When Marvalene Stanphill accepted the award for Best Picture last year, she said, “I always said when I was a little girl that I was going to be a movie star, and here I am at 92 years old winning an award! I just can hardly believe it!” At 92, the Brookdale Florence resident’s dreams came true. That is the goal of the Celebrate Aging Film Festival, to change the perception of aging. Brookdale set out to prove that you can learn new skills and achieve your dreams at any age.
It’s stories like Marvalene’s (and believe me, there are countless others!) that get me excited for this year. Today we announced that the second annual Celebrate Aging Film Festival will take place on Wednesday, October 3 at the historic Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee. We’ve asked Brookdale communities across the country to submit a five-minute film that paints aging in a positive light. Entries must be made using only the community’s Brookdale issued iPad and must have resident involvement. Films are nominated for Best Writing, Best Technical Design, Best Acting and Best Picture. We also have a Courage Award category for films that tell compelling true stories of residents who are facing aging challenges with resilience. The event has all the elements of a Hollywood awards ceremony, complete with a red carpet and black tie attire.
I am still in awe of last year’s event and of how residents worked side by side with associates to tell compelling stories about what it means to age (watch the highlight reel below). I think we truly made a dent in changing the perception of aging. We couldn’t do this without our generous sponsor, Ecolab, who is back to support the Celebrate Aging Film Festival this year. Many of our communities are already hard at work on films for this year’s event and we are very excited to see what they submit.
It is my greatest passion to make a positive impact on the cultural perception of aging in our culture. For most of the last 20 years, I have noted that ageism seemed to be the last acceptable “ism.” However, in recent months I have noted a shift. A case in point: this year’s Oscars saw nominees and presenters in their seventies and eighties, all looking vibrant on the red carpet. There were some negative references to age, like 80-year-old Jane Fonda noting that at least the 90-year-old Oscar statuette is older than she is, and 50-year-old Sandra Bullock asking producers to turn down the lights so she would look better. However, unlike in the past, these remarks did not go unnoticed on social media and were called out on Twitter as being ageist. Friends, this is progress. Is it crazy to think that the Celebrate Aging Festival had a hand in this change?
It is my hope that more and more of us will begin to see older adults as just people, no different than anyone else, with desires and dreams and things to offer the world. If we are lucky we will all get to be an older person. If we are REALLY lucky, we will win an acting award at 92, just like Marvelene.
Be Well on Purpose!