Working Films is proud to announce the documentary projects selected for Reel Aging: Real Change, an initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  These eleven compelling documentary films and transmedia projects explore aging from varied perspectives and will be tied to the ongoing policy work and grassroots campaigns supporting older populations.

The collaborative of Reel Aging projects was curated to include films that reflect the highest caliber of film-making, feature the most pressing issues facing older adults, and celebrate elders.

These projects tell inspiring stories of active, engaged elders who are changing our culture’s typical perception of aging as well as stories that powerfully illuminate the personal and societal decisions most of us will face as we care for ourselves and our loved ones. Equally important, Reel Aging includes films focused on justice for often marginalized populations that are aging.

Age of Champions (Director: Christopher Rufo) is the uplifting story of a group of athletes—a 100-year-old tennis champion, 86-year-old pole vaulter, octogenarian swimmers, and team of basketball grandmothers—all chasing gold at the National Senior Games.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (Director/Producer:  Grace Lee) tells the story a 96-year-old Chinese-American activist and philosopher inDetroit who has dedicated her life to creating the next American Revolution. What Grace means by revolution and her journey through a century’s worth of social movements tell an unexpected story of how one woman changed herself to change the world around her.

Coming of Age in Aging America (Director: Christine Herbes-Sommers) is a multi-platform project that explores a social transformation unfolding across our – and other modern – societies. America is an aging society, and it’s not just about old peopleThis phenomenon will change everything: how we approach education, work, health, housing, transportation, technology, medical care, and the economy.

Communities for All Ages (Director: Yoruba Richen)  is a work in progress that will document  five diverse communities where older adults, teens, and young parents identify and take action on issues affecting multiple generations such as health, safety, life-long learning  and immigrant integration.

The Genius of Marian (Director: Banker White) follows Pam White in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease as her son, the filmmaker, documents her struggles to hang on to a sense of self.

The Graying of AIDS – Stories from an Aging Epidemic (Director/Co-Producer: Katja Heinemann) is a multi-media, multi-platform documentary project and integrated educational campaign centered on a series of digital video portraits that draw attention to a startling fact: By 2015, half of all Americans living with HIV will be over the age of fifty.

Kings Point (Director/Producer: Sari Gilman) is a short documentary that portrays the complexities of life in a typical retirement community through the experiences of six of its residents, providing a bittersweet look at our ambivalent relationship with freedom, self-reliance, and community.

Old People Driving (Director/Producer: Shaleece Haas) is a short documentary film chronicling the adventures of 96-year-old Milton and 99-year-old Herbert as they confront the end of their driving years.

Parenting 102: The Sandwiched Generation Speaks Out (Director/Producer: Mary Katzke) explores issues common to families caught between caring for their elderly parents, their own younger children, and their careers.

Prison Terminal (Director/Producer: Edgar A. Barens) is a feature-length documentary that breaks through the walls of one of America’s oldest maximum security prisons to tell the story of the final months in the life of a terminally ill, elderly prisoner and the hospice volunteers—they themselves prisoners—who care for him. The film provides a fascinating and often poignant account of how the hospice experience can profoundly touch even the forsaken lives of the incarcerated.

Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary (Director: PJ Raval) traces a year in the lives of three LGBTQ seniors, and a lifetime of experiences, and confronts the realities of aging in the LGBTQ community.

Reel Aging: Real Change will begin with a four-day residency for these media makers to be held from March 23 – 26, 2012 near Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, March 27, the media makers will present their projects to regional, national and global NGOs, funders, government agencies, activists, and policy makers – all leaders in the field of aging who have a track record of supporting the rights, respect and health of elders. Together they will explore the ways in which the documentary film and new media projects can be used to protect and enhance the rights of older adults and advance personal and policy changes that will improve their and our lives.

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