Older adults may feel like they’ve been put on a shelf or, even worse, thrown away so no one has to deal with them anymore. That’s the idea behind “Tempest in a Teapot,” which was created by residents and associates at Brookdale Meridian Westland in Lakewood, Colo. Inspiration for the film came from resident Sue Petrovski, who wrote the book “Shelved: A Memoir of Aging in America.” The movie uses a teapot as a metaphor for an older woman who gets the feeling that her children are trying to put her on a shelf. Jan Bond, the resident programs director at Brookdale Meridian Westland, wrote and directed the film. We talked to Jan about what it was like to create “Tempest in a Teapot.”
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What were you trying to say with this film?
Bond: I took my inspiration from one of my residents who has written several books. The most recent was called “Shelved” and is about how society views seniors as not being valuable or relevant anymore. Many people want to put seniors away where they’re safe or even unconsciously put them in the trash. We wanted to show what this disregard can feel like to seniors.
Why was that topic important to you?
Bond: To me, probably because I’m with seniors every day, I realize how they still have a valuable voice, with stories to tell, and we still need to listen to them.
How many people participated in making this film?
Bond: About 20 people.
What was the most challenging part of the film making process?
Bond: I had never used an iPad or the iMovie program, so that was the most challenging. I didn’t know what I was doing and learned as I went. By the end I had learned more about lighting and sound and the technical aspects of shooting a movie.
How did this project help connect residents and associations at your community?
Bond: It helped a great deal and I think it will even more since we’ve been nominated. It helped my relationship with Margaret and the other actors. We all got to know the residents even better than we did before. Now the residents are very excited. We had a little screening with popcorn and family members here. I remember when I heard about the film festival last year I thought, I could never do that, but I learned that I can do it. It’s something everyone should try. Even if it’s a failure it brings you closer together.
What did you like best about creating this film?
Bond: Just getting to know the residents better. I was not a fan of gathering the props and getting the scenes set. That’s where my assistant came in. While I didn’t enjoy the details, I loved getting to know the residents and their families better. You never know a person quite as well as when you’re working on a project with them.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about your film or your crew?
Bond: The girl who played the young Margaret was the daughter of our maintenance man. So this project also brought our team members closer. And Margaret’s grandmother was played by 100-year-old resident Louise Mangels. I had the full support of everyone here at Meridian. The executive director was always encouraging along the way. After it was announced we’d been nominated, people congratulated us, and now we have the whole community rooting for us.