From the "Why Don't They Do This More Often" department, Magnolia Pictures took a philanthropic approach. Promoting their latest comedy Buffaloed, the studio teamed with the non-profit RIP Medical Debt, the studio plans to eliminate $1.5 million worth of medical debt, according to Variety.
Medical Debt – A National Problem
The national 501c3 organization uses donations to purchase bundled medical debt portfolios through collections agencies. The debts accrued from months to years. Using third-party credit data providers, it targets debts specifically incurred by those facing financial hardship and the company forgives them for a fraction of the initial cost. An estimated 137 million Americans struggle to pay medical bills and up to 66.5 percent of all personal bankruptcies are related to those issues.
The campaign will be launched through RIP Medical Debt's platform, Qgiv, and will encourage people to contribute. Magnolia will offer 10 prize packages to 10 people, selected at random, who donate to the campaign. RIP co-founder Craig Antico describes the crippling financial issues Americas face from the insurmountable medical debt.
"'Buffaloed' highlights the business of the debt collection world, and how hard-working people can make a good living. But over half of all bill collectors collect medical debt — especially against people that can't pay. The filmmakers understand this plight of the debtor, and are doing something about it. They are abolishing over $1 million in debt to help those Americans most burdened by un-payable medical debt."
Directed by Tanya Wexler and written by Brian Sacca, the story follows Peg Dahl (Zoey Deutch), a hustler who turns to debt collecting out of desperation to get out of Buffalo, NY to go to the Ivy League college of her dreams. The film also stars Judy Greer, Jai Courtney, and Jermaine Fowler.
Magnolia isn't the only one that helped forgive medical debt. On HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the host forgave nearly $15 million for 9,000 Americans on a June 2016 episode. Oliver highlighted the plight of his program before making his announcement.
Buffaloed comes to theatres on February 14th.