The Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary at the 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival

Purchase a DVD
“...a lucid snapshot of Spain's pre-bubble real estate speculation and the current squatters taking advantage of it.”
-Anthony Kaufman, Indiewire
“Speculation Nation is interested in rendering political crisis not only as a wasteland but also a catalyst for social action. In depicting protest camps, demonstrations and the occupation of unused apartments and the caves overlooking Granada, the film’s title picks up a secondary meaning inflected by the determination of ordinary citizens to think outside the box.”
-Max Goldberg, Fandor
"Where Gruffat and Brown’s film really shines is in illuminating the deeply gendered nature of contemporary Spanish crisis and its contestations. Delving into the activists worlds of the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca, they find struggles in which women are central protagonists, leading the way in an effort to save their homes."
-Sophie Gonick, Professor at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, NYU


The global financial crisis that began in 2007 battered Spain. Over a quarter of the population lost their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes. The constitutional guarantee for housing that has been a cornerstone of Spain following the death of Francisco Franco has been shaken by a combination of greedy real estate speculators, predatory banks, corrupt public officials, and a global financial catastrophe.

In this impressionistic documentary film, Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown travel across Spain to explore the consequences of the housing crisis. What they find are Spanish citizens, inspired by the politics of The 15M Movement and Occupy Wall Street, who are mobilizing, collectivizing, and fighting for the right for a decent place to live. Along the way, the filmmakers visit young mothers and their families squatting in failed condo developments; intentional communities of mountain cave dwellers; protest campsites that have sprung up in front of bank branches; and empty apartment buildings transformed into experiments in utopian living. The film examines the ideologies that separate housing from home, and real estate speculation from speculations about a better way to live.


  • Directors: Sabine Gruffat and Bill Brown
  • Producer: Dreaming Up Films
  • Super 16mm and video
  • Running Time:74 minutes
  • Cinematography: Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat
  • Sound Design: Bill Brown and Sabine Gruffat
  • Voices: Ivan Ramirez Barrios, Isabel Concheiro, Aron Elias Jones, Dennis Krijt, Juanjo Garcia Marin, Toni Rodriguez, Juan Antonio Parra, Doris Perez, Marta Afuera Pons
  • Soundtrack: Stephen Vitiello Thank you: Taylor Deupree
  • Sound Mastering: Paul Geluso
  • Mastering Facilties: Harvestworks Digital Media Center


  • 5th Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival, São Paulo, Brazil 2016
  • Union Docs, Brooklyn, NY. Nov. 2015
  • Strange Beauty Film Festival, Durham, NC 2015
  • 9th Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival 2015
  • Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam 2015
  • Archipelag Jazdów, Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland 2015
  • Traverse City Film Festival 2015
  • 22nd Chicago Underground Film Festival 2015
  • Desobedoc, Mostra de Cinema Insubmisso, Porto, Portugal 2015
  • MIASTOmovie #3, Wroclaw Film Foundation, Wroclaw, Poland 2015
  • Thessaloniki International Doc Market, Thessaloniki, Greece 2015
  • Wisconsin Film Festival 2015
  • 53rd Ann Arbor Film Festival 2015 [Michael Moore Award for Best Documentary Film]
  • CPH:DOX, Copenhagen 2014 [World Premiere]

    Bill Brown

    Bill Brown is a writer and filmmaker living in North Carolina where he is an Associate Professor of Media Production at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He received a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. In his work, Bill is interested in landscapes as markers of our memories, dreams, and desires.

    Brown’s films have screened at venues around the world, including the Viennale, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and Lincoln Center. A retrospective of his films was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is a recipient of a Creative Capital Grant and a Rockefeller Fellowship.

    Filmography: Memorial Land (2012, 28:23), Uranus (2010, 8:10), Chicago Corner (2009, 4:50), The Other Side (2006, 43:41), Mountain State (2003, 22:00), Buffalo Common (2001, 22:35), Confederation Park (1999, 32:00), Hub City (1997, 15:00), Roswell (1994, 19:21)

    Sabine Gruffat

    Sabine Gruffat is a digital media artist and filmmaker living and working in North Carolina. She is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Sabine's films have screened at festivals worldwide including the Image Forum Festival in Japan, The Ann Arbor Film Festival and Migrating Forms in New York. Her feature film I Have Always Been A Dreamer has screened internationally including at the Viennale, MoMA Documentary Fortnight, Cinéma du Réel at the Centre Pompidou, and The Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival.

    She has also produced art for public spaces as well as interactive installations that have been shown at the Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, Art In General, Devotion Gallery, PS1 Contemporary Art Museum, and Hudson Franklin in New York.

    Filmography: A Return To The Return To Reason (2014, 2:56), I Have Always Been A Dreamer (2012, 78:00), Echoecho (2011, 4:20), Mountain (2009, 17:00), Black Oval White, (2009, 3:00), Oscillator Color (2009, 11:00), Jaws (2009, 8:00), Jaws 2 (2009, 10:00), Headlines: Hybrid Film Trilogy (2007, 9:00), The Expeditionists (2007, 14:40), Michoacan: La Muerta (2006, 8:00), Michoacan: El Traidor (2006 co-directed with Ben Russell, 8:00), In The Shadow of Your Diamond Castle (2006, 13:30), And So Sings Our Mechanical Bride (2005, 19:00), Battle Impressions (2005, 18:15), To The South Was 72 (2005, 11:00), Out Of Space (2004, 11:00), The Ataraxians (2004, co-directed with Ben Russell, 6:00)


    Subject Areas

    • Arts • Architecture • Film Studies • Romance Studies • Geography • Global Studies • Urban Studies • Urban Planning • Comparative Studies

    Educational License and Public Viewing DVD

    Applies to universities, colleges, museums, corporations and government agencies. Includes public performance and 3-year streaming rights.*
    Duration: 74 minutes $275.00

    Questions about DVD orders?

    * Are you interested in having the Film Directors attend your event, either in person or via Skype?

    email us

    Educational License and Public Viewing DVD Includes:

    - Unlimited but site-specific public performance rights
    - DVD
    - Feature Film (78 minutes)

    *Please note there are honorarium fees involved.