This past summer, I was gearing up to start graduate school at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Poverty, Inc. had played in 30 film festivals and numerous top universities, secured distribution, and been endorsed across the political spectrum from libertarians to Michael Moore. After 5 years working on this and related projects, I felt a strong temptation to put it up on the trophy shelf, list it on my resume, and move on. But I couldn't shake the feeling that the real work was just beginning. I wrote in my journal one day: "You don't make documentaries to win awards. You make them to change culture." That's when I decided to defer MIT and spend the year touring with the film, engaging people around the country and internationally on these ideas.
I traveled for 50 days straight living out of a big white van I borrowed from a buddy and doing a screening / Q&A pretty much every night of each week. I covered 7,570 miles by road and 10,042 by air in those 50 days alone. I was blown away by the passion and energy of screening organizers and participants in the dozens and dozens of cities I visited, with lengthy post-screening discussions ranging 30-75 minutes following the 91 minute film.
Thank you to all you community leaders who organized screenings, all you generous hosts who put me up in your homes, and all you bright thinkers who shared your insights with me.
As 2016 approaches, I invite you to consider organizing more screenings of Poverty, Inc. in your city, for your organization, or at your university this coming winter and spring. This is how we drive change; one conversation at a time.
To organize a screening, visit our screenings page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much. I hope for a chance to meet you for a screening in 2016.