Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty

A history of grand schemes to eradicate poverty, through a combination of animation, archival material, live action, anecdote, and humor.

Film Signature Image
Global Voices
Premiere Date
November 27, 2012
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects

Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, author, and art critic whose films have been commissioned by the BBC, Arte, and many broadcasters from Europe, North America, and Australia. Among his credits are The King of Communism: The Pomp and Pageantry of Nicolae Ceausescu, which won a Grierson Award in 2002; and Hammer and Tickle: The Communist Joke Book, Show more which premiered at the New York Tribeca Film Festival 2006 and won best documentary at the Zurich Film Festival in the same year. However, he is best known for his series about contemporary artists, Art Safari, which has been shown in the UK, Europe, Australia, and America, and which won a bronze at the New York Television Awards and a German Grimme Prize in 2007. Art Safari featured films on Maurizio Cattelan, Takashi Murakami, Matthew Barney, Sophie Calle, and Wim Delvoye, among others. He also produced a limited edition Art Safari film on DVD, commissioned by the Deutsche Bank for their exhibition “Affinities” at the Deutsche Guggenheim in 2007. Show less


Femke Wolting

Femke Wolting is executive director of Holland’s leading transmedia production outfit, Submarine, which she co-founded with Bruno Felix in 2000. Spanning film, animation, non-fiction and interactive genres, Submarine boasts a roster of award-winning productions created in collaboration with an extensive network of international creatives. Show more Femke produced among others such films as Peter Greenaway’s feature Rembrandt’s J’accuse, documentaries like Another Perfect World, internationally-distributed animation series such as Kika & Bob, and games that push new forms of storytelling, such as Collapsus. Wolting has directed a number of award-winning projects for VPRO, including Sneakers and It’s the End of TV As We Know It. Additionally she was the initiator of Exploding Cinema (1995-2001), Rotterdam Film Festival's annual look at the future of media, which included exhibitions at — among others — the Architecture Museum Rotterdam (NAI), Museum Boymans van Beuningen, conferences, and film programs. Show less


Bruno Felix

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The Film

For the whole of modern civilization, humans have attempted and failed to eradicate poverty. What can we learn from generations of failed efforts? Using a combination of animation, archival material, live action, anecdote, and humor, Poor Us looks at mankind’s periodic efforts to alleviate poverty with the hope that we will get a better sense of how to move forward.