Congratulations to Karen Akins for being awarded “Best Documentary Director” for “El Susto” at the 2020 Harlem Film Festival!!

“If I had a magic wand, I would change the word “Type two diabetes;” no one knows what it means. I would change “Type two diabetes” in all governmental materials and in medical textbooks, et cetera, to what it really is: processed food disease.  Call it what it is.”

-Dr. Robert Lustig, El Susto

Mexico’s love affair with sugary drinks turns deadly

“El Susto” documentary tells the alarming story of how the soda industry is undermining the health of entire nations.


Mexico’s Number One Killer is not cartels. It’s Type 2 Diabetes. El Susto (The Shock) tells the story of how courageous public health activists in Mexico stirred a giant, the powerful beverage industry, aka “Big Soda”, when they took action to curb sugary drink consumption, with sobering and inspiring lessons for the rest of the world.

“El Susto, a powerful new documentary, tells the inspiring story of how dedicated and passionate Mexican advocates mobilized civil society to make sugary drinks a public health issue. Despite Big Soda’s seemingly invincible marketing prowess and political power, they passed the world’s first modern and significant sugary drink excise tax and made history. Filmmaker Karen Akins skillfully grounds the epic struggle in Mexican culture with compelling interviews and striking visuals. Leaders including Simon Barquera and Alejando Cavillo – genuine public health and corporate accountability heroes – tell the story through interviews and clips of their activism. They are complemented by American experts who place the Mexican experience in a global and historical context. Anyone wanting to learn more about how Coke and the rest of Big Soda use marketing and political power to push their harmful products and to block public health efforts and about how smart effective advocates can beat them at their own game should watch this film.”

– Jim Krieger, Healthy Food America

El Susto website:

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