Fans of the film, ” Dare to Dream, How Rotary Became the Heart and Soul of Polio Eradication,” know that there isn’t another movie like it anywhere. Not that there aren’t other documentaries about the eradication of polio. For example, Rotary International gave a sneak peek at a new Rotary production that is yet to be released called, Drop to Zero, at the Toronto International Convention. Arch Klumph Society members previewed a one hour plus excerpt of the film that shows “a day in the life” of polio eradication. Drop To Zero contains breathtaking shots of polio workers trying to vaccinate children in Syria and Afghanistan. Rotary hasn’t released it yet, but it’s a powerful (and expensive) production.
But Drop to Zero, and virtually every other documentary you can find, DOES NOT tell Rotary’s story. Dare to Dream is the ONLY documentary to focus on how Rotary got into the polio eradication business. It answers questions Rotarians might have about the roles of the Rotary Foundation, Public Health Organizations, and Rotary Presidents, as we struggled to find ourselves on the path to the greatest public health triumph the world has ever seen. Based on Sarah Gibbard Cook’s book, Rotary and the Gift of a Polio-Free World, Vol. 1, the film is written for Rotarians to learn about and be inspired by our history.
As the writer and executive producer of Dare to Dream, I’ve been surprised at the difficulty we’ve had distributing the film to a Rotary audience. Apparently the film is considered to be “just another project” by many Rotary leaders, and a competitive threat to the Rotary production, Drop to Zero, by others. It is difficult to assess how many Rotarians have actually seen the Directors Cut version of the film, but it seems clear that the numbers are very disappointing relative to our plans to use the movie as a fundraiser for Polio Plus.
Consequently, after discussing the situation with John Sever, who is featured in the film and who I consider to be the “godfather” of Rotary’s role in polio eradication, and with great respect for the many Rotarians and non-Rotarians who contributed their funds to see this project get launched, we’ve decided that getting more Rotarians to see the movie is by far the highest priority for the film as opposed to using the film as a fundraiser. As a result we’ve decided to distribute the film in both of its versions for free. Our goals remain the same. We hope that Rotarians who watch the film will be entertained, educated, and inspired, and will be more likely to continue funding Rotary’s polio eradication efforts.
With the help of a new benefactor of the movie, Zone 21B End Polio Now Coordinator and Arch Klumph Society Member, (and newly named Dare to Dream Producer) Chuck Mason, we have recently completed editing two new versions of the movie.
The Directors Cut – The full-length version of the movie is edited to make it about ten minutes shorter. Having watched many audiences view the film, we think the shorter run time will be helpful in having the audience stick with the story until its amazing and emotional end with balloons dropping in Philadelphia.
Club Program Version – We have created a version of the movie that runs 25-minutes that tells the full story arc of the Directors Cut, but can be played as a Club Program. Our previous free download was a film excerpt that was actually the first 20 minutes of the film. We found that many Rotarians did not ever get to see the end of the film and consequently did not learn some of the most important historical lessons that our Rotary pioneers had to teach. I am thrilled with the job our director, Ilana Bittner, at Pixel Workshop, did with creating this new version of the film.
Trailer – We are crafting a new two-minute trailer that can be used to promote the newly edited version(s) of the film.
As of this writing, we are finished with the production of the Directors Cut and the Club Program version of the film, and are working on the technical aspects of setting up the website to accommodate free distribution. In short, we are “this close.”
I hope to announce that we are ready to rock in about two weeks! We have our fingers crossed that by relaunching a free version of the film we can significantly increase the number of Rotarians who actually watch the movie.