By the way in which a society behaves toward its old people it uncovers the naked, and often carefully hidden, truth about its real principles and aims.
–Simone de Beauvoir, The Coming of Age
The Elders was successfully “Kickstarted” on May 26th thanks to 166 online pledges, 4 offline, and an army of supporters on sites like facebook and twitter. Over the next 2 months the film will be in production, shooting all over the United States, and will wrap mid August. To check out the equipment we’ll be using, check out the gear page.
Logline: Through the eyes of an aging generation, The Elders examines what it really means to live, by coming of age.
Synopsis: A feature-length documentary, The Elders uses stylized interview portraits of elderly individuals to tell a universal story about life’s most important lessons. Thematically organized around life lessons that reflect a wide range of human emotion and experience, the film seeks to reveal a larger more complex portrait of our shared humanity.
The short film “Pat” that I shot in October of 2009 is a good example of what this film will look and feel like (click the image to view):
The Elders is an attempt to explore the breadth of understanding held by an aging generation. Their collective memory is fading, and while many of their more universal stories have been immortalized by literature, science, and the arts, their oral histories and unique experiences could yet yield a moving reminder of how best to live a life.
Description: The Elders is a feature-length documentary suitable for film festival distribution and will have one version edited to broadcast specifications (such as PBS’s POV or Independent Lens series). Despite the linear structure of the documentary, the film is constructed of ten self-contained five minute “portraits.” Each portrait is positioned thematically to make up the larger whole. Some portraits that are filmed would not be included in the “film” but would have a life online and in gallery exhibits outside the proposed 50 minute film.
The project will be presented in a variety of formats (online, mediated art gallery, feature film, DVD, festival). To ensure ten excellent and compelling portraits make up the body of the film, I will film 15-20 from which I can then choose. The rest of the portraits would be on the website, and presented in the gallery exhibition.
A personalized, animated title card on black introduces each portrait: Marie. The portrait begins with a fade up from black revealing the cluttered interior of a small dimly lit apartment. A voice-over begins. It’s obviously the interviewee, beginning to tell a story from her years as a bank teller. The story progresses, with cut-aways to the room, close ups on hands and face, shoes, clothes, photos, furniture, etc., until the story is complete. Fade to black.
The Funds: $12,600 was raised on Kickstarter, and we’re waiting to hear back on a match donation from an interested non profit. This is the minimum amount to get this film produced in the way I envision. I’m very hopeful I can raise more than this amount, to really improve the quality of the product, and to film more interviews. The more funds raised, means the more interviews I can conduct over the next 3 months. The funds raised for this film will help cover production (travel, lodging, time, equipment, etc), post-production, and will provide a video download to those that pledge more than $15 and a DVD copy to those pledging more than $35.