Film conjures up past feelings for moviegoers

Jimmy Hall jhall@ptleader.com
Posted 8/28/18

Memories were conjured and experiences shared after a series of short films was shown before the eyes of those with dementia and their caregivers.

The Rose Theatre was packed with patrons for the …

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Film conjures up past feelings for moviegoers

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Memories were conjured and experiences shared after a series of short films was shown before the eyes of those with dementia and their caregivers.

The Rose Theatre was packed with patrons for the free quarterly event Aug. 21, “Meet Me at the Movies.” The venue played host for the third time, having joined the Frye Art Museum program just this year.

“I thought it was a great, worthwhile program, especially in our community and county,” said Rose Theatre Owner Rocky Friedman, adding Jefferson is one of the counties with the oldest demographics in the state.

Before opening The Rose, he had ambitions to make it a community theater. As part of that goal, “Meet Me at the Movies” fits in to what he had envisioned 26 years ago.

Friedman recounted how many of the patrons who participated expressed how the films brought out great memories for them.

“That says it all,”Friedman said. “That’s worthwhile and makes me want to continue doing it,” Friedman said.

As longtime friends with Mary Jane Knecht, manager of creative aging programs at the Frye Art Museum, Friedman invited the program with open arms.

“The program aims to create a fun, engaging, social experience,” Knecht said.

The program does this by showing clips that may be familiar or evoke an experience members of the audience might have had in the past. She said it is a quality-of-life experience. While moderating the program, they strive to bring respect and dignity to those who live with dementia. Friedman would set the scene, while Knecht would facilitate discussion between each film.

“The Port Townsend audience is very engaged in conversing about the films,” she said.

Each program looks to represent historical and contemporary times, either from documentaries or fictional narratives. The theme for this quarter was “People and Places of the Pacific Northwest.” The program began with “The Boys of ‘36,” which illustrated the University of Washington varsity crew boat team in the 1936 Summer Olympics. It was followed by a tribute to pioneer downhill skiers, made by an Orcas Island man, Warren Miller, prompting discussion about his work. The program continued with a clip of “A River Runs Through It,” depicting a man who reflected back on his life while fly-fishing in a spot he visited in his youth.

A section of 2014’s “Wild” was shown, showing a poignant moment between Reese Witherspoon’s character and other members of the film. The final portion showed “Rainier: The Mountain,” a documentary by Jean Walkinshaw about its titular geographic behemoth’s history and legends in celebration of its 100th anniversary of becoming a national park.

Launched in fall of 2014, the program expanded to the community for those with dementia and their caretakers to include Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and the Rose Theatre, having only hosted it at the Frye Art Museum and the King County Library. This is not Frye’s first foray hosting a program aimed with those with dementia, having provided “Here: Now” in 2010, which looks at, talks about and creates art. They also have programs such as “Alzheimer’s Cafe at the Frye,” “Bridges,” and a series of conferences, lectures and films to spread awareness of dementia awareness.

The next “Meet Me at the Movies” event at The Rose Theatre, with the theme of “Animals,” will take place Nov. 13.

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