Kennewick seniors produce video to dispel aging myths

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Five-minute short nominated for retirement center’s national award

Joyce Green dreamed of pursuing acting as a teenager.

She worked at a theater in the ’40s and loved “the very dramatic war stories.”

She tried out for a play, and at her high school teacher’s encouragement, auditioned for the lead — and landed it.

Her talent earned her a scholarship to study drama in Oregon, but her parents refused to let her to go.

“It broke my heart and I had nothing to do with drama for all these years —until now,” said Green, who is 89 years old.

“So, my dream has come true. I got to be in a play — 70 or so years after the last one,” she said.

Ginger Vetrano, 86, left, and Joyce Green, 89, helped produce a five-minute video for Brookdale’s inaugural Celebrate Aging Film Festival. 
Ginger Vetrano, 86, left, and Joyce Green, 89, helped produce a five-minute video for Brookdale’s inaugural Celebrate Aging Film Festival.

Green and several other Brookdale Canyon Lakes residents from her Kennewick senior living community produced a five-minute video called “Hope” as part of Brookdale’s inaugural Celebrate Aging Film Festival.

Seventy-four videos were submitted for the national contest. Judges narrowed the field to nine finalists in the best picture, best writing, best acting and best technical design categories.

“Hope” earned a nomination for best acting.

That’s thanks to Green’s leading role in the skit, though she’s quick to shrug off the limelight to share it with her fellow seniors. About 14 residents spent a month on the project.

“I think the crew did a fantastic job. It was a fantastic accomplishment to write and produce a five-minute play,” she said.

The Kennewick community’s film is the only West Coast competitor to make it to the final round, said Joe Green, resident programs coordinator for Brookdale Canyon Lakes. He is no relation to Joyce Green.

“I do feel we have superb acting compared to the other finalists. They are top-notch,” Joe Green said.

Created to help change the perception of aging and to communicate a positive, uplifting or touching message that celebrates it, the video festival was an opportunity for Brookdale residents and employees across the country to work together on a creative project using iPads.

The finalists also are eligible for the Ecolab’s People Choice Award, an online public voting contest.

One film also will receive the Courage Award, a category to highlight the film that tells the story of older adults living life to the fullest in the face of significant challenges.

The Kennewick seniors wrote their own script and Joe Green filmed and edited most of it.

“Our residents and associates really enjoyed putting together this film,” said Charlotte King, executive director of Brookdale Canyon Lakes. “Age has no barrier on creativity and this process really showcased that. Our filmmakers are excited to be nominated as a finalist.”

Winners in the contest will be selected by a panel of judges at the festival’s award presentation at the Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee, near Nashville, on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Ginger Vetrano, 86, a Brookdale Canyon Lakes resident, who also took part in the film, and Joe Green will attend the red carpet and black tie affair in hopes of coming home with one of the awards.

But even if they don’t win, they’re still thankful for the experience.

“Doing this put us outside our comfort zone,” Vetrano said.

“I hope it encourages others to participate next year,” Joyce Green added.

Brookdale operates independent living, assisted living, and dementia-care communities and continuing care retirement centers, with about 1,039 communities in 46 states and the ability to serve about 102,000 residents. Through its ancillary services program, the company also offers a range of outpatient therapy, home health and hospice services.

To vote for the Brookdale Canyon Lakes video in the people’s choice award, visit https://visit.brookdale.com/peoples-choice-awards/ and select “Brookdale Canyon Lakes.” Online voting ends Oct. 2.

Kristina Lord

Kristina Lord

Kristina Lord has more than 21 years of journalism experience and has been editor of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times since July 2016. She spent more than 17 years at the Tri-City Herald and also worked at weekly newspapers in Prosser, Grandview and Yelm. She’s a longtime member of the Society of Professional Journalists’ William O. Douglas chapter and a board member of Warrior Sisterhood, a Tri-Cities Cancer Center support group. She and her husband have two young daughters and they live in West Richland.

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