About this project
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN!
ALL OR NOTHING
Kickstarter is an 'all or nothing' fundraiser. If we don't reach our $10K target in 90-days then the project gets nothing and no gifts are given. So please spread the word and pledge whatever you can because the fundraising clock is ticking!
MAKE YOUR GRANNY PROUD: SUPPORT OUR FILM!
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
Lets face it, not many people think a documentary about old folks, aging alcoholics and residents who identify themselves as 'nuts' is a very sexy prospect for investment. But we're hoping you see it differently! After funding the shoot ourselves, we really need your help to raise finishing funds for editing and post production on the film. So check out the trailer and take a look at some of the fantastic gifts we are offering for your pledge. Stuck on what to get mum for her birthday? Or, want to get some absurdly early Christmas presents? We have you covered!
CHECK OUT OUR GIFTS!
Handmade Linen Tea Towel Set!
A Handmade 'Lace' Cake Plate or a Decanter Set!
ABOUT THE FILM
"If you're not crazy when you come in, you're crazy when you leave!"
Debbie Houchins, Care Assistant, Lavender Hall.
Lavender Hall is a residential care home that houses a wild bunch of irreverent residents who boast surprising backgrounds from classically trained pianist to plastic surgeon. One of the last family-run residential care homes in an era of expanding corporate-run facilities and managed-care, Lavender Hall is an anachronism and so too is its owner, Bill Kopec, with his drill sergeant-like approach to taking care of his residents. Normally off limits to cameras, this film has unprecedented and unfettered access to this privately run care facility.
After almost 50 years of caring for incongruous residents, most of whom were transferred from Ancora, the local psychiatric institution, Bill Kopec is closing the doors to their small residential care home. Founded and run by Bill’s mother up until her death in 1981, Bill struggled to keep his mother's dream alive by going every weekend to help manage Lavender Hall, on top of his full time job as a executive at Xerox. But with Bill now older than most of his residents, and no one in the Kopec family willing to take over, the somewhat shabby 1920’s home will be demolished to make way for condos in the seaside resort town of Wildwood, New Jersey. Best known in its heyday of the 1950s and 1960s for its garish Doo-Wap architecture of motor-hotels, plastic palms and hopping music scene, Wildwood earned the nickname the "Las Vegas of the East". Wildwood long since lost that title, though some lingering Doo-Wap architecture harks back to the days when Dick Clark spun records for American Bandstand at The Starlight Ballroom.
One in four adults in the U.S. suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year--over 57.7 million people. A much smaller share of this group, about 6%, suffer from a severe and persistent mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder or major depression. Numerous Lavender Hall residents are battling serious problems. Like Linda, the youngest resident at 52, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, is bi-polar, a chronic alcoholic and has an eating disorder. Some, like Joel, have been at Lavender Hall for more than 19 years, and at 62 he has composed dozens of original operettas and sketches for musical theatre works. He performs them for the residents from memory on Lavender Hall's upright piano, despite his severe autism. Others are just whiling away their retirement in a sunny home by the sea, unsure of how to deal with their fellow troubled residents or their Care Assistant's pet ferret, Skeeter.
This dysfunctional family of 14 residents will be made homeless in 4 months unless their only advocates, Bill Kopec and his jewelry designer daughter Renée, can navigate the complexities of the care facility options and medical insurance labyrinth to find them all new homes before demolition day.
Lavender Hall's residents represent two growing problems in the US: how to care for an aging population that cannot afford to care for themselves, and the lack of support available to those with mental health or addiction problems. Too many are housed in secure psychiatric units instead of having access to supported independent living or residential homes. And upon Lavender Hall's closing, many of the residents could be re-institutionalized, overmedicated, and placed at the mercy of a system that erodes their independence and control of their lives.
Lavender Hall is a frequently funny and occasionally disquieting portrait of the oddball residents and their equally eccentric carers. This film reveals the challenges of the enduring life on the largely invisible margins of society, when you are considered either too old or too crazy for anyone to care what you do. This film hopes to cross that threshold of crazy and breach that lonely aging divide. Do come along with us and visit the residents of Lavender Hall, we think you'll like them as much as we do.
RESIDENT TALENT--JOEL COLKER'S MUSIC
When we set up our equipment to record Joel's musical repertory, we expected to hear some of the ‘standards’ he played for his fellow residents and perhaps a performance of his own composition, a dramatic ballad known as "The Time Machine." But as he began to play, we heard original music that no one knew he had composed. "The Time Machine" was only the one of dozens of original compositions, operettas, and sketches for musical theatre works that partially existed on paper, but mostly in Joel's head. The thematic content ranges from patriotic marches, "The Triumph of Justice", to settings of his favorite novels, such as H.G. Wells's "The Time Machine" or "The War of the Worlds", to satirical autobiographical works, such as the "The Cranyville Follies," written about and during his stay at Emeryville State Hospital, from which emerges one of Joel's most delightful and endearing songs entitled "You Need Someone."
We will be posting clips of Joel's piano performances during the 90-day fundraiser, so check back to hear him play!
Over 100 hours of footage shot in classic cinema vérité style as well as interviews. Finishing funds are needed to complete the editing.
DVD and DIGITAL DOWNLOAD
Our Pledging Champions will receive a 30% discount when they purchase the DVD or digital download of the finished film. Since we are still some ways off the film being finished let alone released on DVD, we thought we'd provide you with some instant gift gratification for your donation and hope you'll still want to see the film too!
Every pledge counts and is truly appreciated. So unless you want to remain mysterious and anonymous or have an interesting pseudonym we WILL plaster your name on our website when the fundraiser is over! Our Pledging Champions will be the first to know about screenings and we'll think of some other good stuff too.
A WORLD OF HELP
It would warm the cockles of our hearts to know how far our little story has travelled and where our Pledging Champions are from, so post a comment on our page and tell us where you are! When we get to the screening stage we want to let you know we're in your neighborhood!
Support is coming from all corners of the world, but most notably from New Jersey (where the film was shot), New York, where Renee (Co-producer) and Lisa Guidetti (Director) live, and the UK where Lisa hails from. And yes, I did just talk about myself in the third person.
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