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Beating Superbugs: Can We Win?, a feature-length documentary, presents an accessible, in-depth, true-to-fact message with a touch of mystery and suspense throughout: CAN we, in fact, beat superbugs--antibiotic-resistant bacteria? The film's solutions-driven emphasis underlies even the most dire of its parts. Through dramatic first-hand victim stories, this sober yet positive thread becomes even more apparent in interviews with dedicated experts in science, economics, government and the pharmaceutical industry. A well-informed narrator unites connecting facts with supporting visuals, including many original animations. This voice also periodically gives viewers clues about ways in which their personal habits and support of public efforts (government initiatives, pending legislation, independent foundations) can bring them into the superbug fight.


Superbugs share a global crisis status with COVID-19. So far, a quantity of the known patient deaths in this viral pandemic have been linked to bacterial infections. Their predictable presence as partners in coming pandemics, and on their own, cannot be ignored.  But ingenious counterattacks are either in place or are emerging. International leaders in multiple fields are separately and together bringing innovative strategies and tactics to the battle. Such efforts, empowered by citizens everywhere, have a good chance to stem a dire prediction: if unchecked by mid-century, superbugs could surpass cancer as the No. 1 cause of human death worldwide.

DIRECTED BY BILL MUDGE  |  2020  |  1 hour, 8 minutes



Despite the universal upset to our lives by COVID-19, only a few may grasp that its appearance has swiftly shot us into an Age of Pandemics. For years, prescient voices--immunologist Anthony Fauci, philanthropist Bill Gates and pandemic expert Laurie Garrett--have warned of the certainty of coming pandemics. Now one of these plagues has brought our usual lives to a halt--and a staggered, risky and experimental restart.


The culprits are an army of microbes that we're just getting to know. Leaders among them are not only speedy viruses but slower-growing, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. Unlike much tinier viruses, which are inert particles until finding a host, superbugs are living cells and may come to be even more dangerous. Our best defense lies in deeper knowledge about their nature, power, and vulnerabilities. If we fail to accommodate our lives to their ubiquity, evolution might just favor superbugs' survival over our own.


So this film deals with nothing less than existential issues: the continuing health and life of both humanity and global medicine. It presents the nature of the threat (superbugs' extensive power) and a spectrum of interrelated solutions (our counter-attacking forces). The stakes are great and the challenges huge. The film's subtitle: "Can We Win?" poses an almost desperate query. But a "can-do" mentality, rooted in a basic instinct for self-preservation, lies at the heart of this question. The film directs viewers to the world's best answers to date.


. . . when Bill Mudge made a short film about basketball star Grant Hill and his repeated encounters with resistant staph, or MRSA. Injuries to Hill's ankle during play led to a series of operations which spawned his recurring infection. Portraying Hill's case piqued Bill's curiosity about superbugs in general, and from that moment, the idea was born for this encompassing exploration of how to deal with them. In the handful of other films on this subject, none known to us explores, as does this one, the global economic, political and pharmaceutical forces now aligned to help science mount a successful superbug challenge.

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