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Arts & Culture

Age-Friendly Film Festival looks to seniors in shorts showcase

Consuelo.jpg
David Meza
A still of Consuelo in David Meza's film "Consuelo's Tech." She is one of the seniors highlighted in the Age-Friendly Film Festival.

Media Arts Center San Diego pairs emerging filmmakers with seniors.

Media Arts Center San Diego has partnered with AARP, The San Diego Foundation and the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Aging and Independence Services, to celebrate the completion of the Emerging Filmmaker Fellowship by hosting the first-ever Age-Friendly Film Festival.

This four-month fellowship provided participants with a cash stipend, filmmaker training, and mentorship to produce short films highlighting local efforts to build age-friendly communities where people of all ages can be healthy and thrive.

“The films produced by the Fellows give us a glimpse as to what age-friendly communities can look like; underscoring the radical potential for structural change and a future rooted in care and compassion for people of all ages,” MACSD director of education Cameron Quevedo stated in the press release.

"This is something that has been put together by Media Art Center, San Diego to showcase and really highlight stories of older adults in our community as well as to support emerging filmmakers who have created and produced these stories," said Katie Rast, San Diego Foundation director of community impact.

These stories are important because"by the year 2030, there will be over 1 million people living in San Diego over the age of 65," she said.

Age-Friendly Film Festival looks to seniors in shorts showcase
Listen to this story by Beth Accomando.

"Older adults make up an important, valuable part of our community and the Age-Friendly Film Festival is really a way to hear their stories," Rast said. "And we're interested in developing plans with our partners that envision a future that really considers the needs, the knowledge and the insights of the older adults in our region. And this is one way to capture that information and highlight those stories."

The films highlight programs for seniors and also reveal the challenges, such as social isolation, that seniors can face.

David Meza is one of the filmmakers who went through the fellowship program. His film is "Consuelo's Tech," which looks to a Latina senior who signed up for a South Bay program to learn how to use technology. The program strives to help reduce social isolation and loneliness among older adults by providing them with a younger partner who can help them learn technology.

Meza immediately took to Conseulo when he met her.

"She really is a person that's an extrovert like me. But at the same time, the language barrier was the thing that sometimes made her feel like she doesn't belong," he said. "And so really the thing was that I talked to her and she was really comfortable with me because we spoke the same language, but also from that, we're really people that like to talk with other people. But we sometimes don't know how to actually communicate or we're not really familiar with our second language, like English."

Rast appreciates how the festival paired young filmmakers with seniors.

"I think one of the interesting elements about the film festival is that it really is intergenerational," she said. "And certainly in the work that we do within the community with our partners, we recognize that an intergenerational approach is extremely important. When we have policies and practices within our communities. We know that what's good for one is good for many. And certainly, the more we support and the more our older adults within our communities have the supports that they need and are recognized and their voices are recognized. I should say the better off we all are."

The festival hopes to raise awareness of age-friendly programs and the importance of age-friendly communities. Filmmakers were encouraged to highlight how age-friendly work impacts low-income and underserved older adults and to use storytelling to bring issues to life.

The short documentaries will be screened at the Age-Friendly Film Festival at 4 p.m. Nov. 13 at Reading Cinemas Town Square, 4665 Clairemont Drive, and is free to the public.