Friday, October 14, 2011's a global movement!

Dear friends,

I am thrilled to tell you about some new developments with the Holy Crap! film project.  To summarize, the film has recently been refurbished and touched up and we are so thrilled with this new shiny version!!!!  Secondly, the new shinier version has just been accepted into its very first film festival!!  Thirdly, we will be developing a Kreyol-version of this film hopefully by the end of this year, for release within Haiti....and finally!!  I am developing a series of short films by the same name which will explore some of the many different projects around the world which are transforming human waste to become a viable, cheap, accessible and proven component of the search for sustainability.

So Holy Crap! is about to take off!  (kinda like a global movement.....)


To see the upgrades to the film click here:

To learn more about all our exciting new developments, read on....

Firstly, thanks to a generous donation offered by Daniel Drasin to do some touch-ups to the film, we are releasing a new, shinier version, available now on our website.  We added a little intro to the film which I think really ties it together well, and otherwise Dan (with lots of great input from Tamara Gurbis, the film's Director of Photography; thank you Tamara!!) did a lot of color corrections and audio refinements that I, as a budding filmmaker, didn't know how to appreciate until after the fact.  And having run out of money long before the final edits took place, I couldn't really afford to get the full post-production we needed prior to the film's release.   So please let us know if you like the modifications and the new intro to the film - I'm thrilled with it!!!  And thank you so much to Daniel Drasin for all his many years of experience, his incredible patience in bringing me up to speed and into the digital world, and for believing in this project so much to invest his time into making this film shine.  Major kudos to you my friend.....

Secondly, we are thrilled to announce that Holy Crap! has been accepted into our first, full-fledged international film festival!!!  The Tallgrass Film Festival, located in Wichita, KS, will be screening Holy Crap! in their short film category among many other films.  As this is my hometown I must say I am quite thrilled about it.

Thirdly, we are beginning to fundraise for the next and final edit at this time with the footage from our trip to Haiti last year -- a Kreyol-version of the film for release within Haiti.  This is something that we are making to be a versatile tool for SOIL to use in schools, communities, for staff members and families and to just explain the concept of ecological sanitation, how it works, and why it is 1000x better than the "system" now in place throughout Haiti, which has resulted in wide-spread public health epidemics.  If any of you have the energy or interest in helping with these fundraising efforts please do not hesitate to contact me at:

And FINALLY!  the Holy Crap! project is beginning to grow in scope, as we are in the process of developing a series by the same name.  This series will be a number of similar, short films which feature the work of other organizations and townships around the world that are transforming human waste into a viable resource.

Here are some of the things we are considering featuring in our series:

Cars (called "Bio Bugs") running on methane gas created from raw sewage in Bristol, England.  What else is happening with methane gas in other parts of the world?  Are other people trying this out?

One part of the series will feature and check on the progress of some of the more portable inventions that are coming to the fore, such as "PeePoo" bags which are safely biodegradable and the Gardiner CH4 - which is like a portable rolling suitcase but is actually a composting toilet!

Next will be a two-part installation that will investigate how ecological sanitation would impact communities within the United States.  I want to query local governments about regulations to this type of off-the-grid infrastructure, and follow a citizen through the process of creating one in their yard or on their property.  How would this type of sanitation impact facilities like hospitals, universities, and municipalities?

Olympic Forest Park, Beijing, China -- in 2007 China incorporated ecological sanitation (such as SOIL uses in Haiti) into their giant national park.  We want to go there and see how the project has progressed since then.

Emergency relief -- I'd like to follow-up on SOIL's lead of providing ecological sanitation directly following the earthquake of Port-au-Prince, 2010, show how their project is developing and also see what is happening in places like Japan following the tsunami there, and the floods in Pakistan -- what impact have these disasters had on sanitation?  Is anyone doing ecological sanitation in these areas?  I want to find out!

