Moving In To China

So many great stories from Rotary International‘s decades of work on polio eradication. Here, former RI President and master storyteller, Cliff Dochterman, explains how Rotary was able to gain trust with the Chinese Government with a lot of work and signs of good faith.

We’re finishing up shooting our interviews, and will soon begin editing the film. We’re still a few dollars short of our post-production budget. Donations can be made at

December Production Update

We are very proud to report to you that we have completed filming our three “founding fathers” of polio eradication, Past RI President’s Sir Clem Renouf and Cliff Dochterman, as well as Dr. John Sever. We have several hours of footage from each of them, and considering that Renouf and Dochterman are ages 95 and 90 respectively, they were remarkable in front of the camera. Next we begin to “fill in” the story by interviewing expert historians or current Rotary and public health leaders. In that regard, we have commitments from Sarah Gibbard Cook, Dave Forward, and Dr. Stephen Cocci, all mentioned previously, to appear in the project. In addition, we have commitments from the immediate past and present Rotary Polio Plus Committee Chairs, Bob Scott and Mike McGovern. Rounding out our storytellers we are pleased that Dr. Bruce Aylward, former Director of the World Health Organization, will be helping us tell the story of how the World Health Organization helped shape Rotary’s polio eradication effort be what we know today as Polio Plus.

Story Update

The Dare to Dream documentary begins in 1978-79 as RI President and President-Elect, Jack Davis and Clem Renouf, wrestle with the notion that Rotary should undertake service projects on a global scale. The story ends in 1988 with balloons dropping at the Philadelphia International Rotary Convention with the news that Rotary has raised a staggering $240 million to fund global polio eradication. But what makes our heroes in the story so interesting is to learn about the many obstacles they had to overcome in order to succeed. From the standpoint of creating a gripping narrative, the objections of Rotary leaders, Rotary Foundation Trustees, and public health leaders, both to the idea that Rotary should take on global service projects, and the notion that a single disease should be targeted for eradication, combine to give the documentary a wonderful sense of drama. Because of the complexity of educating the audience about Rotary as an organization, polio as a disease, and the controversy in the public health arena regarding vertical versus horizontal disease eradication programs, we have decided to focus on a one-hour documentary, which for broadcast purposes is approximately forty-five minutes of content. Once completed, we will edit a “club program” length piece that is twenty-five minutes in length.

Research Update

The Dare to Dream script is now finalized. The research for the script is based on the two seminal books on Rotary’s polio eradication efforts, Sarah Gibbard Cook’s book, “Rotary and the Gift of a Polio Free World,” and David Forward’s book, “Doing Good in the World: The Inspiring Story of the Rotary’s Foundation’s first 100 years.” We have also studied Clem Renouf’s book, “The Health, Hunger, and Humanity Program of Rotary International,” Herb Pigman’s book, “Conquering Polio, A brief history of PolioPlus, Rotary’s role in a global program to eradicate the world’s greatest crippling disease,” as well as some excellent papers published by Dr. Stephen Cocci, Senior Advisor, Global Immunization Division of the Center’s for Disease Control. And of course, we have the first person testimony of many of the actual participants in the initial Rotary polio eradication initiative. We are quite confident the documentary will accurately tell the story our audience wants to hear.

Cliff Dochterman Interview

Dare To Dream director, Ilana Bittner, visited with former Rotary International President, Cliff Dochterman yesterday, at his home near Berkeley, CA, where he shared his memories of the origins of Rotary’s campaign to eradicate Polio.

Clem Renouf Interview

SkypePhoto_20161003_09_42_32We had the great pleasure of interviewing former Rotary International President, and one of the Founding Fathers of Rotary’s Polio eradication campaign last night. Coordinating with an Australian production crew, producer Ken Solow and director Ilana Bittner conducted the interview via Skype.