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BYU microcredit documentary premieres at United Nations Nov. 18

A BYU Broadcasting production, "Small Treasures: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty," will be screened at the United Nations on Thursday, Nov. 18 as part of the launch day celebration for the International Year of Microcredit 2005.

Produced by award-winning filmmakers Sterling Van Wagenen and Matt Whitaker in conjunction with the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Management's Center for Economic Self-Reliance, "Small Treasures" explores the issues of poverty and microcredit as it features interviews with numerous recipients of small loans in locales ranging from India to the Philippines to New York City.

The documentary tells the stories of how short-term loans of even a few dollars have resulted in dramatic changes in lifestyles for families who otherwise would have no means of lifting themselves out of their poverty. The film also interviews bankers, economists, scholars from BYU and elsewhere, and other experts on past, present and potential successes of microcredit programs.

In introducing the International Year of Microcredit 2005, Kofi Annan, U.N. Secretary General, stated, "The great challenge before us is to address the constraints that exclude people from full participation in the financial sector. The International Year of Microcredit offers a pivotal opportunity for the international community to engage in a shared commitment to meet this challenge."

Actress Natalie Portman, who is a spokesperson for the yearlong initiative and who will be hosting the kickoff events, added, "Microcredit is about giving hope. When you're talking about making loans to women whose income is less than $1 a day, you can easily make the leap to see what a microloan can make possible."

"Small Treasures: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty" will air in early 2005 on KBYU Television and on PBS stations nationwide. It was made possible by grants from Angel Partners and the Shadow Lake Children's Fund. Specifics on airdates and times will be available at www.kbyu.org.

Writer: Jim Bell

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