The documentary Cyber-Seniors is getting special sneak previews at film festivals around the world, and at the Victoria Film Festival, it screened February 11 and the 15th. And on May 2, it will be making its theatrical premiere.
For the young actress turned director, Saffron Cassaday, this film marks her debut. Many stories are intertwined here: from explaining the origins of what the film title is about — an education program that started in Toronto for showing seniors how to use a computer to effectively communicate — to what these people can do with it, there is even a personal note added to this film.
When Saffron’s sister, Macaulee, and grandfather were diagnosed with cancer during production, that did not bring making this film to halt. Their journey is also chronicled. Having started two years ago, the teaching program called Cyber-Seniors was well underway. When medical issues only showed how effective online communication works for two very close family members, the ties that bind are expressed online too. But that should not stop people from meeting for real.
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Victoria Film Festival 2014
Tuesday, February 11th at 7:15 p.m.
Parkside Resort & Spa
810 Humboldt St.
Victoria, BC. Canada
Saturday, February 15th at 4:00 p.m.
808 Douglas St.
Victoria, BC. Canada
World Premiere: May 2, 20104
In the documentary Cyber-Seniors, computer technology does not have to be frightening for a generation who grew up listening to the radio. Oh how the times have changed! From the Silent Generation to the Baby Boomers, not all of them have embraced the digital age, where instant communication is done with the push of a button. Not all of them even know how to turn on a computer.
Advancements in technology to improve communication can be intimidating and the older generation can have problems understanding it. Macaulee and Kascha Cassaday taught their grandparents how to use a computer in order to communicate with them, and their success at home became a project that anyone can download a manual for and start-up in their own town. Filmmaker Saffron Cassaday saw what her sisters were doing and knew it can grow into something big. She began to document what her sisters have done and what she produced is a wonderful look how the lives of an elderly generation have transformed. Viewers cannot help but smile.
The seniors become even more active since they no longer feel confined to their retirement homes or feel isolated. They get love from both the youths who mentor them and from the sons, daughters or grandchildren they once could not connect with. Either they live so far away or travel back and forth is an issue in cold months. When it comes to playing videogames, each of them found the simplest of games thrilling. From Angry Birds to Minecraft, even though they may not play it regularly, at least a Youtube video can be made from it. For another senior, Scrabble on Facebook was here best way to keep her mind active and talk to her family at the same time.
This film is definitely a feel good movie that triumphs in educating the public. This film not only succeeds at showing that there is a cyber-movement afoot but also closes a generation gap. There are enjoyable moments of light-hearted humour. To see young Henri Pelletier express interest in a granddaughter is not without some laughs. This documentary is very humanitarian and more of this type of film should get made.
4½ Stars out of 5