Parasites: A User's Guide


The word "parasite" comes with loads of vile connotations, but in nature, nothing is purely good or evil.  In the 27-minute experimental documentary "Parasites: A User’s Guide," ecologist and filmmaker Sharon Shattuck embarks on a journey to decode some of the most misunderstood creatures on earth. 

The dramatic rise in autoimmune diseases, asthma, and allergies since the turn of the last century has confounded scientists, but some researchers think they have uncovered the key to controlling the skyrocketing rates: tiny parasitic worms called 'helminths.'  Using a blend of handmade and digital animation and indie music, Sharon dives headlong into the controversial discourse surrounding 'helminthic therapy,' with help from scientific researchers, active patients and a renegade entrepreneur named Jasper Lawrence.  Through the seeming oxymoron of the 'helpful parasite,' Sharon questions the nature of our relationship with parasites--and suggests a new paradigm for the future. "Parasites: A User’s Guide" is a film about ecology, healing, and worms.

To purchase the Parasites: A User's Guide DVD, or to host a community screening, go HERE.  And thanks!

About the Music

All the music in the film was produced by musicians that have a strong connection to Michigan; most are Michigan natives.

Breathe Owl Breathe

Breathe Owl Breathe    

Brendan Carson

Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird

Laurel Halo

Matt Jones


Ronen Goldstein

Sharon Shattuck