Since being launched into the film festival world in September, Shame On You! has begun to garner international awards. The film has won “Exceptional Merit” at the Documentaries Without Borders International Film Festival, placed as “Finalist” in the Washington DC International Film Festival, and is an Official Selection at the Spark Animation International Film Festival. Shame On You! was produced and directed by VizE Lab Director Jeffrey Himpele, who edited the award-winning animated short The Torture Letters for Laurence Ralph in 2020. After more than a year of directing the work of an investigative journalist, three voice actors, and an animator, Himpele completed editing Shame On You! in the VizE Lab in August 2023. A campus debut is planned for December 6. See the official trailer here, Shame on You!.
Shame On You! is a short, animated documentary that plunges into data visualized by Himpele and colleagues at the Debt Collection Lab, directed by Frederick Wherry (SOC), who is the film’s executive director. In recreating several personal stories from interviews with people trapped in debt collection lawsuits, the film shows that it is because of hidden shame about debt that their stories are untold and why 90% of the cases in the data are either unrepresented in courts or unopposed. Enabled by shame as well as fear of the judicial system, predatory debt collection is a billion-dollar industry.