The film “Cat’s Outta the Bag” is a story about love, family and a cat. The film idea came from a very frank discussion about how commonplace it is to assume that older adults are no longer interested in intimacy and their only purpose in life should be to continue providing for their children and family. A group of residents at Brookdale Colonial Heights thought it would be amusing to tackle both misconceptions with some thoughtful humor. Their film takes a not-so-serious look at a man and woman who fall in love. This comes as a shock to their children, who have a hard time believing that love and intimacy are possible at their parents’ age. And then there is the question of who gets their money.
Ashley Campbell, resident program coordinator at Brookdale Colonial Heights, directed the film. We talked to Ashley and Wink Crusenberry, who starred as the woman in love, about the film making process.
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What were you trying to say with this film?
Campbell: It was a group effort. We wanted to make sure this wasn’t a commercial but instead something to get people to think about when it comes to aging and relationships when you’re older. It came from a frank discussion that society feels that seniors aren’t interested in romantic relationships when they are older. We wanted to make a film that addresses that stereotype.
Crusenberry: We are creative and we find love regardless of age! We think our film was a humorous way of changing society’s perspective.
Why is that topic important to you?
Crusenberry: To show that the mindset around aging isn’t what is used to be – we’re not what society thinks grandparents were, just sitting in a rocking chair on the porch doing nothing. We’re still very fun and creative.
How many people participated in the making of your film?
Campbell: Approximately 10.
How many hours did you spend on the film, including writing, shooting and editing?
Campbell: Between the meetings, writing, shooting, we guess there were about 40-60 hours.
What was the most challenging part of the film making process?
Campbell: The editing was the most challenging and making it all come together in a way that was understood but still light-hearted.
How did this project help connect residents and associates at Brookdale?
Campbell: It was a topic very important and relevant to the residents – it was something they all bonded over. Once we shared the nomination, it’s just brought so much excitement in the community. Everyone is rooting for our community!
What did you like best about creating a film?
Campbell: It was all really fun, but for me, it was the intuitive, independence and joy it created for all those that were involved. The team directly involved created new relationships that weren’t there before. I enjoyed seeing them have fun and have so much pride in it.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about your film or your crew?
Crusenberry: We want to be sure that our ages are included to show the diversity:
- Lawrence Shoemaker – 93
- Rosemary Noel – 89
- Wink Crusenberry – 91
- Willa Depew – 92
- Clara Saylor – 78
- Charlie Hunley – 74
- R.B. Falin – 82