How it all got started:
The Microlending Film Project was conceived as a passion project by futures trader turned producer Rachel Cook (me) after I read this article late one night on a Chicago trading floor : http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/magazine/23Women-t.html?pagewanted=1. The article discusses the value of microlending to women in the developing world and how it can bring real economic change to impoverished communities.
Studies show women allocate more resources to food, children's health and education than do men - which makes them ideal borrowers since they are using money in more sustainable ways. When given the tools to start their own businesses, these women are empowered to take control of their own lives and are in turn able to support their own families, create jobs in their communities, spur economic growth, serve as role models for other struggling women, etc... it is exactly the kind of change that can transcend generations/geographic locations and truly impact the way our world works.
I was so inspired by this concept that I took a huge leap of faith. I quit my finance job and dedicated myself to making a film about it. Armed with only a small chunk of personal savings, some film classes from college, and a commitment to do something, I set out to figure out how to put together a feature film...
It has now been nearly two years since I built a website, put a volunteer crew together, and set out for Paraguay to start filming, thanks in large part to funding from our first Kickstarter initiative early last year. Our growing group of supporters then helped get us to India to document the hotbed of philosophical debate surrounding microfinance, and to Kenya, a nation leading the globe in next generation microfinance and mobile money innovation.
How YOU can help:
With filming completed, we need funds to complete post-production - this includes editing, sound mixing, color corrections, and narration/translations among other things. We also need help covering expenses of film festival applications so that we can get the film distributed and can accomplish our ultimate goal of inciting discussions around the globe about microfinance and how it can change the world. We also plan to accompany the film's release with social action campaigns and community outreach initiatives that will allow viewers to engage directly with programs and policies related to microfinance and women.
What YOU get in return:
We've got some great thank you gifts, and we'd love to get them out to you. Your pledges will play a key role in finishing this labor of love and helping us compile the amazing footage and interviews we have on hand into a format that can reach a broader audience. I will never forget the invigorating rush of inspiration after I first read about the power of microlending. I can only hope that, with your help, we can share that feeling with the rest of the world. Thank you for helping us make that happen!
*If you'd prefer to make a tax-deductible donation using our fiscal sponsor, you can do so through our website, www.microlendingfilm.com by clicking on the 'How to Help' button.
To actually make this film happen, I found an amazing team of people who were equally inspired by the possibilities surrounding empowering the world's women. The team includes Director of Photography Steve Hiller, who has worked on more than 50 studio Hollywood films; Composer Matty Bernstein, who has produced for the Grammy-nominated Shiny Toy Guns; and many other wonderful people who wanted to contribute their talent and energy to the project. Our Audio Engineer Dom Mendicino, who works full-time in a Chicago recording studio, has been a tireless contributor and zen-master to the project (maintaining amazing calm even during the most difficult travel conditions). Paul Smith for being an amazing Associate Editor, and Producer Megan Hryndza, who has gone above and beyond time and again to help keep this project alive. Thanks to Lou Karsen and Stef Karlin and their families for believing in us from the beginning, Dmitriy Khavin for all of his editing expertise and good-naturedness, Allison Baum for all of her energy and help, and Michael Key of William Fillmore for putting together the awesome music in this short in a couple hours! Check him out at www.williamfillmore.com.
Most of crew is made up of volunteers: they work for little or no pay to keep this project running.
- (42 days)