Guest Post by Rosemary Rodriguez
There’s an abundance of turmoil, fear, anger, and hatred expressed through images that come at us 24/7 through social media, TV, and movies. As a society, we are more visual than ever, and we have more choices of entertainment than ever in our history. As a director, it’s crucial for me to listen to my heart because in the end, that’s where my stories live. And my life revolves around telling them.
My newest film, “Silver Skies
,” was inspired by my parents. They adopted me when my mother was 42 years old, so I was very young watching them get older. I saw their struggles firsthand, and watched them become invisible to the world around them. I saw how their relationships with work, their friends, their family, and each other changed as they aged. The most important thing to them was staying independent, financially and physically. When these declined, it hit them hard.
When we are young, we make decisions that will affect the rest of our lives. My hope is that watching “Silver Skies
” will make people of all ages think about their own lives, their own goals, and their own dreams. I want them to look at the people around them differently, and to think about their decisions more carefully — to consider how the choices they make now will affect them in the long-term.My first movie
, “Acts of Worship
,” was about homeless drug addicts, who, like older people, are dismissed in our society. I love giving characters that are marginalized a voice. Seniors and drug addicts are in that category: Easy to pass on the street, or walk around them quickly because they’re just in the way.
Today, more than ever, it’s crucial to tell stories about people different than we are, yet have the same struggles and desires. Movies have that power. They bring empathy, compassion, insight, and a commonality that we may not experience otherwise.
Movies help us get inside another person’s life and connect to their humanity. Powerful movies live in our imagination forever.
The real challenge with independent movies today isn’t making them; it’s getting them seen. Distribution costs are massive. Marketing money has to be in every budget before shooting. It’s not a luxury; it’s crucial. Making noise to cut through all the other TV and movie options out there is daunting, to say the least. This has been my biggest obstacle with “Silver Skies
.” Yes, there are more ways to show a movie. Yes, millions of people have access to a movie. But how will they find it? That’s what keeps me up at night.
What I hear repeated a lot is that a movie has to be a “movement not just a movie.” Frankly, I’m not even sure what that means. All I know is that when I sit in a dark theater with an audience watching “Silver Skies
,” they take the ride with some amazing senior actors: George Hamilton
, Barbara Bain
, Jack McGee
, Mariette Hartley
, Jack Betts
, Alex Rocco
, and Valerie Perrine
. At some point, they stop seeing the actors and begin to see themselves and their lives on screen. That’s what they tell me. They thank me for showing that seniors are not stereotypes like the grouchy grandparent or the butt of a joke. Seniors have sexual lives; they fall in love; they fight; they work at jobs with crazy bosses; they get jolted by injustice; they worry about finances. They deal with the same issues that we all do. The audiences laughs and they cry. When I’m fortunate enough to experience my movie alongside them, my heart is full like nothing else matters in the world. Then I start thinking about my next movie…..
” will begin streaming April 4 on Amazon and iTunes.Rosemary Rodriguez
wrote and directed the Sundance feature film “Acts of Worship
,” which was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Her episodic TV work includes “Jessica Jones
,” “The Good Wife
,” and “The Walking Dead
.” Rodriguez is currently directing a documentary about renowned graffiti writer Lee Quinones
, and her next dramatic feature will be “Loose Girl
,” based on the memoir by Kerry Cohen
. She hosts “The Director’s Chair,” a podcast on iTunes.
Guest Post: What Inspired Me to Make a Film About Retirees was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.