The following is a statement to be read at the Forgotten Plague screening held at the International Association of CFS/ME Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL at 6:30pm on Thursday, October 27th, 2016.
Thank you all for attending this special screening of Forgotten Plague at IACFSME. Most people like to receive presents on their birthday, but I like to give them. Today is my 27th birthday and this screening is my gift to you. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here in person. Recently I’ve been travelling to promote Forgotten Plague at the Stanford Medicine X conference, the Montana Book Festival, and the #MillionsMissing protest in Washington, DC.
I’m proud to report recent successes of a Forgotten Plague screening at the CDC in August as well as Continuing Medical Education screenings at hospitals all throughout Atlanta, GA. Last week we had our Belgium premiere, and next week is our Switzerland premiere. All told we’ve held about 40 screenings across the world from Ireland to Australia, we’ve released the film in 7 languages (German, French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Dutch, and English), and we’ve made the film available for iTunes purchase in 81 nations/territories. The film has been hailed a “Must See Documentary” by the Huffington Post, and has had sold-out theatrical screenings on the East Coast and West Coast. This past May ME/CFS patients and families from across the US sent 330 DVD copies of Forgotten Plague to their representatives in the US House and Senate, which helped lay the groundwork for 55 House members signing a letter to NIH Director Francis Collins requesting greater attention be paid to this disease.
As we’ve always said, this isn’t just a movie. This is a movement. And none of this would be possible without the backing of the international ME/CFS community who had provided funding, connections, advice, and passion to help further the message of this film.
The film required $150,000 and 16 months of full-time work to complete. It required travel to 9 U.S. states over the course of 9 months for over 100 interviews with the top scientists, doctors, journalists, and advocates in the ME/CFS space, along with dozens of patients. We had 3 full-time employees who often worked 14-hour days for minimum wage to get the job done. We also had dozens of others who came onboard at various parts of the production to lend a hand. We had an animator who worked for Cartoon Network, a sound engineer from TBS and TNT, a colorist who worked on major motion pictures from Paramount and Warner Bros, and an editorial advisor who worked on the Academy Award-nominated AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague.
Forgotten Plague is available on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and DVD. DVD’s are available for purchase here today or on Amazon.com or ForgottenPlague.com. Amazon Prime users can stream the film for free and those in foreign countries will find iTunes to be the best way to watch subtitled versions of the film.
We, the Blue Ribbon Foundation, are a small non-profit, yet we’ve managed to make a worldwide impact. Like all charities, we are exactly as effective as our level of fundraising. We can make a little go a really long way, but we do need funds to continue operating and furthering our mission of fostering an international dialogue toward the cause, cure, and prevention of neuro-immune diseases. We would ask that those able and interested please consider making financial contributions (via www.theblueribbonfoundation.
Thank you for coming, and please enjoy the show!!