“The Micro Debt”
- a critical investigation into the dark side of Microcredit.
For decades Microcredit has been hailed as the #1 solution to eradicate poverty. In December 2007, the Danish independent journalist and film maker, Tom Heinemann met with a woman by the name of Jahanara – living in a slum-like house two hours drive outside the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Shortly before this meeting she had sold her house to pay her weekly installment’s. For months, she had been intimidated, harassed and abused by the members of her loan group and by the loan officers from the various MFI’s – including Grameen Bank – who had given her the loans. Two years later the film crew went back to investigate if Jahanara had succeeded getting out of poverty.
“Not all that glitters is gold”
The meeting with Jahanara was only the first in a long string of interviews with poor people in Bangladesh, Andhra Pardesh in India and in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. The Microcredit loan-takers told the same story over and over again: Most of them had numerous loans in various NGO’s and Micro Finance Institutions – and many must take new loans to cover the old ones. They paid annual interest rates ranging from 30-200 %, and they are under extreme social pressure from the other members of their groups not to mention how cruel and rude some of the loan officers behaves when it comes to defaulting a single weekly payment. The film also brings interviews with renowned Microfinance experts such as Thomas Dichter, Milford Bateman, Alex Counts, Jonathan Morduch and David Roodman etc. And we interview local experts NGO’s such as Khushi Kubur from Nijera Kori and Shahidur Rahman from ActionAid International.
A Nobel banker
“The Micro Debt” also take a close look at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Grameen Bank and Mr. Muhammad Yunus. The film reveals a number of secret documents proving how Mr. Yunus back in the mid-90’s transferred 100 mio USD – where most was donated as grants from Norway, Sweden, Germany, USA and Canada – to a new company in the Grameen-family in order to save tax in the future.
“The Micro Debt” was first aired in a special Norwegian version on November 30. 2010 at NRK1 and caught attention in medias all over the world. Currently (January 2011) Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank is being investigated by a government body in Bangladesh.
On January 31. 2011 the international version of the film was broadcasted at National Danish Television and will also be aired in Sweden.
For broadcasters, institutions and private copies of the film, please contact the world wide distributor, Mr. Kim Christiansen at DR Sales (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Tower Of Promises
The world have never been bigger. In seconds we can connect. From Scandinavia to Bangladesh.
Globalization can create economical growth even in the poorest countries of the world. Good for some but not for all. The gap between the rich and the poor has never been bigger: 980 million people are starving every day, Just 1000 people own on average more than 4 billion Dollars, 850 million people suffers from chronic malnutrition.
Who are the winners and who are the losers?
This documentary shows how Ericsson and Telenor for more than a decade have neglected to live up to their own Code Of Conduct. Fatal accidents, child labour, hazardous working conditions and environmental disasters are everyday occurrences in their factories in Bangladesh. Thousands of poor workers, work for subcontractors to Ericcson and Telenor (Two of the largest telecommunication companies in the world). These multinational companies guarantees to the public and their shareholders, that the employees and suppliers have to live up to the most basic human rights and environmental standards. “A Tower Of Promises” documents how these guarantees are nothing more than empty words.
“Flip The Coin – A Tower Of Promises” is a co-production between SVT, Sweden – DR, Denmark and NRK, Norway. For more information, sales, international version please contact Tom Heinemann.
Surrounded By Enemies
Aracruz Celulose in Brazil is the world’s leading supplier of bleached eucalyptus pulp. The main figure in planning and establishing the company, is the Norwegian business man, Erling Lorentzen. He is married to Princess Ragnhild of Norway and the brother in law to King Harald. The company was established with the support from the brutal Brazilian military regime. The dictatorship lasted 21 years. In an interview with Harvard Business School, Erling Lorentzen states: “The military dictatorship was good in the beginning.” “It cleaned up a few things, but it lasted too long”. The documentary, “Surrounded by Enemies”, tells the story about Aracruz Celulose and the methods the companies men have used in building the powerful international company. This is documentary number two in the trilogy, “Flip the coin”, produced by Erling Borgen (Norway) and Tom Heinemann (Denmark). Erling Lorenten sold his shares in Aracruz Cellulose this summer and says he has, “…closed a door in Brazil”. But he has left behind many unsolved problems involving Aracruz Celulose. Aracruz was for nearly 40 years fighting for land with the Guarani and Tupinikim indians. The dispute was settled in 2007, when the Indians won, and Aracruz had to give back 11 000 hectar of land to the indigenous people. Now many other groups claim land from the pulp company. The Patoxo Indians, the Quilombolo-communities and the powerful landless movement. (MST) Environmentalists accuse Aracruz of environmental destruction through eucalyptus monocultures. And in this documentary, Aracruz admits, that the company has cut down Atlantic rainforest.
Both links in Norwegian, In the near future, the documentary will also be presented in an English version.
The Bitter Taste Of Tea
In the beautiful lush tea gardens in Kenya, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, millions of tea-workers struggle everyday â€“ fighting to survive. They are plucking tea for multinational companies such as Lipton and Finlay’s.The companies promise the consumers, that they will act as responsible members of the global society protecting the environment and ensuring good working and living conditions for the workers. Nothing could be more wrong. The western consumers have turned to Fairtrade because Fairtrade/Max Havelaar guarantees, that the workers in the Fairtrade certified tea estates get a little extra money, every time the consumer buys their tea. This film tells the true story of how Fairtrade is not at all fair.