From low-income senior centers to renowned universities, from an urban multiplex to the largest Jewish synagogue in South America, the film played to a wide, cultural cross-section of this economically and ethnically diverse city of over 12 million inhabitants.
The response, from each segment of a society in which life expectancy is rapidly growing – while programs addressing loneliness and connection for seniors are few – was intrigue and the demand for more opportunities and wider attention to the social and emotional growth of the country’s aging population.
Joining the conversation at our final screening at Unibes Cultural – a main hub of culture, creative entrepreneurship and social issues in São Paulo – was one of Brazil’s leading psychiatrists and sexologists Dr. Carmita Abdo, who answered questions from the full house of healthy aging professionals, together with psychologist and geriatric specialist Dr. Valmari Aranha, the publisher of Revista Aptare Lilian Liang, and the film’s director Steven Loring (many thanks for the simultaneous translation!).
In each of the 14 countries in which The Age of Love has screened, the call for more attention to the emotional needs of elders has resonated. Regardless of culture or race, religion or gender, we all experience the emotional losses that aging brings. It’s clearly time, as demographics rapidly shift and every society faces these issues, to reject stereotypes of aging, and to redefine our attitudes, policies and programs.
With thanks to the people of São Paulo! How exciting to watch the film resonate in your city and inspire a new understanding of the importance and endurance of love….
IT’S APRIL FOOLS’ DAY AND I FEEL A TAD FOOLISH, but I’ve signed up, so I’m going. I leave the house early to assure myself a good parking space near the entrance. When I get to the town parking lot in front of the movie theater, I’m lucky to find any space at all. Of course, I should have known, seniors are usually early. I’m happy for the senior center’s director, Linda Hayes, who organized this event. Perhaps there’ll be a fairly decent turnout, maybe even 30 or 40 people.
When I enter the theater, I’m floored. I do a rough count of those already seated as people keep pouring in. One hundred twenty I estimate. Maybe more. Most of those gray- and white-haired heads belong to women. Where are the men? Are they afraid to show up knowing they’re outnumbered? Or have they moved to apartments in Boston after losing their mates to divorce or death?
We’ve come to see “The Age of Love.” The movie shows non-actor seniors in their 70s and even 80s unafraid to reveal that no matter what their age, they desire companionship and relationships as much as do those many years younger. And these brave souls are up for taking part in an unrehearsed senior speed-dating event and doing it in front of cameras. Continue Reading
DOES THE NEED FOR INTIMACY—and our search for love—change as we age?
Posing this question to audiences worldwide, The Age of Love has touched a cultural nerve and spurred a social movement, bashing stereotypes and empowering single seniors to seek new companionship.
During our upcoming Valentine’s Screening Campaign, audiences from St. Pete to the Canadian Pacific will have a chance to see the film and, in many cities, take part in one of dozens of Senior Speed Dating events now being organized.
So check out our poster for a city near you, then find the dates and details on our Screenings page.
If you don’t see your city, fill out our Hosting Info form, and we’ll help your group bring it to a local theater, university or community center. Our goal is to spread the message—that our bodies may change, but what we feel doesn’t change at all—to everyone.
Wishing a new year of happy hearts to lovers of every age!
The audience of mostly young professionals and creatives was surprisingly emotional while witnessing this tale of our enduring search for love. And the Q&A brought up interesting questions. Here’s part of that conversation….
After an early festival screening of The Age of Love, a teenaged usher raised her hand and said, “I’ll never look at my grandmother the same way again!” For the first time, she saw older people not through the filter of age, but as people just like herself, struggling to connect, to be seen and understood by others.
And so, while The Age of Love entertains Boomers and empowers older adults, one major goal has been to screen the film for intergenerational audiences.
This summer, the principal of the East-West School for International Studies in Queens, NY, asked to schedule two screenings—one for 8th graders, the other for 11th graders—in conjunction with senior groups from nearby residences. The experience was eye-opening, to say the least.
One favorite comment came from a 13-year-old boy who stood up, looking stunned, and said, “I was shocked about this movie–these people, they had the same feelings as they had when they were young! You think people change emotionally in time, but it shows they still try to find someone. These people stayed the same and kept trying to find love!”
We look forward to partnering with more high schools and universities, to open eyes within the generations we truly need to reach.
FROM VIAGRA TO INTERNET DATING, CULTURAL SHIFTS AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN SENIOR SEXUALITY have increasingly come into focus in the media and scientific studies. Forget about Sex and the City, it’s the time of Sex and the Seniors.
In The Age of Love, in which filmmaker Steven Loring chronicles the frequently amusing, sometimes moving experiences of 10 elders, between the ages of 70 and 90 years old, who try out the first senior speed-dating event in Rochester, New York.
The spirited cast of characters ranges from the adventure-addicted Addie, who does everything from skydiving to dating tribal chiefs to backpacking through Southeast Asia, and Frank, a bodybuilding champion in the over-80s division, to Matt, who is self-conscious about lugging around an oxygen tank. Continue Reading
Over 150 ‘healthy aging’ professionals participated in our post-screening discussion—moderated with Maripat Gallas of COAW—on ways to utilize the film. Among the suggestions were:
• inter-generational programming and discussion
• university gerontology and social work seminars
• staff training for senior residential communities
• entertainment and empowerment for older audiences
• psychology, sexuality and family counseling for seniors
• secondary school curricula, to start changing younger generations’ attitudes on aging
We look forward to partnering with the many groups who asked to utilize TAOL to support the hearts and emotional needs of older adults nationwide.
THE AGE OF LOVE IS PROUD TO CELEBRATE ITS INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL PREMIERE at the 2015 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.
Screening at the Olympion Theatre in Thessaloniki’s historic Aristotelous Square on March 15, and in the John Cassavetes Theater on March 21, the film is presented in English with Greek subtitles.
This prestigious festival introduces and promotes the most important documentary productions worldwide and creates an international forum for the presentations and discussion of emerging media and information technologies.
JUST IN TIME FOR THE 87TH ACADEMY AWARDS, we relaunched our own “Aging With Attitude” awards to focus attention on films that offer a view of growing older too seldom seen on the big screen.
We nominated this year’s top “aging with attitude” films—dramas and documentaries whose themes, characters, subjects or stars best defy senior stereotypes.
Our readers voted overwhelmingly for “The Age of Love,” a wonderful piece of documentary storytelling that gets inside the lives of a group of real-life senior speed daters. Congratulations to filmmaker Steven Loring and also to the film’s subjects, who get the “Bravest Senior Daters” award! Read Senior Planet’s interview with Loring here. Continue Reading