What is it like to be in your later years of life and yet still long for romantic love, companionship and affection? Film maker Steven Loring of Brooklyn, N.Y., made it his personal journey to find out. When his father passed away, his elderly mother was left a widow. That same year, a 78-year-old uncle, who had never dated, fell in love for the first time.
What started out as curiosity turned into a speed dating event held for 70- to 90-year-olds in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. He got permission to film the event and followed 10 of the participants who shared their stories and feelings. The result became a documentary, The Age of Love; a poignant look at the ultimate desires of older adults.
All the way accross the continent, UBC Okanagan Associate Professor, Mary Ann Murphy, caught wind of the project via radio airwaves. With the help of a UBC librarian, she contacted Loring and discovered the film had not yet been released.
“What first attracted me to the film was that the subject dealt with an aspect of love and romance popularly considered the exclusive domain of younger persons,” says Murphy. “The average internet dater is only 33, and my initial instinct was that Loring had broken new territory in examining speed dating for seniors ages 70-90.”
“Ageist attitudes, powerful social norms, and our own stereotypes limit common thinking about love and romance to generally include the young and middle-aged. I knew Loring’s film addressed an unchartered aspect of ageism that was both innovative and novel,” adds Murphy.
After Murphy watched a screening of the film, she was more convinced of its importance as a social statement.
In partnership with Loring, Murphy developed a research proposal - the only formal, ethics board-approved work undertaken on this film - and organized bringing the documentary and the director to various Okanagan venues during the week of March 7-13, 2016.
Murphy's research welcomes audiences to express their valued opinions about age, aging, ageism and love and romance for people of all ages.
Following the 78-minute documentary, the mixed-aged audience will be invited to voluntarily join smaller focus groups to discuss the film.
Interior Savings Credit Union is the presenting sponsor. Screenings will launch on Monday, March 7 at the Kelowna Art Gallery, hosted by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce in honor of International Women’s Day. Find out more about this special screening.