Senior Cinema Circle Calls for More Films for Older Audiences

Image for Senior Cinema Circle Calls for More Films for Older Audiences

by Phyllis Kennemer

Which significant group of potential movie goers continues to be ignored and overlooked by Hollywood film producers? Senior Citizens! James Twyman believes that older people have been consistently disregarded as a film audience and that it is time to do something about it. Twyman, a best-selling author and successful movie producer, is well known for The Moses Code in both print and film formats. He is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen other books and has created six inspiring films. (www.jamestwymann.com)

Known to many as the Peace Troubadour, Twyman founded the Senior Cinema Circle which is dedicated to the production of films with appeal to seniors. The organization is leading an effort to revolutionize the film industry. Its mission is to mobilize Hollywood to create films that appeal to older people. As part of this effort, Twyman has a goal of gathering a million signatures supporting the production of more senior-friendly films. Everyone over 50 years of age is invited to complete a short survey and sign electronically at the Senior Cinema Circle website: www.seniorcinema.com.

Twyman reports that signatures are coming in to the website at a steady pace and that he anticipates the number will reach a critical mass and then move quickly to the anticipated million. When this happens, he will call a press conference in Hollywood to publicize the extent of the potential audience and the vital need for movies with appeal to seniors. He will then forward these signatures to film producers with emphasis on the financial advantages of making such movies. He cites studies that support his theory that seniors are more likely to view films in theaters than younger people are — if they can find movies of interest to them. Seniors want movies that address their concerns, that are uplifting, and that feature seniors in leading roles. He cites the popularity of the 2012 movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as an example. This film, a British import, features seniors from England moving to a retirement facility in India.

Twyman claims that Hollywood is overlooking a source of financial gold and customer loyalty. Consider these facts:

• The senior age group is now, for the first time, the largest in terms of size and percentage of population in the United States.

• There are an estimated 76 million “Baby Boomers” in the U.S. and approximately 43 million people over the age of 65.

• Almost 8 million adults over the age of 50 saw a film once a month or more in 2012, up from the 6.2 million in 2011.

• Boomers and Seniors have four times more disposable income than their younger counterparts.

• Seniors support films that resonate with them — The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel did $46 million business in the U.S. and brought in $90 million globally.

The Senior Cinema Circle organization has produced its first film, Redwood Highway, which will be released in April 2014. Twyman is sure that seniors will love this movie because it has a universal theme about healing and being courageous. Now that the movie has been made, his big concern is getting it out to the intended audiences. Because of the limited mobility of many seniors, the Senior Cinema Circle is sponsoring free screenings of Redwood Highway in more than 6,000 senior communities across the United States during the week prior to the film’s debut in theaters. Twyman expresses confidence that this story will resonate with seniors. He would not say very much about the plot — not wanting to provide any story spoilers. His brief summary of the film explains that a 75 year-old woman who has not seen the ocean in 45 years decides to walk the entire 80 mile Redwood Highway to attend her granddaughter’s wedding. In order to do that she must confront demons from her past. Marie, played by Shirley Knight, encounters people along the way who help heal her heart, including Pete, a kind woodcutter played by Tom Skerritt.

When asked about the AARP’s annual list of Movies for Grownups, Twyman expressed appreciation for their recognition of the need for appropriate films for seniors, but emphasized that while those lists provide titles which may be of interest to seniors, they do not reflect many films made specifically for this audience because very few are available.

The time has come for seniors to be taken seriously by the movie industry. Obtaining one million signatures is a starting point. The Senior Cinema Circle campaign represents an energy that has not been tapped into before. Seniors will be heard and the quality and quantity of films produced specifically for them will increase.

Dr. Phyllis K. Kennemer is a Certified NLP Life Coach, a Certified Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator, and an Educational Consultant. She can be contacted at <pkkbooks@comcast.net>.