Are you still raising money?

Yes! Through Kickstarter, PayPal, and developing relationships, we’ve gathered about $22,000 from nearly 250 private individuals. However, even under the rosiest scenarios, the production will need at least $10,000 in further funding. The bulk of this money is required for equipment leases, plane tickets/transportation, hotels, and paying personnel costs.

We value sound financial stewardship and are working to make this an extremely efficient production. Documentaries can often balloon to ten times more than we are budgeting; indeed, a comparable documentary on a similar disease had an annual cost of $250,000. We function as a non-profit organization and keep our costs low through gift-in-kind contributions and pro bono/volunteer services in graphic design, music composition, public relations, maintaining the website, sound engineering, legal fees, and grant writing. By keeping our costs as low as possible, we aim to make The Blue Ribbon a bargain for the donor population that will benefit from it over the next decade.

What will you do with the profits?

Other than Michael Moore or Al Gore, issue documentaries are not known for making money. They are known for changing lives or changing public policy. Those are the metrics by which we measure return on investment. If there are proceeds from the film, a significant amount will obviously go to the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s goal of fostering an international dialogue on finding the cause, cure, and prevention of neuro-immune diseases. Donations to support the production of this film can be made tax-deductible. Ask us for more details.

How do you define ME/CFS?

There are a variety of definitions of ME and CFS (or ME/CFS) including the Holmes, Fukuda, Oxford, Canadian Consensus Criteria, Empirical Definition, and the International Consensus Criteria.

This film will address some of the pros and cons of the definitions, but will primarily define ME/CFS according to the Canadian Consensus Criteria as that is the definition most used by international experts.

What kinds of patients will you show in the film?

Multiple sclerosis presents a similar range of severity, although many experts contend the range of ME/CFS is measurably more severe. The 25% of the most severe patients are usually totally bed-ridden. The middle 50% can generally be thought of as housebound and many are unable to work, consigned to living on disability payments. Many may only leave their house once a week or once every two weeks. From there, the top 25% will have some level of normal functionality in society, although usually with significant difficulty. Finally, the top 5-7% are highly functional and are able to live relatively normal lives.

We aim to show patients from across the spectrum, with a particular interest in the most severe patients. The bottom 25% are the ones most in danger; they are the most invisible; and their plight is the most in need of a voice.

How will the film be distributed?

The film be made available through every avenue possible: through film festivals, DVD, online streaming (Hulu, iTunes, Video on Demand, etc.), and community screenings. With our Media Kit and Event Planning Guide, we aim to equip individuals to stage at least 300 screenings of the film worldwide in 2014, changing the conversation one community at a time.