Film now Available for Download or Rent

We’re excited to announce that The Elders is now being distibuted via’s On Demand service. If you would like to download ($9.99) or rent ($3.99) The Elders, you can now do so by visiting this link here.

The Elders’ World Premiere @ Independent Film Festival Boston

Sunday, April 28th at 12:45 PM at Somerville Theater in Davis Square, Somerville Ma., The Elders wil premiere at 2013 IFFBoston. For tickets and more information about the festival, please visit the online box office.


Teaser Video of The Elders Documentary

Featured in this short teaser is Louise, from Waco, Texas. She relocated to Vermont when she was in her mid 80s. She was articulate and genuine, and it was a pleasure to get to know her. I’m excited to edit her full piece, and I know it will make a great contribution to the film. Enjoy!

On the road to make a successfully crowdfunded film, and lessons learned so far

Reposted from Documentary Tech Magazine

Nathaniel Hansen is getting ready to take a cross-country road trip to find his film, a documentary called “The Elders,” but he’s found his funding for the journey through the kindness of both friends and strangers, and their belief, in dollars, in what he’s doing.

Hansen, an Oregon native living in Boston, and with a degree in documentary filmmaking from Emerson College, is one of those filmmakers who is inverting the formula for how it’s done.

One of the ways he has is by mounting a successful crowdfunding effort through,  which bills itself as “a new way to fund and follow creativity.”

Kickstarter allows filmmakers and other artists to propose a project, with a defined amount of funding requested and defined window of time in which to raise it. If the funding goal is not met, all pledges are wiped clean, a kind of all-or-nothing prospect that can be both inspiring and daunting, seeing if your idea is as viable as you think.

Hansen says, “I’ve been following Kickstarter not quite since they launched, when a friend of mine sent me an email and said, ‘Have you seen this?’ I was a little frustrated because it was by invitation, and it was a bit of a mystery to me how you got invited. But I kept following it, and in the back of my mind I kept thinking, ‘What kind of a project would get me the widest possible support from friends, family and strangers?’

It’s not just the idea, it’s the execution, and it was a matter of both finding the right idea, and then proving he could manage it.

As a documentary filmmaker, you have this kind of “idea bag,” a grab-bag of potential ideas that you’re flushing out, trying to determine what’s feasible or not. Last fall I’d started a short exercise, to test out an idea I’d had a couple of years ago, which was to do a documentary project online that had a linear DVD film that accompanied it, that was interview based, and more portrait documentaries that were all connected by some narrative thread that I would try to establish.

I interviewed five people I came in contact with on a regular basis, people I called “familiar strangers” who I saw on my walk around town or in my neighborhood. I created five portraits and found I got an overwhelming level of response from throughout my network, my friends and colleagues and family, and people on Facebook and Twitter. Over a couple months on Vimeo, my videos were getting over 1,000 views a week. That woke me up to the fact I was on to something.

“The Elders” spun off that. Hansen, who has done a variety of commercial work including a spot that will run during the upcoming World Cup soccer event, had been giving thought to the sometimes-unnoticed bank or wisdom among the older people who are the same “familiar strangers’ in our lives.

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Documentary Film Project about “The Elders” Gets a Kickstart

Nathaniel Hansen, filmmaker and media artist, turns to alternative funding sources for his latest feature film, The Elders, a documentary portrait series about aging.

Boston, MA (PRWEB) May 10, 2010 — Independent filmmaker Nathaniel Hansen is turning to the internet to raise funds for his latest feature film project, The Elders, a documentary about aging. With money all but gone for independent films with budgets less than $5-10 million, and with grant funds drying up quickly, filmmakers are having to become more innovative in their fundraising tactics. The new model appears to be fruitful avenue for artists looking to go-it alone.

In line with guidelines, artists have a set number of days to raise all the funds, or the project receives nothing. Hansen’s film has an 18 day fundraising window, from start to finish. If the alloted budget ($11,000 US) isn’t raised before May 26, all pledges are cancelled and the film is not funded.

When asked about why Kickstarter was appealing, Hansen noted that “the ability to spread the word quickly online to a lot of people, and keep them updated on the status of the project is invaluable.” An added advantage for artists is Kickstarter’s merchant partner, which enables each project the convenience of receiving funds from anywhere in the world.

Hansen entered the online fundraising pool a little bit at a time. Another film he is co-producing about the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans was 135% funded after a 45 day fundraising effort. The project’s success gave Hansen the courage to go-it-alone with his own project, “Seeing the success of our other project gave me the courage to put my own film on the line.”

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Through the eyes of an aging generation, The Elders examines what it really means to live, by coming of age. This website is dedicated to showcasing the stories filmed and the filmmaker's journey to film them.


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.

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