Mr Toilet: The World's #2 Man

Obsessed with toilets, eccentric entrepreneur Jack Sim sacrifices his comfortable life for an endless battle against the world's largest man-made crisis: shit.

Mr Toilet: The World's #2 Man To a stranger, he’s a quirky Singaporean obsessed with toilets, but to those who know him he’s “Mr. Toilet,” a crusader in global sanitation. A former entrepreneur, Jack uses humor to campaign for something no one dares talk about: shit. It's a crisis that impacts over 2 billion people. Having established UN World Toilet Day, Sim plunges into his biggest challenge yet when he is asked to help implement Prime Ministers Modi's Promise of turning India into a defecation-free zone. But with few resources and no help from the government, Mr. Toilet discovers there is a price to pay for being the world's #2 hero.
Mr. Toilet: The World's #2 Man (2019) on IMDb
Festivals

Laurel Hot Docs International Film Festival - Award Winner
LaurelDOC NY Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelBig Sky Film Festival- Official Selection
LaurelBend Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelDenver Film Festival- Official Selection
LaurelSanta Fe Film Festival- Official Selection
LaurelVictoria Film Festival- Official Selection
LaurelCalgary Underground Film Festival- Official Selection
LaurelThin Line Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelKumu Film Festival- Official Selection
LaurelDallas Video Fest- Official Selection
LaurelOne World Festival- Official Selection
Reviews and More

Once you get beyond the inescapable potty jokes, Lily Zepeda’s “Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man,” turns out to be a compassionate and inspiring portrait of tireless world sanitation crusader, Jack Sim. ” – LA Times

I want to be best friends with Jack Sim; the titular man devoted to bringing clean restrooms to everyone the world over. ” – Film Threat
What do you get when you cross an eccentric self-made man with a load of crap? Jack Sim. To a stranger, he’s a guy obsessed with toilets, but to those who know him, he’s “Mr. Toilet,” a crusader for global sanitation. Born in the Singapore slums, Jack Sim knows firsthand the agonies of not having a proper loo. Now he’s dedicating his life to a crisis no one dares talk about: Shit. Not having a place “to go” isn’t just an inconvenience; it’s a problem that impacts 2.4 billion people worldwide. In India alone, 200,000 children die each year from lack of safe sanitation, while women are regularly raped because they have to defecate in public spaces. Jack’s kids describe him as a 12-year old trapped in a 60-year old’s body. He’s full of jokes and it can be hard to take him seriously. But, he uses humor as his weapon to fight an uphill battle against bathroom taboos. He founded the World Toilet Organization and spent the last 13 years lobbying 193 countries to raise awareness for proper sanitation. He even successfully lobbied the United Nations to create World Toilet Day – the first International day of celebration for the toilet. Now he is plunged into his biggest challenge yet when asked to secure 6 million toilets for the “Clean India” initiative. But with few resources and no help from the government, his epic project and reputation are in jeopardy. Jack’s once supportive staff begins to doubt him; and when his family bonds start to fray over his obsessive dedication, he wonders if he's finally met his match. Mr. Toilet realizes there is a price to pay for being the world's #2 man, but as a su-poo-hero he can't quit.
FULL SYNOPSIS

The Producers


Lily Zepeda - Director/Producer/Writer

Lily Zepeda’s passion for exploring unconventional stories began with a career in journalism, interviewing subjects ranging from Grammy award-winning musicians to Olympians. She went from TV production to embarking on a 5-year journey to make her first feature film, Mr Toilet: The World’s #2 Man. She’s a Diversity Fellowship and Accelerator Lab grantee from Chicken & Egg Pictures as well as a Hedgebrook Lab finalist. She has also has been selected to pitch at film festivals, including Big Sky, Hot Docs, Sheffield and Doc NYC.


Tchavdar Georgiev - Producer/Writer

Tchavdar Georgiev is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and a member of ACE (American Cinema Editors). “The Desert of Forbidden Art,” (Independent Lens) that he produced and directed together with Amanda Pope was nominated for two Emmys and won international accolades. He edited the two times Emmy-nominated "Valentine Road" (HBO) as well as "Finders Keepers", both of which premiered at Sundance. He wrote, co-produced and edited "Off The Rails" (Hot Docs, Full Frame, Sundance Channel) that won many awards including DOC NYC FF. He edited “Skidrow Marathon” that won numerous awards including LAFF. He directed and edited together with Dana Berry for Nat Geo "Finding the Next Earth" and edited the Emmy-nominated "Alien Earths”. He also edited on “The American Meme” (Tribeca FF, Hot Docs, Netflix Original), “Served Like A Girl” (SXSW, Independent Lens), "One Lucky Elephant" (Best Doc Editing at Woodstock FF) and "Bite Size" (Best Doc at Cinequest). He has also written, produced, directed or edited for BBC, History Channel, USA Network, STARZ and Amazon Studios.

Making The Film


Director's Statement

As a kid, I always thought I’d grow up to be a mix of Diane Sawyer and Jeff Corwin – a world renowned reporter who travels the world breaking news stories, and a childlike host who enthusiastically skips through rainforests and desert landscapes in search of the unusual. The story of Mr. Toilet strangely embodies both of these dreams.

One fall afternoon in 2012, I was sitting in LA’s rush hour traffic when I had to pee. As I quickly pulled off into the nearest store front, a DJ on the radio announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had launched a toilet competition. Yes, a TOILET COMPETITION. I was all ears and stayed in the car a little longer to learn that Caltech, a university right in my city, had won first prize for their sustainable toilet model. This seemed random, yet funny and somehow very important—all elements of a great story. As I dug even deeper into the details (on my iPhone while finally peeing), I learned some shocking statistics: 2.4 billion people lack access to a safe, clean toilet. That means more people in the world have access to a cell phone than they do a toilet. That’s crap.

In addition, it’s the women who suffer the most. They must hold their bodily urges ALL day and when they finally relieve themselves at night they are at risk of rape. And, girls often do not go to school past menstruation age because they have no privacy during their time of the month. This was a big turning point for me. As a woman privileged enough to have a safe place to go, and as a teenage youth mentor at the time, I was moved to tell this story in a big, bold way.
After the prize-winning toilet engineers at Caltech realized how obsessed I had become with their story (and toilet) they introduced me to sanitation pioneer Jack Sim, better known as Mr. Toilet, who on our first phone call said, “I am going to turn poop culture into pop culture.” I was sold. Mr. Toilet’s fearless humor and disregard for cultural norms was the magic potion for a character-based film about a taboo subject. Nobody was willing to talk shit like Mr. Toilet, and humor was the way I felt most comfortable expressing myself. When people laugh, barriers come down and we become receptive to information or ways of thinking that weren't there before. Mr. Toilet’s childlike demeanor and wild ideas act as a magnet for drawing audiences into a platform that tackles urgent and sensitive issues. 

As I look back on the film’s five-year journey – which was shot in four different countries, incorporates five languages, and weaves in both verité and animation – I realized not only did this story revive my sense of wonder for strange worldly subjects, but it also provided an opportunity to tell a heartfelt and funny story that intends to build bridges across cultures. I hope that this intimate access into the life of The World’s #2 Superhero will reveal the #1 struggle that a voiceless community faces in getting the world to act.

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