To Catch A Dollar
What prevents poor people from getting ahead? Banks refuse to give credit without collateral. Where commercial banks see insolvency, Nobel Prize–winning economist Muhammad Yunus sees opportunity. His groundbreaking Grameen Bank was built on the radical notion that if you loan poor women money within the context of peer support, not only will they repay and sustain the bank, but they’ll elevate their communities in the process. With millions of microloans to rural entrepreneurs in developing countries, Grameen is now audaciously importing its methods to the bastion of first-world capitalism: the U.S.A. First stop: Queens, New York. With an intimate camera capturing both buoyant and despairing moments, TO CATCH A DOLLAR chronicles the evolution of the tiny new branch. Will the solidarity principles translate to a diverse group of inner-city women? As the banking industry collapses, will these intrepid social-justice financiers succeed? One thing’s clear: we need new models to ensure prosperity for all.
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Gayle Ferraro Director/Producer
Gayle Ferraro, founder of Aerial Productions, brings personal accounts of extraordinary and socially compelling stories to the film circuit. TO CATCH A DOLLAR: MUHAMMAD YUNUS BANKS ON AMERICA (2009) is Ferraro’s fourth independently produced and directed feature documentary, and a recipient of the prestigious Sundance Documentary Program/Skoll Foundation Stories of Change grant. Ferraro’s previous works include: GANGES: RIVER TO HEAVEN (2003) where with unparalleled intimacy the film explores dying in the holy city of Varanasi, India; ANONYMOUSLY YOURS (2002) shot clandestinely in Burma follows the harrowing world of sex-trafficking through the stories of four young women; and SIXTEEN DECISIONS (2000) an intimate look at one young woman’s challenges in rural Bangladesh to change her family’s life of extreme poverty. She received Masters Degrees in Public Administration from Harvard University and Mass Communication from Boston University, and studied International Human Rights Law at Oxford University.
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Festivals & Awards
Sundance Film Festival
“It might be rubbing salt in a wound, but many fest auds will wish they could force every failed banker and credit-default-swapper in America to sit down with TO CATCH A DOLLAR in which a former professor from Bangladesh shows how to lend money responsibly…Ending with a succession of smiling women holding $1,200 and $2,500 checks, and with a greeting from the freshly-opened Omaha branch of Grameen, the film leaves viewers praying that there may be hope for banking in America after all -- even if it comes in the form of aid from the "Third World." ”
-The Hollywood Reporter
The filmmakers of TO CATCH A DOLLAR have worked with Grameen America and Muhammad Yunus on an extensive outreach campaign to raise awareness of Yunus’ unique techniques to alleviate poverty. For more information about this audience engagement campaign, visit the film’s website: http://www.tocatchadollar.com/take-action/
Founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America is dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families.