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Nov 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Speculation Nation

With Sabine Gruffat, Bill Brown, Paige Sarlin, Elin Gran, Luis Moreno-Caballud and Rebecca Amato. NYC Premiere.

Speculation Nation, Sabine Gruffat & Bill Brown, USA, 74 min, 2014

Real estate speculators destroyed the Spanish economy, and now ordinary citizens occupy empty buildings and speculate on new ways to live.

The global financial crisis that began in 2007 battered Spain. Over a quarter of the population lost their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes. The constitutional guarantee for housing that has been a cornerstone of Spain following the death of Francisco Franco has been shaken by a combination of greedy real estate speculators, predatory banks, corrupt public officials, and a global financial catastrophe.

In this impressionistic documentary film, Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown travel across Spain to explore the consequences of the housing crisis. What they find are Spanish citizens, inspired by the politics of The 15M Movement and Occupy Wall Street, who are mobilizing, collectivizing, and fighting for the right for a decent place to live. Along the way, the filmmakers visit young mothers and their families squatting in failed condo developments; intentional communities of mountain cave dwellers; protest campsites that have sprung up in front of bank branches; and empty apartment buildings transformed into experiments in utopian living. The film examines the ideologies that separate housing from home, and real estate speculation from speculations about a better way to live.

Spectation Nation 1

Speculation Nation is interested in rendering political crisis not only as a wasteland but also a catalyst for social action. In depicting protest camps, demonstrations and the occupation of unused apartments and the caves overlooking Granada, the film’s title picks up a secondary meaning inflected by the determination of ordinary citizens to think outside the box.

After the screening, filmmaker and political activist Paige Sarlin, photojournalist Elia Gran and writer and activist Luis Moreno-Callabud will join in a panel discussion about the Spanish housing crisis and some of the resulting issues.

Selected Screenings:

CPH:DOX, Cclosedhagen, 2014

53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2015 (Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary)

22nd Chicago Underground Film Festival

Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam, 2015

9th Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival, 2015



Sabine Gruffat is a digital media artist and filmmaker living and working in North Carolina. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Sabine’s films and videos have screened at festivals worldwide including the Image Forum Festival in Japan, The Ann Arbor Film Festival and Migrating Forms in New York. Her feature film I Have Always Been A Dreamer has screened internationally including at the Viennale, MoMA Documentary Fortnight, Cinéma du Réel at the Centre Pompidou, and The Cclosedhagen International Documentary Film Festival.

She has also produced digital media works for public spaces as well as interactive installations that have been shown at the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Art In General, Devotion Gallery, PS1 Contemporary Art Museum, and Hudson Franklin in New York.



Bill Brown is a writer and filmmaker living in North Carolina where he is a lecturing fellow in the Arts of the Moving Image Program at Duke University. He received a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. In his work, Bill is interested in landscapes as markers of our memories, dreams, and desires.

Bill’s films have screened at venues around the world, including the Viennale, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and Lincoln Center. A retrospective of his films was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is a recipient of a Creative Capital Grant and a Rockefeller Fellowship.


SarlinPaige Sarlin is a filmmaker, scholar, and political activist. Her first film, The Last Slide Projector, premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2007. Her writings on art, film, and politics have been published in OctoberRe-Thinking Marxism, Afterimage, Reviews in Cultural Theory, The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, and Framework: A Journal of Film and Culture.  She is currently at work on a book-length manuscript entitled Interview-Work: The Genealogy of a Cultural Form and a documentary film whose working title is Practice: How to Get a Job.  She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Study at University at Buffalo, SUNY.


unnamedElia Gran is a Spanish, New York based photojournalist. She has written or collaborated with various radios and written journals like The Nation, WBAI radio, DemocracyNow!, The New York Times, Periódico Diagonal, La Directa and Eldiario.es. In Barcelona, Spain she was involved in organizing local media, especially through radio programs and local publications, to try to talk about those issues less present in mainstream media. Her interests focus mainly on Human Rights issues and social movements. She considers herself an activist and is part of the Marea Granate organization in NYC which, together with other worldwide grassroot communities, are trying to create a global network of collaboration


Luis Moreno-Caballud is a researcher, writer, and activist. He works at the University of Pennsylvania and participates in different political groups (including Marea Granate NY), focusing mostly on building dialogues between anti-neoliberal social movements in Spain and the US. His book Cultures of Anyone. Studies on Cultural Democratization in the Spanish Neoliberal Crisis has been published by Liverpool UP in 2015 (it’s available online for free here). It explores the crisis of authoritarian and competitive cultures in the wake of the Spanish economic crisis, and the emergence of collaborative and equalitarian alternatives in social movements such as 15M and the PAH.


Nov 1, 2015
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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