The film shows how real estate speculation and gentrification are the tip of the iceberg of a problem that affects large cities like London, Berlin, New York and Barcelona.
Docs Barcelona and Filmin premiered the documentary “Push” on October 3rd. Through the lens of activist Leilani Farha, the film travels through large cities like Milan, Seoul, Toronto and Barcelona to show the dramatic situation faced by many looking for adequate and affordable housing.
Over the past 30 years, the price of housing in Toronto has increased 425%, while the average household income has only risen by 133%. In just 5 years, rental prices in Barcelona have risen 36%, from €670 to €910, according to the Catalan Land Institute (Incasòl), while average wages have only gone up 5%.
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, points at investment funds as one of the main causes behind gentrification and real estate speculation. “The South Korea National Pension Scheme is seeking high profitability for its deposit and finds it in purchasing housing on the other side of the world. This means that a neighbour from Barcelona could leave a Korean elderly person homeless without even knowing”, Stiglitz explains.
One of the main problems stems from vulture funds investing in real estate assets, as is the case of Blackstone. In Spain alone, this fund owns more than 30,000 properties, some of which were purchased in highly controversial ways. The former Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, sold off 1,800 homes to the investment fund for €69,000 per unit, and then the price tripled.
The film director, Fredrik Gertten, shows how these vulture funds have taken control of the situation, the term gentrification is outdated and what is yet to come is even worse.
Gertten’s documentary has been screened at international film festivals in Europe and North America and has received several awards, such as the Reteena jury’s youth award at Docs Barcelona and the Politiken Audience Award at CPH: DOX Denmark.