“A disaster you’ve never heard of.
A heroine you’ll never forget.”

When Dian was six years old, she heard a deep rumble and turned to see a tsunami of mud barrelling towards her village. Her neighbours ran for their lives. 16 villages, including Dian’s, were plunged under 60 feet of mud.

A decade later, nearly 60,000 people have been displaced from what was once a thriving industrial and residential area in East Java, Indonesia.

The suspected cause? A multinational company, drilling for natural gas, is accused of striking an underground pocket of mud and unleashing the violent flow of hot sludge from the earth’s depths.

“Shot with poetic grandeur and packed with stirring political heft.”
– POV Magazine

With factories and offices buried deep, the survivors turned the disaster site into a popular tourist destination. Dian’s mother spends her days guiding curious Indonesians across the wasteland so the tourists can snap photos of boiling muck spurting violently into the sky.

The vast lunar landscape is littered with bizarre activities. Fashion photographers take stylish photos of models in ball gowns; vendors sell selfie-sticks; protesters smear mud over their bodies in stubborn acts of resistance.

The mud continues to flow, and will do for a decade yet. The current efforts to disperse it are only creating a bigger environmental disaster.

“After watching this story unfold, we hope audiences are inspired to cultivate their own determination, and their own grit.”
– Directors Sasha Friedlander, Tracie Holder, Cynthia Wade

Dian is determined to rise out of this muddy life. She and her mother fight against the corporation accused of one of the largest man-made environmental disasters in recent history.

Shot and directed over the course of six years, Grit bears witness to Dian’s transformation into a politically-active teenager as she questions the role of corporate power and money in the institution of democracy itself.

The film screened at Doc Edge Festival 2019.

Previous festival appearances for Grit include
HotDocs, Canada

Session Time

Auckland | Rangatira, Q Theatre
Mon 3 Jun
10:15 AM
Auckland | Loft, Q Theatre
Sat 8 Jun
12:00 PM
Wellington | The Roxy 1
Sat 22 Jun
10:15 AM
Wellington | The Roxy 1
Sun 23 Jun
04:45 PM
80 min
United States
Cynthia Wade, Sasha Friedlander, Tracie Holder