Edith+Eddie encourages dialogue, impact around elder rights and guardianship reform

Academy Award-nominated Edith+Eddie by Laura Checkoway continues to generate awareness and energy around the issues of elder rights, elder abuse, guardianship abuse, aging, end-of-life issues and legal reform.

The film recently screened to five groups as part of its ongoing impact campaign:

  • The American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging
  • Iowa Law and Services Together (ILAST) Elder Abuse Coordinated Community Response Team
  • The Gentle/Radical Film Club (dedicated to delivering accessible, grassroots screenings to minority ethnic women in South Wales, Great Britain)
  • The Evanston Aging Well Conference
  • Silver Source, Inc. (an independent nonprofit agency providing information, counseling and emergency financial assistance to Stamford, CT’s over-60 population) and the Ferguson Library followed by a panel discussion with experts in the field and filmmaker Laura Checkoway
  • Fueling the film’s impact campaign is a 2017 AFI DOCS Impact Grant, awarded to four films annually by NBCUniversal in partnership with AFI DOCS. The key impact goals of Edith+Eddie are two-fold: (1) to reduce the rate of guardianship abuse by reforming laws in every state to prevent elder abuse, and (2) to inspire individuals to make late life plans with their families.

    The five aforementioned screenings were set up with these goals in mind. Each organization or group received a screening kit that included screening materials and a survey to collect viewers’ impressions of the film.

    We’ve included excerpts from some of the most salient survey responses below:

    General impressions of the film:

    “The film exemplified the tragic circumstances felt by older people when their preferences are denied. These stories need to be told to raise awareness of potential abuse.”
    – Gentle/Radical viewer

    “The film affected me and will remain with me –– even to the extent of affecting how I will behave towards my 85 year old mother, who is married to a man ten years her junior.”
    – Gentle/Radical viewer

    “It took only seconds for a conversation to begin… We talked about Iowa laws and our roles in situations like this. What resulted was a lively and informative discussion regarding human rights, ageism, substitute decision making, elder abuse, and more. Edith+Eddie raises these questions and issues in a way that a written case scenario (our usual form of case study) simply cannot do.”
    – Iowa office of the Attorney General viewer

    How did the film change your perception of issues around legal guardianship?

    “Putting human faces to the issue is a great way to get people to stop and think about what we can do to make things better.”
    – ABA Viewer

    What actions, if any, might you take in response to seeing the film?

    “I’ll continue to push for future healthcare/long-term directives. Everyone should have a plan after age 18.”
    – ABA Commission on Law and Aging viewer

    “I plan to show the film to my class, and share the film with our state council of Probate Court Judges.”
    – ABA Commission on Law and Aging viewer

    “As a law student, I’m really interested in elder law now.”
    – ABA Commission on Law and Aging viewer

    Who should see this film?

    “All members of the US Senate and the House of Representatives, houses of worship, nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. It should be shown on every undergraduate and graduate school campus.”
    – ABA Commission on Law and Aging viewer

    “Families with aging parents. My cousins are dealing with similar issues now with my aunt –– I want them to see it.”
    – ABA Commission on Law and Aging viewer

    Edith+Eddie has been promoted by the National Association to Stop Guardianship Abuse, including being featured on their website as a resource under their documentaries section. The film has also screened at the New York City Elder Abuse Center and was utilized by the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative in a two-day training for legal services lawyers who provide free legal assistance to low income elders and victims of elder abuse.

    Read an interview with filmmaker Laura Checkoway in the NYCEAC blog.

    To set up a screening of Edith+Eddie with your organization or in your community, request a screening here.