White Rock student film project helps youth fight ageism
Reel Youth is setting its sights on ageism through a film project participants say will shine a light on the value of seniors with the help of Whitecliff Retirement Residence in White Rock. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
Opal Mclean says seniors get a bad rap in society.
So, the 16-year-old aimed to help seniors shake the stereotype of being grumpy fuddy-duddies and show them in a more personal light.
McLean and other teens did that through a film project shot in White Rock at the Whitecliff Retirement Residence, interviewing residents about their lives.
“(We wanted) to show that they are people and break the stereotype of how media presents old people and what people think of old people,” Mclean said. “We just tried to show that and make them shine through our films.”
Mclean said the project opened her eyes to challenges faced by seniors.
The finished films were screened at the retirement residence Friday night and uploaded to YouTube Tuesday.
“We showed the films, it turned out really well and everybody loved them,” said Mclean.
The project is part of an effort to highlight ageism by Reel Youth, a charitable project started in British Columbia, said director Mark Vonesch.
Reel Youth brings attention to issues they care about through films made by young people, many of whom have never made films before.
“We make about 100 films a year,” said Vonesch. “We show up in communities with facilitators and multiple set of equipment and we ask young people, ‘What issues do you care about?’ And we support them in making a film about it.”
He said the organization is now making a documentary about the project to be released next year, but for Mclean the more immediate impact of the project is important.
“It showed me that those stereotypes aren’t true and ageism is a real thing we need to work on.”
The films can be viewed at ageismore.com.