Press Advisory

Screening: Maxed Out

Special media invitation for screening of Maxed Out

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, March 7, 2007, the Center for American Progress will host a special screening of Maxed Out, complimented by an expert panel and Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN).

Maxed Out shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of “preferred customer” and tells us why the poor are getting poorer and the rich getting richer. By turns hilarious and profoundly disturbing, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us. Maxed Out won critical acclaim at the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas in March, and Simon & Schuster plans to publish a memoir based on Director James Scurlock’s interviews and travels during the making of the film next year. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, calls Maxed Out a “riveting examination of America’s debt problem.” Sally Foster of Film Threat says that “Maxed Out is a skillful intertwining of facts, interviews and vignettes, ultimately coming together to form a picture of our country’s current financial state.”

Please join us for a provocative panel discussion and Q&A session immediately following the film.

Introduction by:
Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN)

Featured Panelists:
Kirsten Keefe, Executive Director, Americans for Fairness in Lending
Janne O’Donnell, Advocate featured in Maxed Out
James D. Scurlock, Director and Producer, Maxed Out
Kimberley Warden, Vice President for Federal Affairs, Center for Responsible Lending
Dr. Christian E. Weller, Senior Economist, Center for American Progress

Moderated by:
Anna Soellner, Director of outreach and special events, Center for American Progress


March 7, 2007, 6:00pm8:00pm
Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP Required. First come, first served.
Please RSVP by Monday, March 5th to Daniella Gibbs Leger

Please let us know in advance if you have any needs for special accessibility so that we can be sure to accommodate you.


The US Capitol
Room HC-5
Please use the Capitol’s south entrance.
Washington, DC 20515
Map & Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue line to Capitol South or Red Line to Union Station

RSVP for this Event


Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) represents the Tennessee’s 5th District, the greater Nashville area. He serves on the Armed Services, Budget, and Oversight and Government Reform Committees, as well as the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. This is his ninth term in Congress.

Kirsten Keefe was hired in September 2005 to be AFFIL’s Director. She is directing the campaign on a part-time basis (10-12 hours per week), and also works as an attorney with the Empire Justice Center, a non-profit legal services organization, where she practices consumer law. Keefe is a frequent trainer of counselors and lawyers on consumer law issues. As Director of AFFIL, Keefe has brought together a diverse group of organizations to develop a communications strategy using the media, advertising and film to draw national attention to problems with the lending industry. Keefe maintains strong relationships with the Partners Council, Board Members, AFFIL funders, Maxed Out Director James Scurlock, and his book and movie distributors. She oversees AFFIL fundraising and budgeting, fields requests about AFFIL and Maxed Out, and is the key strategist about AFFIL’s current mission and future vision. Prior to returning to her hometown in upstate New York, she worked in the Consumer Housing Unit of Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLS) in Philadelphia, PA. Keefe is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and the Beasley School of Law at Temple University. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand.

Janne O’Donnell began speaking against credit card company policies in 1998 when her son Sean committed suicide. Sean was over $12,000 in debt to credit card companies at the time of his death. O’Donnell has lobbied the Oklahoma Senate to ban credit card solicitations on college campuses. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 60 Minutes II and Good Morning America to make people aware of the dangers of unlimited credit. O’Donnell also tells her story in James Scurlock’s forthcoming documentary about the lending industry, Maxed Out. Maxed Out is collaborating with AFFIL to promote awareness about these issues. After working in the market research field for 22 years, O’Donnell opened, an online Irish import store. The store gives her a wonderful, tax deductible, opportunity to visit Ireland once a year. She has a BS in Business from Eastern Montana College and a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. Ms. O’Donnell makes her home in Norman, Oklahoma with her husband of 35 years, John Moyer. Her 25 year old son, Tim also lives in Norman.

James D. Scurlock attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania from 1989-1993 as an undergraduate and has no formal film training. An entrepreneur since his sophomore year in college, James opened several successful restaurants which he later sold. He has also contributed as a freelance writer to several magazines and newspapers. Maxed Out is his second feature documentary.

Kimberley Warden serves as a Vice President for Federal Affairs at the Center for Responsible Lending. At CRL, she is responsible for developing federal legislative strategies to combat abusive lending practices, including predatory mortgage loans, payday loans, and overdraft loans. Prior to joining CRL, Kimberley was a Senior Associate in the Commercial Litigation and Financial Services Practices groups at Saul Ewing, a D.C. law firm. In this capacity, she advised banks, insurance companies, and mortgage companies on regulatory compliance issues and commercial disputes. Before joining Saul Ewing, Kimberley was Counsel to Senator Bill Nelson (Florida). During her tenure on the Hill, Kimberley advised the Senator on financial services, housing issues, and consumer affairs matters. Kimberley received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia. After law school, Kimberley clerked for the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals. Kimberley has also served as a senior staffer to three presidential candidates.

Dr. Christian E. Weller is a Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress. His expertise is in the area of retirement income security, macro economics, and international finance. Prior to joining the Center, he was on the research staff at the Economic Policy Institute, where he remains a research associate. Dr. Weller has also worked at the Center for European Integration Studies at the University of Bonn in Germany, under the Department of Public Policy of the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C., and in banking in Germany, Belgium and Poland. Dr. Weller is a respected academic with close to 100 publications in academic and popular publications. His academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Development Studies, the Cambridge Journal of Economics, the Journal of International Business Studies, the Journal of Aging and Social Policy, and the Journal of Economic Issues, among others. His popular writings have been published in the New York Times, USA Today, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In 2006, he was awarded the Outstanding Scholar-Practitioner Award from the Labor and Employment Relations Association. His work is frequently cited in the press and he is often a guest on national TV and radio programs. Dr. Weller holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Anna Soellner is the director of outreach and special events for the Center for American Progress. Anna joined American Progress after serving at the Hong Kong office of the public affairs firm Golin/Harris Forrest. There she provided strategic counsel for a diverse group of private and public sector clients including the Hong Kong S.A.R. government, Jardine Matheson and Giorgio Armani. She also served in the office of Martin Lee, chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, where she was a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar. In that capacity, Anna served as foreign media liaison and assisted in developing party relations with foreign governments and NGOs to promote democracy and rule of law in Hong Kong. Before leaving for Hong Kong, Anna served in the Office of Legislative Affairs and Public Liaison at the U.S. Treasury Department in the Clinton administration. She has also worked for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She has a bachelor’s degree with high honors from Smith College.