El Susto


  • “… impressively researched documentary on Mexico’s pioneering sugar tax."

    Read the full review at The Lancet

    Talha Khan Burki

  • El Susto: The Role of Storytelling in Solving Type 2 Diabetes in Mexico 

    Becky Bausman

  • There are documentaries that need to be seen so you can educate yourself to injustice and this is one such documentary.


  • El Susto is a valuable contribution to motivate deeper conversations about transnational companies and the role of government to safeguard its citizens’ health.Gastronomica

    Melissa Fuster

  • "El Susto is a provocative primer for public health advocates ready to learn from Mexico’s example in leading the fight for health and winning against Big Soda."

    Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention

    American Heart Association

  • “Filmmaker Karen Akins looks for and finds the inverse of Coca-Cola’s sunny marketing and advertising in the disease and unhappiness left in the wake of Coke’s marketing in Mexico. Richly atmospheric and deeply evocative, El Susto recounts the victory won by proponents of Mexico’s historic soda tax—against a backdrop of corporate villainy and intimidation. It’s a must-see film for any would-be changemaker who ever felt that the stakes were too high or the odds were too long. El Susto is sobering, to be sure, but delivers a bracing, Big-Gulp-sized serving of hope.”

    Margo G. Wootan, DSc, Vice President for Nutrition 

    Center for Science in the Public Interest

  • Hard-hitting film exposes sugary drinks prevalence in Mexico where diabetes-related deaths are the world's highest. 

    Inga Vesper, Journalist - SciDevNet

  • "El Susto, a powerful new documentary, tells the inspiring story of how dedicated and passionate Mexican advocates mobilized civil society to make sugary drinks a public health issue. Despite Big Soda’s seemingly invincible marketing prowess and political power, they passed the world’s first modern and significant sugary drink excise tax and made history. Filmmaker Karen Akins skillfully grounds the epic struggle in Mexican culture with compelling interviews and striking visuals. Leaders including Simon Barquera and Alejando Cavillo – genuine public health and corporate accountability heroes – tell the story through interviews and clips of their activism. They are complemented by American experts who place the Mexican experience in a global and historical context. Anyone wanting to learn more about how Coke and the rest of Big Soda use marketing and political power to push their harmful products and to block public health efforts and about how smart effective advocates can beat them at their own game should watch this film."

    Jim Krieger

    Healthy Food America

  • "El Susto could have easily been a horror movie--depicting how a monster, in this case a big corporation, is literally creating an epidemic of diabetes and obesity across Mexico. Instead, it is an inspiring story of hope, showing how public health advocates, communities, and the government are working together to shun the influence of Big Soda to create better, healthier way of living and proving that Coke isn't it. "

    Danielle Nierenberg, President and Co-Founder 

    Food Tank