The Gamble with Our Wastes
Looks at the failure of our current sewage disposal system and presents alternatives.
Directed by Jeff McKay
Produced by Joe MacDonald
Editing: Jeff McKay
Cinematography: Linda Danchak
Executive Producer: Graydon McCrea
A National Film Board of Canada Production
A hazardous mix of solid and liquid waste is flushed into the sewer every day. With literally billions of gallons of water passing through municipal sewer systems - composed of unknown quantities of chemicals, solvents, heavy metals, human waste, and food - the question becomes: where does it all go? And what effect does that have on us?
"A must for environmental studies collections and highly recommended in general." Video Librarian
From ancient times, countries have chosen the sewer as the waste management system of choice, flushing untold amounts of household and industrial contaminants that inevitably resurface in the food chain; fish swim through rivers choked with waste water, while processed sewage sludge is spread on farmland as a fertilizer.
With CRAPSHOOT, filmmaker Jeff McKay takes viewers on an eye-opening journey around the world to explore different approaches to sewage, starting at the 2,500 year old Cloaca Maxima in Rome, where the modern concept of sewers began. Filmed in Italy, India, Sweden, the United States and Canada, this bold documentary questions whether the sewer is alleviating or compounding our waste problem. While scientists warn of links between sewage practices and potential health risks, our fundamental attitudes toward waste are being challenged by activists, engineers, and concerned citizens alike. Does our need to dispose of waste take precedence over public health and safety? What are the alternatives?
Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2004
Copyright Date: 2003
DVD ISBN: 0-7722-1154-X
VHS ISBN: 0-7722-1150-7
"***1/2... Despite the lighthearted title, this...production takes a serious look at the question of what happens when we flush... The visuals here are occasionally spectacular... Thought-provoking, scary as all-get-out, and engrossing, Crapshoot is a must for environmental studies collections and highly recommended in general."
"Out of sight and out of mind, most people will say, however there exist some fairly significant questions regarding our massive investments and miscalculations in waste management. Well, Canadian director Jeff McKay has tackled the dirty issue and formed it into a stunningly disgusting and thought-provoking documentary."
"One of the very best films I've screened this year is a thoughtful NFB doc about what happens to human waste and the dilemma ridding ourselves of it is creating...Yeah it's disgusting alright, and it's also a harrowing look at yet another environmental travesty that's unfolding everywhere - not just third world spots..."
Matthew Hays, (Montreal) Mirror
"The haunting message of the film is that nothing flushed down the toilet is ever just gone. The problem caused by using water to move our waste cannot be solved by technology. This will take a major social change...Crapshoot could generate a healthy discussion. The film would have great applicability in courses with environmental units, but it could also be used in Sociology, Law, Civics, Science, Ethics or Technology."
Frank Loreto, CM Magazine
"[A] strongly recommended addition to school, college, and community library collections."
The Midwest Book Review
"The City of Moncton was gearing itself to promote the use of 'bio-solids' with its new plant. I think [Crapshoot] showed a lot of people that the use of bio-solids has serious long-term effects on the environment and people's health...a few people who saw the film wrote editorials in the local paper and that stirred up interest and questions from the local community. This might not have happened if we had not seen the film."
Eric Arseneau, Coordinator of the Petitcodiac Watershed Monitoring Group
"The film had a really powerful impact on me...It wasn't until I saw [Crapshoot] that I fully grasped that a toilet doesn't have to be designed to use water. Nor does that whole system of underground sewage pipes even have to exist. There are and can be options."
Leslie Forrester, resident of the small community of Stirling, Ontario Canada
"Crapshoot is an informative and occasionally humorous look at the pros and cons of the sewer system. A great film for anyone who wants to know about one of the world's most taboo subjects."
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Awards and Festivals
Silver Plaque, Chicago International Television Awards
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Runner-Up in Category, EarthVision Environmental Film Festival
Montreal World Film Festival
Golden Sheaf Awards
United Nations Association Film Festival
Environmental Media Awards
Vermont International Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
The Green Film Festival, Washington DC
Global Visions Film Festival
World Community Film Festival, Courtenay, BC
Plymouth Independendent Film Festival
Oceans and Coasts
Urban and Regional Planning
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