REINVENTING THE GOLDEN YEARS
Reinventing The Golden Years, by Her Aim Is True director, Karen Whitehead
It is funny how things come full circle. Just over three years ago I took a huge leap of faith that making a film featuring a 92 year old who had pioneered rock and roll photography in the early 1960s would have universal appeal. More than once I was cautioned that I would find it hard to find industry funding (well, that proved correct) and now I am witnessing the community of support around my intriguing trip down memory lane with a relatively unknown nonagenarian as chief story teller grow daily. Maybe its somehow all connected to a positive change in general perception about what we value in the arts. Perhaps, we are getting better at recognising creativity and acknowledging hidden histories.
But I also think it is something else: In recent months, I have watched with close interest as audiences have packed cinemas to go see a now acclaimed film featuring two octogenarians contemplating love and dying (Amour) and the Oscar for best documentary in 2012 was just awarded to an extraordinary film about a reclusive and obscure musician from the late 1960s (Searching For Sugarman). Only a few days ago, my attention was captured again by a most unlikely scenario when the mega music fest that is SXSW in Austin, Texas included a 71 year old former defense industry executive taking the stage for the first time ever with his guitar, some 50 years since he made a record album!
It seems to me that since embarking on Her Aim Is True more and more stories are emerging that prove aging does not and should not put a stop to pursuing creativity and artistry. And as we face an increasing aging population, it is vital that audiences get to explore all of this – along with the good, the bad, and the ugly, lets get inspired! Archives like Jini Dellaccio’s are a bridge between generations that connect us to so much about our cultural history, including the talented artists and musicians that we should inherit in our social consciousness even if they are not household names.
One way I tried to do this during production was respond to Jini Dellaccio’s enduring passion for photography and her natural ability to connect with young people. The audience gets to see how age has never been a factor in Dellaccio’s creative choices. The cameras follow 93 year-old Dellaccio encountering a bunch of twenty something year old musicians – The Moondoggies, on a rock photo shoot as well as revisiting her original rock and roll shoots from almost 50 years ago. Moving between then and now exploring Dellaccio’s motivation and the close bonds she formed with her subjects, was my intentional way to keep Dellaccio’s ageless artistry front and center. Whether Dellaccio is documenting musicians who were experimenting with new kinds of sounds, including gritty hard-edged tunes that were the natural forerunners to punk and grunge or reaching the next generation with her work, she is an example of how you can keep reinventing yourself and always pursue your passion. Remember, Jini Dellaccio took up digital photography in her early 90s and she did not embark on her accidental career in rock and roll photography until she was in her late 40s…
Listenhere to the NPR interview with 71 one year old Harry Taussig on his SXSW stage debut.