Movie premieres raise millions for brain research
French Rotarians are hoping to raise more than US$1 million for brain research during a premiere of the Disney movie A Christmas Carol
on 17 November in 350 theaters across France. Photo courtesy Espoir en tête
French Rotarians are hoping to raise more than US$1 million for brain research during a premiere of the Disney movie A Christmas Carol on 17 November in 350 theaters across France.
Espoir en tête, an effort of Rotary International districts in Zone 11, is now in its fourth year, having raised more than $5 million since its inception in 2005 as a centennial project.
"In Zone 11, we have more than three million patients who are victims of Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, strokes, etc.," says RI Director Catherine Noyer-Riveau, explaining the decision by the zone's 2004-05 district governors to select brain disease research as the project beneficiary. "Brain diseases are sadly a part of our daily lives and touch everyone regardless of age, the region where they live, or social and cultural background."
Tickets to the premiere are being sold for about $22, with $12 going to the Fédération pour la Recherche sur le Cerveau (Brain Research Federation ).
Since launching the fundraiser in 2005, the project's board of directors has worked with four movie distributors: Pathé Cinéma, Wild Bunch, Warner Bros., and Disney Pictures. The first event attracted 70,500 movie goers, raised more than $1 million, and generated more than 700 news articles on Rotary in the French media.
The project's success has ensured its sustainability, one of three initial criteria the district governors used to select a fundraiser. The effort also had to relate to an Avenue of Service and include a public relations component.
With the help of a PR grant from Rotary International, the districts produced a seven-minute video about Rotary which will be shown before the movie. As a result, Rotarian and non-Rotarian movie goers will learn more about Rotary and its work.
In the future, the project directors envision movie theaters downloading the video about Rotary directly, and having local districts and clubs supplement the main portion with customized information about their own communities.
"With Espoir en tête, we communicate about Rotary, we take part in a great public health initiative that is among the government's priorities, and we fund this project by collecting money from movie goers -- non-Rotarians, for the most part," Noyer-Riveau said.
To learn more, visit the project's Web site.