do not go gently -- the power of imagination in aging

 

Principal photography on Do Not Go Gently began in December of 1995 with an interview of 103-year-old Leo Ornstein. The tape gathered dust under a desk for six years. Beside it lay an unanswered question.

In 1992 Eileen Littig and Melissa Godoy co-produced a documentary about elder abuse called I Grow Old. Interesting to work on, the process of interviewing people with early stage Alzheimer’s probably was the most compelling. Something about the way the subjects told stories seemed as if they were reaching out through the fog. The choosing of words, the stringing together of images, the ability to interact in the moment. As they shed their inhibitions, something interesting seemed to emerge.

February 2002: Ornstein was still humming in his bed at the Santa Maria Nursing Home. Godoy and HD cinematographer Mike Bizzarri drove to Green Bay, Wisconsin in a snowstorm to attempt to rub elbows with this creative soul at 109. Ornstein died two weeks later, but he left a legacy (and piles of manuscripts) that may take decades to fully appreciate.

Frederic Franklin, Arlonzia Pettway, Dr. Cohen, and the remarkable team at Arts for the Aging were all travelers on the road toward that question: What role does creativity play in the process of aging? How important is imagination to the experience of being human? What are the most inventive artists expressing at very old age? And why?

 

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A NEWIST/CESA 7 PRODUCTION FUNDED BY THE FOLEY FAMILY FOUNDATION, ELIZABETH B. & PHILIP J. HENDRICKSON FOUNDATION LTD., HELEN BADER FOUNDATION, IRENE D. KRESS, JOSEPH AND SARAH VAN DRISSE CHARITABLE TRUST, NORTHEASTERN WISCONSIN ARTS COUNCIL, CITY OF CINCINNATI, AND NANCY ARMBRUST

Official Selection Mendocino Film Festival 2007Official Selection Memphis International Film Festival 2007Official Selection Indianapolis International Film Festival 2007official Selection Wisconsin Film Festival 2007

© 2007 NEWIST/CESA 7. All rights reserved.