With a net worth estimated at $17.5 billion, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has all the trappings of wealth. As it turns out, however, what Allen really wants to do is make movies.
More specifically, what interests the 63 year old billionaire—who owns mansions, yachts, a submarine and two pro-sports teams in the form of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers—is producing documentaries with a socially conscious bent. With his new venture, Vulcan Productions, he can scratch that aspiration off his bucket list.
Vulcan Productions focuses exclusively on global environmental and health pandemics, such as carbon emissions, ocean and mass species extinction. In a partnership with RYOT films, the company's latest effort is a short film called "Body Team 12," about a team of Liberian Red Cross workers tasked with removing bodies during the height of the Ebola crisis.
According to Allen, despite tremendous progress, Ebola continues to be unpredictable and devastating opponent.
"Ebola is not somebody else's problem. It is our problem. What we do today, will save lives tomorrow."
The movie debuts Sunday at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Allen shares executive producer credit with actress Olivia Wilde.
Carole Tomko, creative director of Vulcan Productions, told CNBC that "It is our hope that this profoundly moving film will raise awareness and support for the ongoing Ebola relief effort, while breaking the stigma and misconception surrounding the disease, and inspiring others to volunteer."
The film is far from being Allen's only contribution to the pandemic that has ravaged parts of continental Africa. The world's 51st richest man recently pledged $100 million to help contain the crippling Ebola virus, which has killed more than 5,000 people, primarily in Western Africa.
In fact, in the effort to eradicate the disease, Allen is believed to be the world's largest private donor. Over the past few decades he has donated $1.5 billion to charity, through his Paul G. Allen Charitable Foundation.
"Paul is committed to solving the world's most pressing problems," said Tomko. "He feels an intense obligation to help change the world for the better, to generate impactful behavior, through media, technology and philanthropy."
By contributing to solving the health crisis and his other works to raise awareness, "Paul puts his money where his mouth is, and uses all the tools in his tool belt, money, data, shared information and film, to support the story-telling process," she added.