defends the rise of cortados (and bike lanes!) in neighbourhoods across the world and Leilani discusses the failures of New York’s High Line. With inspiration from clips of the always brilliant Prof. Saskia Sassen in the film PUSH, and 17-year-old Londoner, Hope Bhargava, the co-hosts agree that whatever you call it, what’s really driving people out of their homes and cities is that housing is being used as a financial instrument – a place to hide, park, and extract money!Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Golden Visas - backdoor entry into Europe for the corrupt and wealthy. Money can't buy you love but it can buy a passport! In this episode The Filmmaker and The Advocate explore the dark world of Golden Visas which emerged after the Global Financial Crisis on the advice of the IMF and the Central European Bank as a way for economically failing countries to access big cash. Countries with Golden Visa schemes allow foreign investors in real estate to jump the queue and secure residency and citizenship. This has led to a massive influx of corrupt money into these economies, while inflating housing costs for local residents. The co-hosts discuss the Cyprus Papers and compare notes from Leilani's investigation of Golden Visas when she visited Portugal as UN Special Rapporteur, and Fredrik's screening of PUSH-the film in Cyprus where everyone was expressing anger about how expensive their housing had become. Golden Visas offer a different side to the same story: the uber-wealthy around the globe treating housing as a commodity, making cities less affordable. This time, with a crime twist, and important implications for global migration. For more background on the #CyprusPapers, check out this Al Jazeera story:  https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/cypruspapers/Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Students the world over head to university filled with hopes and dreams for the future. But to pursue those dreams requires secure housing and that’s where the nightmare begins. The co-hosts swap stories of student life in London, Lagos, Dublin, Seoul and Toronto. Students are working multiple jobs to pay the rent, lobbying for the right to sleep in their cars, experiencing sexual coercion, spending hours commuting back and forth each day and worrying about the debt they’re accruing. Just when they should be stepping into the world with energy and strength, they are being beaten down. Lower income students have less time to study and are leaving university with crippling debt loads, creating new patterns of inequality.  The Filmmaker and the Advocate discuss one of the central drivers of these conditions: student housing has become one of the hottest commodities around. It's being scooped up by  global vulture funds including … you guessed it … Blackstone. This episode will make you angry and should make all of us want to pushback so young people can dream again. Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
This episode of PUSHBACK Talks exposes what can happen when independent filmmakers and human rights advocates tell stories about multinational corporations causing people serious harm. The co-hosts discuss the true story of Fredrik being sued by DOLE, the biggest fruit company in the world, for making a documentary about the harm they were causing their workers. Fredrik's film BANANAS!* follows a court case in Los Angeles where banana workers from Nicaragua sued the DOLE Food Company for the use of a banned pesticide that made the workers sterile. Just as the film was about to premiere, DOLE came after Fredrik, his company, and the film’s producer, in a big way. Divide and conquer. Lawyers, media spin, a PR company, intimidating journalists, Astroturfing, scare tactics. Drawing on this experience, Leilani and Fredrik discuss freedom of the press, Blackstone’s reaction to PUSH, and the different ways in which independent filmmakers and human rights advocates can reclaim narratives, occupy public space and shift the focus back.  WG Film Vimeo Page:https://vimeo.com/wgfilm/vod_pages↓ CLAIM YOUR 25% VIMEO DISCOUNT  ↓Big Boys Gone Bananas!*Code - pushbackhttps://vimeo.com/r/2Rmv/a1o0Z0xHc2Bananas!*Code - pushbackhttps://vimeo.com/r/2Rmu/a1o0Z0xHc2Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
This is a special episode of PUSHBACK Talks to mark the opening of PUSH-the film in [virtual] theatres across the USA. For the first time, The filmmaker and The Advocate invite a guest into the conversation. This episode features Aaron Glantz, Peabody Award-winning investigative journalist, resident of San Francisco, and author of the recently released book, Homewreckers which details the devastating impact on millions of Americans when vulture capitalists entered the housing sector after the Global Financial Crisis. Nobel Laureate Prof. Stiglitz provides a jumping-off point for the trio to discuss the cosy relationship between government, banks and private equity that ensured those with money would come out winners, and those without would have their dreams demolished. Fredrik and Leilani use this episode of PUSHBACK Talks is a wake-up call and a warning: the vultures are likely circling again, with 40 million people in the US who can’t pay their rent and nearly 4 million who can't pay their home mortgages.  Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The upcoming US election is a big one and in California the stakes are particularly high. Not only will they be electing a new President, they’ll be asked to vote Yes or No on Proposition 21 - a ballot that, if the yes vote gets a majority, could pave the way for rent control throughout the State. In this episode of PUSHBACK Talks the Filmmaker and the Advocate chat with René Moya, the lead campaigner for YesOn21 and the Director of Housing Is a Human Right at AIDS Healthcare Foundation.Rent control – which prohibits a landlord from raising rent above a certain percentage – is a hotly contested policy with huge significance in the Golden State, where rents are sky–high (San Francisco has the second most expensive rental market in the world), and where 25% of the country’s homeless population resides. But the YesOn21 campaign, Fredrik and Leilani learn, is up against really big forces, Monsters in fact. Private equity firm Blackstone (we can’t get away from them!) among others, have pulled out their wallets to defeat Prop21 and preserve their bottom line. Listen to find out more! To find out more information about proposition 21 go to - https://yeson21ca.org/Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The language we use can clarify, empower, and even change minds. It can also create a club that shuts people out: if you speak the language, you’re in, otherwise, stay out! Financialization, markets, real estate, IPOs, assets, security …. The Filmmaker and The Advocate scratch their heads and stumble through the lingo they’ve come across in their journey to understand why people can’t afford to live in cities anymore. Defining the terms, Leilani and Fredrik expose how investor language bolsters the financialization of housing and erases the people who live there. But what happens when Fredrik and Leilani insert human rights language into the conversation? Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
A special episode of PUSHBACK Talks! The Filmmaker and The Advocate reconnect with Saskia Sassen, prominent Professor of sociology at Columbia University, one of the world’s most important thinkers on cities, and a central character in PUSH-The film. The trio continue the conversation about why so many people can't afford their homes any longer.  Going to the heart of the matter they unpack Saskia’s powerful analysis that finance – which now dominates residential real estate – is an extractive sector, like mining. Once finance has extracted what it needs it moves on without a care for what's left behind. The conversation turns to a deep probing of the meaning and relevance of “money”. When money is used by institutional investors to create new financial instruments, or to leverage more capital is it still "money" as we know it or have we exited the domain of money?  The co-hosts wrap up by querying where the uber commodification of housing is going. Have we entered a new epoch where familiar rules and systems that might regulate financialization are thrown out? Will financialization eat itself up? Or will people who are pushing back force change?Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Is the takeover of housing by institutional investors a conspiracy theory, or does the evidence support a global pattern? The Filmmaker and the Advocate discuss their experiences investigating the financialization of housing. No matter where they travelled, South Korea, Sweden, Canada, the Czech Republic -- all roads seemed to lead to a single private equity firm: Blackstone. Fredrik and Leilani discuss the problematic of “fake news”, and the need to continue to mine for the truth to substantiate human rights claims and to hold those responsible for violations to account. The episode ends with a lot of love from and for our patrons and listeners in more than 85 countries across the planet! Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Everyone knows there is a global housing crisis. More grassroots movements in cities around the world are challenging unaffordability, evictions, inhumane housing conditions, homelessness, and the influx of big capital into the housing sector. To defend their interests, many claim housing is a human right, not a commodity. But what does the human right to housing actually mean? Getting back to basics, The Filmmaker peppers The Advocate with questions about the definition of ‘adequate’ housing, who has the obligation to ensure access to adequate housing, and is there a difference between the right to housing and the right to the city? Consider this a primer, with more to come! Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
The Filmmaker and The Advocate are joined by Patrick Butler, The Guardian’s Social Policy Editor. The trio discusses current social conditions across the UK as it continues to be hammered by the pandemic. In the world’s 5th largest economy, poverty, hunger and homelessness have burgeoned. So much so, that Manchester United footballer – Marcus Rashford – has stepped in, using his own history of poverty and his current clout to urge the Johnson government to provide food support for children. Butler’s sense is that while the pandemic has thrown the health and the economy of the country into disarray, it’s also having an interesting impact where housing’s concerned.  He’s seeing the lowering of rents in some areas, and a real slow-down of the financialization of housing. It’s left the government in a state of ‘existential shock’, scratching their heads as the market fails to sort everything out.  Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
Since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, Spain has been ground zero for the financialization of housing. Blackstone, Cerberus and other institutional investors have plundered the social housing stock and gobbled up affordable homes. The Filmmaker and the Advocate are joined by Jaime Palomera Zaidel, founder and member of a tenants union and lecturer at the University of Barcelona. Jaime talks about the thousands of evictions of individuals and families from their homes every year across Spain, including during the pandemic. Out of this grim reality has emerged a strong resistance - a movement that has successfully defended housing for the people through direct action -  squatting and physically preventing evictions - and by demanding that political parties legislate better tenant protections. Prepare to be inspired and motivated! Produced by WG Film Recorded & Edited by Mikey JonesMusic by Florencia Di ConcilioSocial Media & Support Team - Louise Gustafsson, Maja Moberg & Melinda BergstrandSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/pushbacktalks)
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