Attend a Special Screening of Microfinance Film to Support Muhammad Yunus Muhammad Yunus Movie, To Catch a Dollar, One-Night Only Screenings Thursday
UPDATE: Grameen America tells GOOD they are holding a contest in association with this film. The winner will get a video/skype chat with Dr. Yunus. Not bad! See below for details.
To Catch a Dollar documents the progress of microfinance in America through Yunus' Grameen America. The 2010 Sundance Film Festival selection features borrowers from all around the world, but focuses on the often ignored world of microlending in the richest country on earth. Watch the trailer above for a sense of who is getting microloans in the United States. It's an interesting contrast from global microfinance, but a healthy reminder that we too need a little stimulus at the bottom of our economic pyramid.
The film is screening one night only this Thursday in cities all around the country and features a recorded panel at the end with Suze Orman, Dr. Yunus and appearances by Robert De Niro, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, and many others.
If you're interested in microfinance these screenings will probably serve as good local gathering places to vent and plot about how to get the industry back on track.
After 2006, a high water mark for Grameen, and microfinance generally, when he shared the Nobel Prize with his organization, Muhammad Yunus has since been removed from the bank he founded and is fighting to make sure it continues to thrive. And in India, his idea—microlending as a poverty-fighting strategy—spread so fast that a backlash is underway. In both cases governments felt threatened by the power, influence, impact, and potential for misuse of microfinance.
Seeing a movie won't get Yunus reinstated, but there are more subtleties that may be served by demonstrations of mass support. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. diplomats are lobbying the Bangladeshi government to let Yunus stay on, and continued public support for him will aid that effort.
A coalition of micofinance groups out of the United States has also issued this open letter in support of Yunus in addition to various private modes of support. All of these public actions become evidence that can be used in negotiations about what happens to the Grameen Bank and how Yunus exits.
The Calvert Foundation is sponsoring the Washington, D.C. screening. Art Stevens, Vice President at Calvert Foundation, who has been personally involved in the film’s development, said, "This film provides a first-hand account of low-income families doing their best to make it in this world." He added, "I think it would inspire any caring investor to take action after seeing this."
Find a theater and screening near you here.
UPDATE: Grameen America wants to know why you want to see this film. Fill out this form before 11:59 p.m. EST Thursday, March 31. Grameen America will review all the submissions. Three participants will be chosen by the filmmakers and Kiva staff to chat with Dr. Yunus about the film.