Council on Aging releases documentary about lesbian and gay elders

It's a collaboration with Sunday’s Child, Stamped Film Fest, and Appleyard Agency

Special to Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK

PENSACOLA — In recent years, the lives and rights of the LGBT+ population have received the positive attention they have always deserved.

Their stories are told, their challenges represented, and their triumphs celebrated. One subset of that population remains in the shadows, however - until now.

Richard Rheaume is pictured in the documentary "Someone Waits for Me." The Council on Aging of Northwest Florida will have a screening of the documentary which features its interviews with older lesbian and gay adults about their experiences living in a conservative part of the country and coming of age when these lifestyles were stigmatized.

Council on Aging of West Florida, with funding from Sunday’s Child, has spent the past year interviewing older lesbian and gay adults about their experiences living in a conservative part of the country and coming of age when these lifestyles were stigmatized.

Now, with help from Appleyard Agency and Stamped Film Fest, the agency is releasing a documentary about these experiences. The release will be preceded by a VIP reception 5:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at Pensacola Little Theatre, 400 S Jefferson St., Pensacola.

"Someone Waits for Me" will screen immediately afterward at 7 p.m. Following the festival is a panel discussion with cast and crew.

“Most often, the LGBT+ community is represented by its youngest members,” said Josh Newby, director of the film and marketing director at Council on Aging. “It’s the young folks who march, who raise their voices, who demand their equality. As a result, the elder who has been homebound for years, who feels lonely and forgotten, who still feels that stigma, goes unheard. We’re telling their story, the good and the bad.”

The short-form documentary, which features both interviews and fantastical sequences bringing the subjects’ lives and feelings to life, features five different lesbian and gay seniors, all living in Northwest Florida.

Some are in a relationship, others are not. Some have had a relatively good experience with their sexuality, while others still feel judged and secretive.

“Stamped Film Festival is excited to host the premiere screening of 'Someone Waits for Me,' which highlights local film production talent, storytelling, and queer lives,” said David Newton, board president for Stamped. “The Council on Aging, together with the Appleyard Agency, has produced a film that sheds light on an often forgotten group of individuals: LGBTQ seniors. We look forward to helping share and celebrate their stories and perspectives.”

Appleyard Agency produced the film under contract from Council on Aging, and took care to bring the highest levels of professionalism, cinematography and story-telling to the process.

“As long-time supporters of Council on Aging’s mission, it was a joy to partner with them and Sunday’s Child on a meaningful film that brings more awareness to the experiences of LGBT+ seniors in our community,” said Dick Appleyard, president of Appleyard Agency. “We are very excited to offer our abilities in film production to amplify these stories and hope audiences will leave the theater with a renewed sense of compassion for our aging neighbors.”

The film will continue to play the documentary festival circuit and will be available online in its entirety at the end of that run.

Council on Aging thanks Sunday’s Child for their financial support of the project. The organization helped guide the initial direction of the film and believed in Council on Aging as the most appropriate outlet for this story.

“Our mission's focus is on equality and inclusion for all, especially those who identify as LGBTQ+, realizing that the senior population is often overlooked,” said Trudy King, president of Sunday’s Child. “We are excited to know that the premiere screening of 'Someone Waits for Me' will be hosted by our friends at Stamped Film Festival with help from the Appleyard Agency.”

View the trailer at https://youtu.be/ExgHQoNUuSM.