Feeling Young At Heart This Holiday Season

Posted on December 30, 2009

As a gift to our audiences, Community Cinema presented the heart-warming and inspiring hit documentary YOUNG@HEART this December. Many of our events -- more than 42 nationwide -- included live performances. Exceptional seniors shared their talents and personal stories of courage, persistence, and triumph in the face of adversity. If you are lucky enough to live in Denver, you have one more chance to attend a free Community Cinema event tonight at the Starz Film Center. 

A few more events occur in January. Our national partners create unique ways for audiences to learn more about the link between creativity, culture, and aging. The mission of the National Center for Creative Aging is to foster an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging and to developing programs that build on this understanding. Learn more about their public awareness campaign “The Art of Aging: Creativity Matters” and the center’s free online resource guide “Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit.”

Local partners connect our audiences with "on the ground" resources to turn the passion they experience during the film into action in their community. Audience members have said after an event, “I’m going to look for a local choir for my husband!” and “Made me want to join a chorus even if I can’t sing.” Our partners included such distinguished and esteemed partners as the Jazz Institute of Chicago, WTTW Channel 11, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (BMAC), KETC, the Missouri History Museum, the SIFF Cinema at Seattle Center, the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Office of Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, and Project:Involve. Project:Involve’s mission is to foster diversity in the film industry and to promote independent film making. Our events included many super seniors who keep young at heart by performing their talents into their 70's, 80's, 90's, and beyond. Watch videos and see photos from our events.

In Chicago, jazz legends Fred Anderson, Mwata Bowden, and Willie Pickens who have all known each other for years spoke following the film. Mwata and Willie have made regular appearances and Fred’s famous club, The Velvet Lounge. Pianist Willie Pickens explained that constantly exploring such a vast art form keeps one young at heart.


At our free event at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center we had the great pleasure of welcoming Bob Cilman, director of the Young@Heart chorus, and two members of the chorus, Steve Martin and Jeanne Hatch. Despite the worst weather forecast of the winter, about 35-40 audience members showed up for the event, which included a pre-screening meet-and-greet and a post-screening Q&A session. Bob and the chorus members were, in fact, the first to arrive -- the trip up to Brattleboro from Northampton, Mass. being much shorter than they had anticipated. All the guests and the hearty and courageous audience members enjoyed mingling and talking about the film.

The Seattle Raging Grannies opened the show in Seattle with a few humorous ditties they've written about the issues of today. The Grannies say on their web site, "In the tradition of wise women elders, the mission of the Seattle Raging Grannies is to promote global peace, justice, and social and economic equality by raising public awareness through the medium of song and humor." The audience in the crowded theatre applauded after each of the Grannies' numbers. Though they rarely all perform together, the Grannies chorus has over 20 members throughout the area. They told us, "We sing out to gain respect for all persons and encourage everyone to grow above their prejudices." Please enjoy a clip from the Seattle Raging Grannies performance ripped from the headlines.


At the historic Warner Grand Theatre in the Los Angeles area, 15 amazing seniors wowed the crowd at a pre-film talent show. The show ended with a very inspiring senior, Gloria Lockhart - 63 years young - who has the distinct honor of being one of the first African American women to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She is currently the President and CEO of Toberman Neighborhood Center, where she works to assist over 18,000 people to move from poverty to self-sufficiency. 

A once aspiring Olympic runner, Gloria went on to compete in master track meets for the older American; and now kickboxes as a way to relieve stress. She was joined on stage by her 43 year old coach Michele. During over 42 events throughout December, thousands of guests attended free Community Cinema events featuring the inspiring hit documentary YOUNG@HEART and featured dozens of senior citizens across the country who refuse to let their advancing age limit their increasing talent. We hope to have inspired more people young and old to join choruses in their communities and share their messages and passions through song. DC area Community Cinema Regional Outreach Coordinator Michon Boston recently appeared on D.C.'s WUSA channel 9 to explain how Community Cinema works and to promote a few of her upcoming events.


Have you seen a preview video of the film? Here's your chance! It airs nationally on PBS on Tuesday, January 12th at 9 PM (check local listings).



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