Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  56 minutes
Date:  1997
Genre:  Mixed
Language:  English
Grade level: 6-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Diagnoses the 'disease' of materialism and prescribes its antidote, simple living.


AFFLUENZA is a groundbreaking film that diagnoses a serious social disease - caused by consumerism, commercialism and rampant materialism - that is having a devastating impact on our families, communities, and the environment. We have more stuff, but less time, and our quality of life seems to be deteriorating. By using personal stories, expert commentary, hilarious old film clips, and 'uncommercial' breaks to illuminate the nature and extent of the disease, AFFLUENZA has appealed to widely diverse audiences: from freshmen orientation programs to consumer credit counseling, and from religious congregations to marketing classes.

With the help of historians and archival film, AFFLUENZA reveals the forces that have dramatically transformed us from a nation that prized thriftiness - with strong beliefs in 'plain living and high thinking' - into the ultimate consumer society.

The program ends with a prescription to cure the disease. A growing number of people are opting out of the consumer chase, and choosing 'voluntary simplicity' instead. They are working and shopping less, spending more time with friends and family, volunteering in their communities, and enjoying their lives more.

'A brilliant job of examining a complex issue from many perspectives, in one totally captivating hour.' Ellen Furnari, Director, Center for a New American Dream

'An amazingly effective video vaccine against the deadly epidemic of consumerism and debt now sweeping the globe.' Alan AtKisson, Exec. Dir., Redefining Progress

'A big hit with the kids - a marvelous teaching tool.' Jane Bell, 6th Grade Teacher, Jones E.S., Mt. Airy, NC

'If every American watched AFFLUENZA our Gross Domestic Happiness would rise in no time.' Peter Barnes, Founder, Working Assets

'The people with whom I watched the film...chuckled throughout, injected a few cries of outrage, and wanted to hang around and talk about it afterward. They wanted a copy to show to their kids, their parents, their class at school, their church group. They not only got the point, they loved the point.' Donella H. Meadows AMICUS JOURNAL

'An intelligent and original take on very serious issues - No one's done this better.' Deanna Kamiel, Film Professor, New School for Social Research, NYC

'A film that should be watched and re-watched by every family in America - homeschooling or not...Watching Affluenza will help you see yourself more clearly and where your desire level falls in relation to the material world at large. Affluenza is not preachy or finger pointing, and is predominantly tongue-in-cheek, rather than heavy-handed, which makes it very effective. It simply provides a mirror for us to see our society and ourselves.' Michael Leppert, The Link Homeschool News Network


Best Documentary, National Wilbur Awards
Silver Apple, National Educational Media Network Competition
Honorable Mention, Columbus Int'l Film and Video Festival
Pretoria International Environmental Film Festival
Wild Spaces Environmental Film Festival, Sydney
The Environmental Film Festival, Cornell University
The Green Festival, Washington DC
Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
Seattle Environmental Film Festival
Colorado Environmental Film Festival
RioFest Environmental Film Festival


Main credits

De Graaf, John (film producer)
De Graaf, John (screenwriter)
Boe, Vivia (film producer)
Simon, Scott (host)
Harwood, Richard (commentator)

Other credits

Photography, David Fox, Greg Bond, Brett Wood, Greg Davis, Tom Speer, Diana Wilmar, Kevin Felts; sound, Gene Koon, Bill Ward, Dave Hussey, Linde Eidemiller, Restituto Bagcal, Merle Carey, Myron Partman; music, Sheila Espinoza; editors, John de Graaf, Charlie Hinckley, Vivia Boe, Gale Franko.

Distributor credits

John de Graaf and Vivia Boe

A Co-Production of KCTS-Seattle and Oregon Public Broadcasting Hosted by Scott Simon

Docuseek2 subjects

Advertising, Marketing and Sales
Media Literacy
Family Issues

Distributor subjects

American Studies
Environmental Ethics
Local Economies
Marketing and Advertising
Media Literacy
Social Studies
Voluntary Simplicity


materialism, simple living, ; affluenza, consumerism, commercialism, consumption, overconsumption, voluntary simplicity, Jeremy Rifkin, Scott Simon, Vicki Robin, Michael Jacobson, Gerald Celente Alan AtKisson, Adbusters, David Shi, David Korten,"Affluenza",Bullfrog Films; sampler

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