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IRC Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2015
By: IRC Blog

Filmmaker follows seniors looking for love

blog-ageoflove.jpgIs it ever too late to date?

Thirty seniors 70 to 90 years old who signed up for a speed-dating event in Rochester, N.Y., put their hearts on the line to find the companionship and affection they were missing in their lives. Filmmaker Steven Loring followed their funny and poignant adventures as they prepared for the event, mingled and found that, yes, it’s still possible to feel that spark, no matter how old you are.

The result is an acclaimed documentary, “The Age of Love,” that’s being screened throughout the country in February.

In our youth-obsessed culture, seniors are rarely portrayed in the media as people who have emotional lives, and the topic of intimacy among older folks is almost too taboo to talk about.

Loring became interested in the subject after his father passed away. He watched his mother cope with the loss of her partner of half a century. The same year, his 78-year-old uncle, who’d never even dated, fell madly in love and started acting like a smitten kid.

Searching for an understanding of what his mom and uncle were going through, Loring found few instances of older people speaking openly about their emotional lives.

“There is so much going on with the needs and desires of that age group that most people don’t realize,” Loring said. “I started looking for a way to bring this to life so it wasn’t just inspiring for older people.”

Loring, a screenwriter who had grown tired of the Hollywood scene, had decided to go to film school to study documentary making and needed to find a topic for his graduate thesis.

When he heard about senior speed dating in Rochester, he found the way to frame his inquiry. He obtained exclusive rights to film the event, for which 30 people had signed up. He first had to get their permission to be filmed.

“I thought that would be difficult, but I got on the phone with the first woman on the list,” Loring said. “She stopped me at one point and said, ‘my children take care of me, but even my own children don’t ask me what’s in my heart anymore. I have a lot to tell you, and I would be really happy to be involved.’ ”

One by one, the others signed their releases. Loring was amazed at how accessible and willing they were to open up about their emotional and romantic lives.

“It’s a generation that feels really invisible in terms of their needs,” he learned as they invited him into their homes to share their most intimate feelings.

One woman had been married to an abusive husband. Another had never married. One of the men wondered if his need to use an oxygen tank would hinder his search for love.

As he watched the participants prepare for the event, “you could just see them becoming teenagers all over again,” he said. “They were excited and worried about whether they looked good enough.”

While making the film, Loring learned that there is a large generation of people 75 to 100 years old who are active and want to continue to grow.

“The world has never experienced that before,” he said. “It’s a challenge to define those people—a challenge for them too. They even stereotype themselves, according to what they know about their parents and grandparents. There isn’t really a social venue to explore that.”

And yet, he said, the desire to be seen and heard and understood by another human being is just as strong in later years as at any other point in life.

Loring hopes the film will be a catalyst for starting a discussion about aging and love. As part of the launch of the film this month, the producers are encouraging speed-dating events for seniors across the country.

“We want to not just talk about it but actually make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

You can view a trailer of the film and find out more about “The Age of Love” by visiting theageoflovemovie.com.



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