Carol Cummings, RN, BSN, Expert on Aging Well

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10 August 2018

The nominations are in for the second annual Brookdale’s Celebrate Aging Film Festival! Back in January, we launched the film festival and asked our communities to create a film that changes the perception of aging using nothing but an iPad. The films had to be written, directed, acted and edited by Brookdale residents and associates. We received 62 submissions! Two weeks ago, the nomination committee, comprised of Brookdale’s resident and family engagement team, spent three and a half days reviewing each film and narrowing them down to nine finalists. Click here - for Films Nominated in Brookdale's Second Annual Celebrate Aging Film Festival.

Just like a good blockbuster, the nomination process was packed with emotion. Our appreciation of the hard work that went into each of those 62 films cannot be over stated. We highly considered each film for different categories of Best Writing, Best Acting, Best Technical Design, the Courage Award and best Picture. We weighed the acting versus the technical design and analyzed the script writing against the quality of the camera shots. Understanding the creativity, passion and effort that went into the films made each cut gut wrenching. In the end, we were inspired by what our associates and residents created.

Here is a behind the scenes look at the nomination process.

Day one. The team arrived at my home fresh and ready. We piled into my small family room, popcorn and candy ready. After a review of the film festival criteria we settled in for the emotional roller coaster of watching all 62 films without comment. We laughed, cried and privately pondered the message of each film. Making notes and jotting down our “yes” or “no” to sending the film to the next round.

Day two. We tallied the votes from day one and dug into watching the films that made the first cut. This time we had a lively discussion after each film. The team has a shared passion for depicting aging in a positive light. Not a Pollyanna, butterflies and unicorn perspective, but one that shatters the stereotypes about what it means to live as an older person.

We asked ourselves: Did the film represent an inspiring perspective? Did it tell a compelling story? Did it send a surprising message? What about the technical quality? We listened to each other and changed each other’s minds. We voted again and again and sometimes again. We grew tired of sitting, took walks, had to step away and go at it again. Finally, by the end of day two, feeling a bit weary, we arrived at a tentative list of finalists. We enjoyed dinner together and then slept on our final decisions.

Day three. We took one more look at the films, shared one more discussion and then made our finalists list. We easily agreed on the Best Picture nominees. There was a lot of debate over our favorites in technical design. Some are individuals, and some are ensembles in the Best Acting category.  When we couldn’t decide which category a film belonged in, we watched films without sound or only listened to the audio, all in an attempt to land the perfect set of nominees.

In the end, exhausted and drained, we had a collective “high five” and celebrated the 2018 Celebrate Aging Film Festival nominees, all of which are up for the Ecolab People’s Choice Award that is open to the public.

Charles Richardson, Brookdale’s senior director of resident programs, led the committee. He summed up this year’s nominees by saying, “This year’s films, created by our elders, impart wisdom to all of us. They remind us to treasure each moment, challenge our assumptions, face difficult times with determination, laugh, and fall in love!” 

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