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Why Choose Films with Memorable ART To Launch a Monthly Program

Updated: Jan 13


Just as we can become inspired by memorable music in film, we can become inspired by memorable art in film to launch a monthly "Whole Person, Whole World" program within elder communities or in the greater community. Film can be watched independently, but it is more interesting to view the films in a group, or at least discuss the films in a group/film club and/or participate in related activities after viewing the film.

Inspirational Films about Artists around the World Who Create Art in Their Later Life

The totally online 11th Annual Legacy Film Festival on Aging is offering, January 6 - 23, 2023, films about artists from different cultural backgrounds. Following are a few examples:

Haida Modern, Film about an Inigenous Elder Artist Who Created Spiritual and Political Art in the Pacific Northwest

Haida Modern is a documentary film that features conversations with Visual Artist Robert Davidson, along with commentary from art historians, politicians, musicians and family members detailing the importance and impact of Robert Davidson's work. Highlighted in these conversations is the story of how Davidson carved the first totem pole raised on the island of Haida Gwaii in over 100 years — a spiritual and political act credited with sparking a reawakening of Indigenous culture in the Pacific Northwest.

Film about a Toy Designer Who Is Still Designing Toys at 101

At 98, Eddy Goldfarb designed 800 toy. He is still creating toys and writing 100-word stories. Eddy's World is one of over 40 short and feature films to be shown at the Legacy Film Festival on Aging,, January 6 – 15, 2023 (since I serve on the Board, you're getting the inside scoop). Lyn Goldfarb the filmmaker, is as inspirational as her father, producing Documentaries, Series, and New Media into her 70s. Both father and daughter live in Southern California, but we can bring them into our private or community "living room" through distance.

Light Years Features an Artist Who Took Up Art in His Later Years

Paul Dillon didn't start to paint anything seriously until he was over 50. He always felt guilty about not using his talent. He's multi-talented; not just an artist, he's also a golf coach. Light Years, a third film about visual artists in the 2023 Legacy Film Festival on Aging, features two other active elders – a poet, who was also an actress, and a dancer, who is also a gardener.

Breaking Media Barriers through Armchair Travel to an Art Exhibition

Whether alone or with others, as an alternative to viewing art in films, we can view art exhibitions online, such as "Feel This Way," mounted on the Ruths Table website. The music accompanying the Exhibition, that we would hear if we visited the Exhibition on-site in San Francisco, is presented online as a playlist. Art with Elders also features films, slide shows and online exhibitions of elder artists and their works. Enjoy armchair travel to an Art Exhibition!

Launching a Monthly Program Based on Memorable Art

We can create monthly programs inspired by films and online exhibitions about artists the same way we can create monthly programs inspired by films with memorable music composed, sung, and played by inspirational musicians.

As mentioned at the distance- delivered Third Annual ActivitesStrong Winter Gathering, it is important to involve constituents (i.e., community members, staff, family, friends, volunteers) in program planning and follow-up activities. Below are a sampling of ways to create programming with others inspired by films and online exhibitions about artists. All the films mentioned in this post will be featured in the January 6-22, 2023 Legacy Film Festival on Aging.

  • Schedule a film showing with art, as well as music, such as Fiddler's Journey To the Big Screen. Marc Chagall, a French painter, inspired the title "Fiddler on the Roof." Chagall's painting also inspired the fiddler's music in the original film, Fiddler on the Roof.

  • Share photos or books about the artist's work mentioned in the film, such as Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color. You can find her artwork by conducting an Internet search for "Miss Alma Thomas Images."

  • Conduct a follow-up discussion of the meaning of the art in the film (such as the totem pole that Robert Davidson designed in Haida Modern), and what emotions/stories come to mind of participants.

  • Give participants an opportunity to create their own artwork, inspired by the artwork in the film (i.e., create their own totem pole or a group totem pole after viewing Haida Modern); design a toy or write their own 100-word story about their favorite toy from childhood after viewing Eddy's World.

  • Share participants' artwork. Invite intergenerational volunteers, including students and family members, to participate in an art exhibition, on-site or through distance.

  • Create a video of a group art project or other multi-sensory ways they express themselves after viewing a film about an artist. Post video on a (restricted or unrestricted, as appropriate) social media platform.

  • After viewing a film, provide opportunities for viewers to follow up by describing how they identify with the main character in the film. For example, after viewing Eddy's World, viewers can share how they express themselves creatively or how they share their talents. A group display of participants' talents could be featured in a monthly event.

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