There are many more exciting ecological sanitation projects happening around the world and I would like to keep a pulse on it, as I do believe that it is the only and obvious choice for sustainable sanitation in a time when water resources are limited, human beings are losing their lives because of poor sanitation, and billions of men, women and children are suffering from water-borne illness.

If you have any interest in helping me to develop this series, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Finally, Holy Crap! is thrilled that we are still being featured on the National Geographic's website!  Check us out there and don't forget to keep in touch with SOIL at

So many of you have been staunch supporters of my work with this film and of SOIL's work in Haiti and I can't thank you enough for all the ways you believe in me and in this project.  I could never have done it without you.

Wishing you all a lovely autumn,
Producer/Director, Holy Crap!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Holy Crap! I'm posting a new blog post! :)

Dear friends,

I am thrilled to let you know that we finished the Holy Crap! film (short version) and submitted it last month to the Possible Futures Film Contest -- a wonderful on-line festival hosted by the Pachamama Alliance.  This festival has 317 films, all dealing with the subject of "possible futures" for a positive turn of events on Planet Earth. 

But I have been so remiss in posting to my blog that now we have just 2 days left to collect votes in the festival!!  Can you spare a few minutes to go to the below link to watch our film, register, and vote??  Every vote counts!!

There are some really great films in the contest and so competition is stiff.  We need all the votes we can get in order to be a contender for one of the two prizes determined by voting.  

Can you take a moment to watch our 5 minute film and cast a vote in our favor??

And in the meantime I promise to get back into making blog posts and keep you posted as the film moves through the festival circuit over the next few months.  Do you know of a good place we should submit it?  Do you have any extra time to research on-line festivals or short-documentary film festivals at this time?  

Please let me know.

Mesi Anpil pou tout bagay.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

the composting process

Dear followers of the Holy Crap! film project, interested parties, curious ones and smellers of good ideas,  today I write to you with a true update as to how this project is progressing.

From start to finish this has been one of the most incredible learning curves of my life!  I have felt so many times like I am way out to sea in a vast ocean of footage, choices, perspectives, and options for how to obtain and present this material to you in a meaningful, compelling, engaging, smart way that brings positive and plentiful attention to the work of SOIL (, who pointed the funds in my direction so that I might do just that.

So far with the help of 3 crew members volunteering a great deal of their time, a couple of primary consultants (also donating their time), a 10-day film-shoot in Haiti, over 20-hours of footage with 3 different audio tracks and roughly 2,000 still photographs to choose from and with the help of 2 different editors, we have made 3 versions with about 20 different micro-variations to narrow down the best way to work with the material that we have.

In this process I have consulted with many people, relied heavily on people far more experienced than I, floundered, f*ed up, and forced myself to keep going because I am thrilled to be the one who gets to tell the story of SOIL to the world and hopefully, it will be heard.

It's such a great story!

And it is making a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people in Port au Prince and Cap Haitien, Haiti, as well as in many other places around the world.  I am hoping to get to tell this story further beyond SOIL's work in Haiti, to the methane-gas used to run vehicles in Bristol, England -- to the eco-san projects happening throughout Africa, to Asia, and wherever else it's happening, because I think that is one of the most remarkable things in the whole world right now, that we can transform our own human waste into a valuable -- even - an INvaluable -- resource.


So I am launching a Kickstarter campaign and gearing up to submit a piece to the Possible Futures Film Festival, deadline June 21.

Some people think the Holy Crap! title is too crass.  Some people think it is hilarious and awesome. Some people think it is slightly offensive.  Some people say it should be used in a more subtle way.

To me, it is the perfect irony and I am choosing to stay with it.  I'm sure over time we will continue tweaking the way it is used, how we present it graphically, and how to make it accessible to a wider and wider audience.

In the meantime, hold tight because our next one-minute promo version is coming your way I promise, very very soon.

