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Unitus Microcredit Loans

Lessons, impressions, and thoughts that I have about the powerful poverty-fighting tool of Microcredit and how Unitus is accelerating the growth of Microfinance around the globe.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Short Interview With Sterling Van Wagenen


This is an excerpt of an interview with Sterling Van Wagenen, one of the producers (Matt Whitaker the other) of Small Fortunes. Sterling gives props to Mike Murray and Warner Woodworth, both of the Unitus board for his inspiration.

Questions for Sterling Van Wagenen, producer of Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty, that will premiere at the launch of the Year of Microcredit 2005 at UN Headquarters in New York on 18 November 2004.

1. To produce this film on the history of microfinance and the transformation of how people look at poverty and poor people, you traveled all over the world to places like India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Kenya. Is there one interview that stands out as the most memorable?

Two, actually. Our interview with Mohammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, was memorable because of Yunus’ remarkable optimism in the face of extraordinarily difficult conditions in Bangladesh. His unshakable belief in the value and capacity of individuals, no matter how poor or “disadvantaged” was inspiring. Stanley Fischer of Citigroup was memorable because of his remarkable combination of pragmatism and compassion—qualities one rarely finds balanced so well in very successful business executives.

2. What inspired you to tackle this subject?

The work of Mike Murray, CEO of Unitus, a Microcredit accelerator, and Warner Woodworth at the Center for Economic Self-Reliance at Brigham Young University. Both men are thinking outside the box in terms of how to address poverty in ways that take the realities of human nature into account. If capitalism really is the best economic system, it should be able to address the problems of the world’s poor people more effectively than charitable giving. Microcredit seems like a credible answer to that challenge.


Sterling Van Wagenen is a former director of UCF’s film program. He is the co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival. and has produced, directed and written many films. He co-produced “The Trip to Bountiful,” which won an Academy Award for best actress for Geraldine Page and a nomination for best adapted screenplay.

For more on the premiere at the UN and about Van Wagenen, go here.

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