Documentary ‘In Debt We Trust’ Makes World Premiere at RIT, Oct. 3




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GIVE HIM CREDIT—Robert Manning was destined to play a major dramatic role in the film industry.

Who else could convince actor Jimmy Smits (TV’s West Wing-fame) to forgo accepting a role in a Master Card commercial because “it would be condoning how we as a nation—especially young adults—can become strangled by debt.”

“Americans are maxing out on credit cards, and college students are big business for companies like Master Card which want to keep them as lifelong consumers,” says Manning, a leading critic of the nation’s financial services industry and professor of consumer financial services in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology.

His book, Credit Card Nation, has become the inspiration for a hard-hitting documentary In Debt We Trust: America Before the Bubble Burst, produced by Danny Schecter (director of the acclaimed WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction, 2004). The film made its debut at the Nantucket Film Festival in mid-June to rave reviews—including Smits—among other notable celebrities and critics.

In Debt We Trust will make its world premiere at RIT from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in the Gordon Field House and Activities Center. The evening’s events include a 30-minute excerpt of the documentary, followed by a panel discussion moderated by RIT President Albert J. Simone.

Panelists include Stephen Brobeck, executive director of Consumer Federation of America; William Love, 2006 MBA graduate, Saunders College of Business; Schecter, director and producer of the documentary; and Manning, the film’s editorial advisor.

In Debt We Trust is a must-curriculum for many RIT students who are encouraged to attend the screening—including more than 1,000 students enrolled in the First Year Enrichment program.

“The film gives great insight into the impact debt is having on young people and our society,” Manning explains. “But viewers won’t go home without some answers. We also offer ways to empower the public with information on how to avoid the traps of debt and dependency. We may be sounding the alarm but also giving time to answer it.”

Earlier this year, Manning earned mileage in the Big Apple with his Living With Debt Study sponsored by Lending Tree.com; gained notoriety in a 3-part-mini series on credit card debt on the CBS Evening News with Bob Scheiffer; played the voice of reason on marketing credit cards to students on spring break on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart; then earned hometown kudos for talking about banking deregulation in a live broadcast on the Al Franken Show (Air America radio network) at the Little Theatre.

Rochester-area college students and the public are invited to attend the premiere of In Debt We Trust. For more information, contact Donna Slavin at (585) 475-2199 or dslavin@saunders.rit.edu. To interview Professor Robert Manning or filmmaker Danny Schecter, contact Marcia Morphy at (585) 475-4951 or mpmuns@rit.edu.