Check out our website (still in development) at:

E mesi anpil anpil pou tout bagay nou ap fe pou late' la

(and thank you so much for everything YOU're doing for the world)

Jenny JUP Benorden
Producer, Director, and Chief Composter for "Holy Crap!" -- the film

Sunday, March 27, 2011

the hunger games: a book review and film update

I recently read a young-adult novel entitled, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.   This fast-paced novel is the first in a trilogy and is set hundreds of years into the post-apocalyptic future when America has turned into an entirely different land called, "Panem".

In Panem, most of the citizens struggle daily for survival and live at the mercy of "the Capitol", the central governing body whose residents have access to riches, opulence, and luxury, not to mention more than enough to eat.  To keep the citizens in line, every year the Capitol produces a live-broadcast of a brutal contest where 24 young people are randomly selected from throughout Panem to kill each other until only one is left standing.

It is an intense premise but one which is not really all that far from current reality.  Collins apparently got the idea for the book while watching a reality series on television, and flipping through the channels where she saw news coverage of the war on Iraq......

Every single day, all across this planet, millions of people are struggling to surivive.  Their food supplies are compromised by policies of globalization, the natural resources of their land raped by foreign interests, and their governments in bed with these same foreign interests, their hands tied behind their backs while their faces smile in business suits on international television.

In Haiti, a country of roughly 8.5 million people, millions struggle to survive.  Many children do not make it beyond the age of 5, their bellies distended, their hair turned red from malnutrition.

Is it a televised contest to the death?

Not exactly.........but it is happening in full view and most people in the developing world prefer to flip that channel right back to a contrived "reality" show rather than watch for even a few minutes the reality of life for the majority of humans on this planet that we share.

However, there are those who are giving their time, their education, their training, and their hearts to live among the starving and to initiate sustainable programs to recover the dignity, economic solvency, and food sovereignty for these populations.

SOIL (, its co-founder Dr. Sasha Kramer, and her staff in Haiti are among this honorable few and it is my privilege and honor to tell their story with the Holy Crap! film.

Currently I am re-configuring the trailer for the film and will be able to show it to you very very soon.  In the meantime I am developing the longer film and am desperate for an intern to support this process.  If any of you know of someone who might be available/interested to support me in releasing this film, please contact me asap at

And in the meantime, give thanks for the food that you eat, give thanks for the ground beneath your feet, for the fresh air you are able to breathe, for the clean water you can drink, and for the heart-work of organizations like SOIL around the world.......

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

state of the human

*this post has nothing to do with my film exactly.....*it is me venting and ranting about politics so be fore-warned*

Obama is doing his annual State of the Union address right now and all around the world, he has the attention.  He is so eloquent, so stunningly intelligent, warm, friendly, and poised.   Compared to his predecessor I feel like I can actually listen to him, like he has considered his words and that they will be unusually inspiring and triumphant! (And yet, oddly vague....)

I have to be honest though - I never make it a point to listen to this annual speech.   I just can't handle the bullshit, if you'll pardon my French.  Republican, Democrat, whatever.  How can anyone stand up there and represent a nation with such dirty hands and yet come off looking so clean?

It is a surreal how the stage is set, the flag and the podium, the perfect suit, the lighting....

Do I seem bitter?

I am.  

It's because of the U.S.'s role in Haiti.

What business is it of ours?  

We should be asking. 

And if President Obama doesn't address this issue tonight, which I very much doubt he will, I have absolutely no interest in hearing a word he says.

That is how I feel about it. 

P.J. Crowley from the U.S. State Department said on the matter of Baby Doc Duvalier returning to Haiti that "this is a matter for the government of Haiti" and when asked about Jean Bertrande Aristide returning he said, "Haiti doesn't need any more burdens". 

The U.S. is blocking Aristide's rightful return to Haiti.  They are the ones who twice removed him after he was twice elected by an overwhelming majority of Haitian people in free, independent elections, and the U.S. now holds the key for his return.  

