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Mary Aloe - Proud Mary Entertainment Exec Produces Documentary Feature Profiling Barack Obama’s Mother - Charles Burnett is Directing

03-03-2010 09:51 AM CET | Media & Telecommunications

Press release from: Aloe Entertainment

Barack Obama and Mother, Stanley Ann Durham

Barack Obama and Mother, Stanley Ann Durham

(LOS ANGELES) – Aloe Entertainment in association with IMG and Shroeder-Ptacek Productions announced today the start of the first-ever film about Stanley Ann Dunham, the unconventional single parent who raised the 44th President of the United States and who would go onto become a leader in the new movement known today as micro-finance, which targets small entrepreneurs in developing countries. The documentary, feature-length project will be directed by Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Anger, Killer of Sheep, Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding).

“According to Barack Obama himself, his mother was his single biggest influence in his life. Yet, we know precious little about this figure who raised essentially by herself the 44th President of the United States. This title documentary feature will capture the Life of President Obama’s Mother that will fill in the heretofore missing pieces,” said Mary Aloe, whose is serving as executive producer under the banner of her production company, Aloe Entertainment. Aloe produced the critically acclaimed Battle in Seattle (2007) and is producing MARY MOTHER OF CHRIST for MGM.

Babette Perry, Vice President, West Coast IMG Broadcasting, who is spearheading the project’s distribution, believes it has enormous international as well as domestic appeal. “Even Barack Obama’s harshest critics recognize that he is a singular, if somewhat enigmatic figure – the most famous personality on the world stage today. People want to know more about him, what makes him tick, who and what is at the roots of his extraordinary rise to success.”

The documentary will reveal the many fascinating and at times, contradictory aspects of Dunham’s life, concluding with her innovative work in micro-finance, also known as micro-enterprise and micro-credit. Dunham, who earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Hawaii, blazed a trail in the emerging field and was among the very first to identify women entrepreneurs in rural villages as key to the movement’s success.

In a commentary published in The New York Times (“Dreams From His Mother,” August 11, 2009) Yale professor Micheal R. Dove noted how his former colleague Dunham (who later changed her last surname to that of her second husband’s, Soetoro) was fearless in her work: “It’s worth pointing out that though micro-enterprise is fairly well-known today — and Indonesia now has one of the world’s largest micro-credit programs — it was pretty radical stuff when Ann Soetoro was doing her work. But then, she had a habit of swimming against the current. While many American academics tried to avoid antagonizing the repressive Suharto government, Ann Soetoro called attention to those the regime had failed to benefit: the village craftsmen, the plantation workers and urban scavengers, the underpaid workers in the shoe and clothing factories.”

The documentary will reveal that when Barack was 10 years old and living with his mother, stepfather and sister in Indonesia, Dunham made the decision to send her only son to live in Hawaii with her parents (Barack’s grandparents) out of fear that her politically sensitive work might endanger his life. Dunham would join her son one year later in Honolulu where she continued to raise him.

Dunham’s innovations in micro-finance came to the attention of both the Ford Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development, both of whom employed her during 20-year-career. In 1985, when Barack Obama was competing in his first political race, she died of uterine cancer in 1995 at the age of 52.

“The litmus test for my involvement in the project was whether there was enough in Dunham’s life accomplishments, despite her premature death and in addition to being Barack’s mother, to warrant a feature-length documentary. Based on the producers’ research, there’s no doubt in my mind that her story will make a compelling film,” said Burnett, who is helming the project.

Carolyn Schroeder, who together with her business partner Greg Ptacek, is producing the project, previously worked with Burnett on The Glass Shield (Miramax, 1994). Ptacek is a former studio marketing executive and the founder and festival director of the Los Angeles-based Downtown Film Festival.

“As a woman and working mother myself, Dunham’s refusal to bend to the expectations of her time and not only raise her son on her own terms but pursue a highly successful professional career speaks volumes to her own character and the values she instilled in her son,” said Schroeder.

Shortly after the publication of his 1995 bestselling book, “Dreams From My Father,” then Illinois state senator Barack Obama made the following statement about his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham: “I think sometimes if I had known that she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book, less than a mediation on the absent parent and more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. In my daughters I see her everyday, her joy, her capacity for wonder. I won’t try to describe how deeply I mourn her passing still. I know she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, that what is best in me, I owe to her.

ALOE ENTERTAINMENT specializes in obtaining 100% feature financing: raising private equity, working with hedge funds, gap financing, top tier foreign sales corps & securing domestic distribution. Producer/film finance expert, MARY ALOE, guides investors through various models of debt, equity, tax-credits, pre-sales & distribution channels to generate significant ROI & creating meaningful theatrical releases with global artistic/social impact.

Aloe Entertainment
433 North Camden Drive, Suite 600
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Media: 310-288-1886

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