The NoHo Senior Arts Colony http://www.nohoseniorartscolony.com/, a community of apartments for 62+ adults who have a passion for the arts, will host the first-ever screening of the documentary “Still Dreaming” on July 29 at 7 pm in the community’s 78-seat theater. The screening, which is free to the public, is a heartwarming documentary which follows a group of entertainment retirees as they cast, rehearse, and perform a production of Shakespeare’s timeless classic, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The film takes an open look at how growing older can be a time of inspiration and exploration as opposed to isolation, and will inspire viewers to go after their dreams. Directed by Jilann Spitzmiller and Hank Rogerson, “Still Dreaming” is designed to make you smile.
The two directors chose to have their film screened at the NoHo Senior Arts Colony as the artistic community of mature adults aligns well with the message of “Still Dreaming.” John Huskey, President of Meta Housing Corporation (the senior developer of the community) feels that the film will hit close to home to the various actors, artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, and art lovers of Los Angeles.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with director Hank Rogerson, one of the co-directors of “Still Dreaming.” Prior to co-directing this film, Rogerson had directed the documentaries Shakespeare Behind Bars and Homeland. He had quite a lot to say about the making of his touching new film:
1.) What inspired you to make “Still Dreaming?”
Being an artist in my mid 40’s, I was curious about what it would be like to be elderly and creative—would it be possible, what would the challenges be and so forth. Of course it’s all relative to one’s health, but it was the larger question of how much would being creative give to an individual and a community. When I came across the Actors Home in Englewood, NJ, a home for retired entertainers of stage and screen, it seemed like the place to find some answers about engaging seniors in a creative endeavor.
2.) The film obviously deals with the way that Americans deal with aging. Americans seem to have quite a bit of difficulty with aging when compared to other cultures. Do you have any opinions on why this is?
The film portrays the benefits of seeing old age as a time of engagement and possibility, rather than a time of isolation and loneliness. Engagement and possibility, this seems like a pretty simple and vital way of how a society should treat its elders, but for some reason our culture by and large doesn’t want to adopt this way of thinking. There’s got to be many reasons for this, one of the biggest being that we are a youth oriented culture, and we are youth centric to the point that old people don’t matter, or they are a burden. Yet just think of all the wisdom that is wasted by being this way.
3.) Can you tell us a bit about the NoHo Senior Arts Colony?
I have never been to the NoHo Senior arts Colony, but it had me at ‘hello’. Their philosophy is right in line with the film’s themes. It was really EngAGE and Tim Carpenter that lead me to NoHo. I am just really excited to have the opportunity to screen the film in partnership with these two wonderful organizations.
4.) You also directed the documentaries “Shakespeare Behind Bars” and “Homeland.” Can you tell us a bit about those two films?
Like ‘Still Dreaming”, both “Homeland” and “Shakespeare Behind Bars” came from a sense of curiosity. Projects tend to tap me and my filmmaking partner, Jilann Spitzmiller, on the shoulder. We don’t always listen, but to these three ideas we did!
5.) What was your favorite thing that happened to you when filming “Still Dreaming?“
-The film follows the senior acting troupe at the Actors Home as they rehearse and perform Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The woman playing Puck, Charlotte Fairchild, was a singer and dancer on Broadway in original productions of Damn Yankees, 42nd Street and Mame. One day in rehearsal, she breaks into song as Puck, using her still extraordinary singing skills to give an entirely original version of the character. We all had goose bumps and it turned out to be a great moment in the film.
For more information on the screening of “Still Dreaming” and to reserve tickets, please call the NoHo Senior Arts Community at 866-255-1124.