Film Festival Partnership with United Tackles Ageism
“United Active Living’s partnership with the THIRD ACTion Film Festival fits perfectly with United’s focus on eliminating ageism and promoting positive, creative aging,” said United’s music director, Jill LaForty. “Film is a creative, storytelling medium, and many of United’s programs focus on storytelling and creativity, so the festival’s philosophy and United’s philosophy work well together.”
The THIRD ACTion Film Festival, held in June in Calgary, promotes a positive view of aging throughout the year. Part of that work brings festival films into United’s two communities.
“I started the festival last year as a way to focus on the negative effects of ageism,” said Mitzi Murray, executive director. “Ageism is so engrained in our society. It is subtle but so pervasive in all age groups. It even affects how older adults see themselves and their place in society.”
Mitzi noted that ageism is becoming better understood, but it’s a slow process. She said more Hollywood productions are portraying older adults in a more positive light. “The portrayal of older adults in our society leaves the impression that they aren’t important, and we’re working, along with United and other older adult communities, to change that.” Films at the festival covered a wide range of topics including dementia and caregiving, death and grieving, and included positive aging themes.
United’s residents attended a film screening at Fish Creek in August and the reaction was incredibly positive. “It was interesting. I loved the film and can’t wait for the next event,” said one resident. Another resident brought members of his family to watch it with him.
“We had a great turnout when Mitzi brought a true-life film about memory and art to Fish Creek. Several residents identified with aspects of the film and it lead to a good discussion. I expect even more participation when she brings another three shorts to Garrison Green Oct. 2.”
“Many of our attendees at the festival are in the 56 to 85 age range,” said Mitzi. “But ageism is a topic that spans the generations, so we are looking at ways to expand attendance to younger age groups. Ageism has become a hot button issue in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. so we’re starting to see a shift in awareness. Baby boomers, who are now entering their ‘third act’, have been agents of change in our society since they came of age. They are now experiencing ageism and they don’t like it. We want the festival to accelerate that change.”
United has several programs that cross the generations that specifically focus on ageism, including a student-in-resident program that brings university students into the United communities to live and work alongside the residents, programs that bring different cultures together, and programs that promote storytelling. Check out United’s videos on positive aging and creativity on our YouTube channel.
The THIRD ACTion Film Festival is heading into its third year. Mitzi hopes that one day they can take the festival on a cross-country tour to bring the message of positive aging to other cities in Canada.
Photos by THIRD ACTion Film Festival, Pixabay. Video by Sherana Productions.
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