Bill Whipple and A Swann in the lobby of the Revera Aspen Ridge Retirement Residence in Red Deer Thursday afternoon. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Young central Albertans team up with seniors for film project

Bill Whipple never expected to be in a film.

But thanks to a creative filming project, the resident of the Aspen Ridge Retirement Residence in Red Deer can now see himself on the screen.

“When you get to my age, anything that comes along that’s exciting, you take it,” said Whipple.

The program, called The Revera and Reel Youth Age is More Film Project, has several young central Albertans create short documentaries about the lives of some of the retirement home’s residents.

A gala event was held at the residence Thursday, where the videos were screened for the first time.

“It was fun. They ask you a whole series of questions, which are predetermined, of course. Then you tell them what happened, and stories lead to longer stories. Next thing you know, you’ve woven a bit of a tale,” said Whipple.

One of the young participants, who is named A Swann, said they are passionate about filmmaking.

“I was introduced to the program when my mother told me about it. It was something I wanted to do because I love learning film,” said Swann.

“We got to shoot a film about residents here. We talked about their stories, and when we weren’t filming, we were learning about how to use the cameras, rule of thirds and other cool stuff.”

Filmmaking wasn’t the only thing Swann learned about during the program.

“We started with having a conversation with (the residents), which wasn’t filmed. We got to know them, we shared lunch together and we just talked about each other. They had more to talk about because they had more wisdom and experience than 18-year-old me,” said Swann.

“It was so cool to hear their stories, what they’ve done and what they’ve accomplished in life. It gives you insight into what’s coming.”

Program facilitator Mutya Macatumpag said the film project helps bring generations together.

“It creates this intergenerational opportunity for youth and older people,” said Macatumpag.

“Our time together is really about building community, getting to know one another and creating a culture where people feel the same.

“It shows that building community and building cultures of inclusivity are useful. It allows for generations to build a bridge over gaps of disconnect, which I think happens a lot between generations.”

There are typically four The Revera and Reel Youth Age is More Film Project events across Canada each year.

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