“The Power Of Two” has much good news to share from last week’s trip to Akron, Ohio. Director/Producer Marc Smolowitz accompanied Development & Outreach Coordinator Dan Roth to his hometown, Akron, to connect with a variety of people and institutions interested in supporting “The Power Of Two.” It was a packed week of fundraisers, round-table discussions, personal meetings, and an exclusive television interview. As Marc reflects, “I was so moved and encouraged by the response to ‘The Power Of Two’ in Akron. As an ‘every city’ that has never heard of Ana & Isa or I, it was very moving to see that the film, its stories and our cause are connecting with communities that have no direct relationship to the project.”
First on the agenda, Marc and Dan reached out to the Akron Film Society for a chance to interact with local film makers. On May 15, a dozen or so film makers assembled at the Akron Art Museum to preview clips from “The Power Of Two” and discuss their own documentaries with Marc. Marc was impressed by the compelling local stories of each film maker, which he recognized as relevant and promising for national audiences. He tailored advice to each attendee based on his 20 years experience in film making for a rewarding interactive discussion.
That night, Dan and Marc greeted a crowd of 25 film makers, transplant recipients, Transplant Recipients International Organization (TRIO) members and more at Uncorked Wine Bar for a casual fundraising event and presentation. Again, Marc screened portions of “The Power Of Two” with a talked about our progress to date and goals for the coming months. The Power Of Two sparked rich discourse over organ donation, including detailed statements by TRIO’s Micki Wise. She advocates presumed consent of organ donation- the law in 24 European countries- and is highly active in the local Akron organ donation community. TRIO board members, transplant recipients, and their spouses also spoke movingly about the gift of life. We were pleasantly surprised by the quantity of attendees engaging in this discussion, even though most had no prior affiliations with the transplant community or the issue of organ donation.
The following evening was a lovely fundraising event at the private home of Susan and Jon Golden. It was a fantastic evening with catering kindly donated by Mustard Seed Market & Cafe. Local leaders in industry, law, and philanthropy attended, along with a number of TRIO members who had attended the previous evening’s festivities, as well. Marc and Dan transformed the Golden’s living room into a screening hall, showcasing production clips from Japan and the film’s official trailer. The ensuing presentation gave viewers a chance to provide feedback and join in our vision for promoting awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and organ donation.
After three days of nonstop presentations, Q&As, and personal introductions, Marc and Dan saved just enough energy to have the camera turned on them. A crew from the television show, Arts Quest, arrived at the home of Dan’s parents with $30,000 worth of film equipment for an interview that will air on Northeast Ohio Time Warner. Marc was thrilled with the local interest in “The Power Of Two,” saying, “It reminds me of how potentially mainstream the topic of organ donation really is. Any community, individual and family could be impacted by chronic illness where transplant is the only solution.”
Akron’s fundraisers will support our final stages of filming at the Donate Life Hollywood Film Festival, U.S. Transplant Games in Madison, and an advocacy visit to Washington D.C. However these events were not only fruitful in the number of attendees or dollar amount raised; above all we were touched by the receptiveness of Akron’s community. “The Power Of Two” was eager to connect with the local organ transplant community, but we were also extremely impressed with the general public’s enthusiasm for our film. Many individuals who had no prior exposure to these matters became engaged and activated for change. This is exactly our hope for “The Power Of Two” as a movement.
When asked about his main takeaway from the experience, Marc comments, “This road test was a beautiful opportunity to foresee the impact of our film. Akron’s been voted All American City three times, showing that ‘The Power Of Two’ has great potential to resonate with people from all walks of life. Organ donation is that kind of cause.” Thank you to the hosts, facilitators, directors, board members, volunteers, and supporters who made this trip a success!