Sundance Filmmakers, Producers Commit to More Care-Inclusive Storytelling

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Mon, 02/05/2024 - 09:18 -- Nick Dager

Filmmakers, producers, and other creatives who attended the Sundance Film Festival have committed to more care-inclusive storytelling after attending a series of events spotlighting aging and disability care.

Ai-jen Poo, executive director of Caring Across Generations, moderates Caregiving: The Unseen Story panel at Sunrise Collective House alongside panelists Jenna Murray, healer, participant in Sundance documentary Winding Path; Liz Sargent, filmmaker (Take Me Home); and Richard Lui, MSNBC anchor and journalist, author and filmmaker (Unconditional). Photo by Christine ChangThelma, Out of My Mind, Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story, Ibelin, Suncoast and Winding Path were among this year’s narrative films and documentaries that center disabled people, older adults end-of-life care, and multigenerational, culturally specific care experiences.

Meanwhile, Caring Across Generations, Participant and Sunrise Collective, and the new Sundance Impact Lounge hosted panels addressing the role that films can play in driving cultural shifts and policy change for long-term care, and the growing demand for more diverse and authentic care-inclusive storytelling. 

“Long an unseen story, long-term care is finally taking center stage in ways that reflect the reality of many of our lives,” said Ai-jen Poo, executive director of Caring Across

Added her colleague, Lydia Storie, director of culture change at Caring Across: “Audiences are hungry for more authentic and expansive care representation on screen. Including more care experiences in our stories can shift how we both as individuals and as a society value and support everyone who has care responsibilities or needs.” 

Storie, who previously spent over a decade as a scripted development executive, teased a new study done with the Norman Lear Center showing audience demand for culturally specific care storylines.

She also discussed recent research with the Geena Davis Institute, which found that television’s representation of care is still overwhelmingly white and and leaves out many common caregiving-related activities, especially those experienced in BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.  

Richard Lui — MSNBC journalist, filmmaker and member of the Caring Across Creative Care Council – shared how he has used his documentary, Unconditional, about military veteran family caregivers as well as his own experience doing long-distance care for his dad with Alzheimer’s, to engage with policymakers and connect audiences across the political spectrum.