But just do a simple search on Baby Doc Duvalier  (who has been back on Haitian SOIL for over a week now after 25 years in exile -) and it will be very apparent that human life means absolutely nothing to the United States of America if they have anything to do with this man's return to Haiti. 

I mean come on, it is really that simple.  And I am not in the mood to mince words.  Here's a nation so racked by trauma from sheer bad luck (natural disasters), combined with hundreds of years of slavery followed by over 200 years of economic slavery which leads us to today where millions of people quite literally struggle to survive.  

For politics?

Because somebody makes more money that way?

Duvalier is known to have embezzled millions and millions of dollars from the Haitian government.  Why would the U.S. back this?

He is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Haitian people.  
Why would the U.S. back this?

Oh - that's right - because we're all about freedom!  

And democracy!

That's why........

And I'm sure President Barack Obama is right now just wrapping up the year in statistics, all the ways good, hard-working Americans are taking the economy back, blah blah blah.......

I can't take it anymore.  I don't know what to do about it, but I'll start by publishing this blog post, and I'll finish this post by leaving you with two quotes from Jean-Bertrand Aristide's book, Eyes of the Heart, which I highly recommend:

"We have not reached the consensus that to eat is a basic human right. This is an ethical crisis. This is a crisis of faith." 
 Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization)

"Pa gen lape nan tet, si pa gen lape nan vant (there is no peace in the head if there is no peace in the stomach)."
— Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

haiti: a love story and a public prayer

all year long i have held you so close to my heart, rocked to my core by the depth of your endurance, of your loss. i have prayed for you daily, sung for you, seen for you, with my third eye, what i also see for myself: access to education, health-care, housing, clean water, sanitation, jobs, and a safe and loving community. oh great spirit that moves in all things!!!! may it be so for haiti and for all humans........ayi bobo!

here we are moving into year number 2 since the catastrophic event of january 12, 2010 occurred.  we all know the numbers, know the money hasn't been given, know it's only getting worse.  

the question i am asking myself is: what will it take to effect real positive change in Haiti?  what is it going to take?

i'm going to take a stab at a strategy and visualize. i invite your input but please be kind because it's only a game:  u.s. out of haiti to start with.  why do we need to be meddling in someone else's democracy?  we say we're going around the world to "restore democracy"  - then why in god's name are we taking out democratically elected presidents and banishing them from the country which elected them?

jobs - rebuilding haiti!!!!  oh it's so beautiful, all the buildings that will be built, giving haitian carpenters and masons a chance to show off their skills.  

ecological sanitation - this one is my personal favorite of course, but think about it - a rebuilt haiti where instead of installing complicated plumbing systems throughout the cities or in the villages, wasting more water which then needs to be treated, and costing lots of money to maintain, there are dry, composting toilets in people's homes, in local schools, churches, at soccer fields and all throughout the country where the wastes are collected and properly treated by trained agronomists until it is safe to be used as fertilizer, and gardens are sprouting up everywhere to feed people and provide more jobs!

cultural revival - haiti begins to shine again more for its cultural richness than for its impoverished condition, and people begin traveling to there to study and learn and to be entertained by the wealth of creative talent, culture, and charm.

for me, it's a matter of principal.  in my thinking, human life is valuable.  i value human life.  and i also value the power of the human mind to affect change.  the more i think about it, the more it begins to happen.  the more i see my life unfolding before me with a full heart resonating with joy and vibrance, the more i experience joy and vibrance........

and so i ask you all to take a moment now at the end of my little facebook note to think about your vision for haiti, how you see it unfolding, and if you want to you can share your vision with us so we can fill up our hearts with it and energize a group mind of healing for haiti, and for us all who share the very cells of human trauma in our own blood (once again transmitted through the mind and because we are all of this earth, made of star-dust, spinning through space on a single orb very, very quickly)....

(and as for my love story with haiti, i had to post-pone my trip, so will be returning the last week of january for just a few days to get just a little bit more footage for the film.  ayiti m' sonje ou e nou we tale'....nou pa bliye ou!!!