In response to the rapidly increasing ageing population, four European countries, including the United Kingdom joined together to develop the European Cinema for Active Ageing or CINAGE. This project offers a new approach to learning for active ageing through the media of film.
Active ageing looks for ways to improve quality of life as people age: through healthy activities, getting involved in their community and feeling secure. Being actively engaged in activities is associated with reinforced memory function, decreased depression and increased life satisfaction.
Carole Clark, Ageing Well Officer at Leeds City Council talked to David Turner, UK CINAGE Project Co-ordinator from the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University, to find out about an exciting Conference and Film Festival taking place on 17 and 18 July to celebrate CINAGE.
So David, what is the festival about?
The festival, organised by the Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University will feature the series of short films created by teams of over-60s and marks the completion of the two-year CINAGE project, which has been funded from Europe’s lifelong learning programme, Grundtvig.
Which other countries are involved?
The project has brought together Leeds Beckett University with researchers in Portugal, Italy and Slovenia to explore the EU’s recommendations for healthy, active ageing and to see whether or not the needs and concerns of older people are reflected in contemporary cinema. The EU’s recommendations focus on optimising opportunities for physical, social and mental health to enable older people to take an active part in society without discrimination and to enjoy an independent and good quality of life
This all sounds really interesting, how did it get started?
Two years ago, focus groups of over-60s, in each of the four participating countries, watched a broad range of 12 European movies and discussed how they portrayed age and ageing, and how older people with real life problems were addressed through film. From these 12 they came up with a list of 6 films which they believe best illustrate active ageing. There were some interesting differences of opinion between the focus groups in the four countries. The United Kingdom tended to approve of films that they felt were honest and realistic about the problems of active ageing, whilst Slovenia and Portugal tended to support films that showed active ageing in a positive light.
The participants then went on to learned practical film making skills to enable them to produce their own films. Participants made 12 short films (three per country) illustrating situations and strategies to cope with active ageing, following their reflection and life experiences.
In the UK the participants, who were all from Leeds and surrounding areas, attended practical film making workshops at the Northern Film School using the latest technology available and working with students on the University’s Filmmaking degrees. The group premiered early versions of their work at the Bradford International City of Film Summit in March 2015.
So tell me more about the CINAGE conference and festival on 17 and 18t July?
On Friday 17 July, from 8-11pm at the Hyde Park Cinema, Mid-August Lunch will be shown as one of the project’s films which volunteers chose as best representing active ageing. Mid- August Lunch tells the story of a middle-aged man living in Rome with his imposing and demanding elderly mother. His only outlet from her and the increasing debt into which they are sinking, are the increasingly frequent quiet sessions at the local tavern until opportunity knocks in an unexpected way.
There are three events, 10am -1pm at the Leeds Everyman Cinema on Saturday 18 July where all 12 short films produced as part of the project will be screened; 2:00pm -5.30pm at the Carriage Works in Millennium Square, where a selection of new international short films which either address aspects of ageing, feature or were produced by older people will be shown; and from 7.30-10.30pm at the Hyde Park Cinema, there is a double bill – the short documentary Fabulous Fashionistas with a Q & A with the director and stars, followed by a screening of Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy.
And finally David, what happens next?
Subject to securing sufficient funding, we are planning to run a full course in European Cinema and active Ageing, including film-making, for older people in 2016, and hope that the film festival for active ageing will become a regular event supporting Leeds’ ambition to be the Best City to Grow Old in.
Thanks David for taking the time to tell me about the project.
Carole Clark, Ageing Well Officer, Leeds City Council
Leeds City Council are supporting this event by providing the Carriageworks for the afternoon screening of the short films.
You can find out more about the films and the festival on the CINAGE website .
Tickets are available to the general public for each event at http://bit.ly/cinagetickets and they are free. Or you can contact David Turner, Project Co-ordinator, The School of Film, Music and Performing Arts, Leeds Beckett University telephone 0113 8123330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.