THIRD ACTion Film Festival Promotes Positive Aging

United’s partnership with the THIRD ACTion Film Festival fits perfectly with United’s focus on eliminating ageism and promoting positive, creative aging. Residents were treated this week to a sneak peek at two films that are part of the festival.

The THIRD ACTion Film Festival in Calgary is to be held this year online October 23 to 25. It celebrates aging and older adults, with the goal of establishing a culture shift in the way we view older adults. Part of that work brought the two festival films into United’s two communities.

A photo from the film, "All the Time in the World"
A photo from the film, “All the Time in the World”
A photo from the film, "The Passage"
A photo from the film, “The Passage”

All the Time in the World  is a short Italian film that focuses on love and resiliency, and The Passage is an American film shot in Canada about a canoe trip up the Inside Passage on the West Coast that says it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. “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. The films in the festival aim to bring attention to that, but also speak to the positive aspects of aging,” said Mitzi Murray, executive director.

Mitzi Murray, executive director, THIRD ACTion Film Festival
Mitzi Murray, executive director, THIRD ACTion Film Festival

Mitzi noted that ageism is becoming better understood, but it’s a slow process. “The portrayal of older adults in our society is predominantly negative and leaves the impression that they aren’t important. We’re working with United and other older adult communities to change that.” Films at the festival cover a wide range of topics including dementia and caregiving, death and grieving, and positive aging themes.

“Like everyone else, we are adapting and finding a new way of doing everything,” said Mitzi. “We really appreciate the patience the residents had during the screenings on our new online software as we had some technical issues. We are looking forward to returning to show new films after the festival and of being issue-free on the tech end.”

United’s residents at the film screening were impressed with the two films. “I really enjoyed both films,” said Yvonne Ackerman. “The Italian film was a love story about two people with dementia. It was very well done. The second film reminded me of a trip I made with a friend about three years ago to the Haida Gwaii, and we travelled up the Inside Passage. I felt the bonding between the young and old. The film reminded me of how beautiful our country is. It really tore at my heart when the film made a point of how important companionships are, and how a long journey gives us time to get to know each other and experience new things.”

“The power of storytelling is huge and can build empathy and bring about change,” said Mitzi. “We need people to see that the ‘third act’ of life is full of possibility and that adventures can happen at every stage in life.”

The online presentation included prerecorded introductions by the films’ producers and used a software program that allowed interaction between Mitzi and the residents that encouraged discussion around the topics presented in the films.

“Ageism is a topic that spans the generations. 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,” said Mitzi.

United’s programming encourages  creativity and often brings generations together. United has a unique student-in-resident program that brings university students into the United communities to live and work alongside the residents, and programs that promote storytelling. Check out United’s videos on positive aging and creativity on our YouTube channel.

Photos by THIRD ACTion Film Festival. Video by Sherana Productions.

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