Thursday, December 31, 2009

Older gays would rather commit suicide than risk abuse

30 Dec, 2009 10:14 AM
Australia's aging ''gay pride'' baby boomers face an increased risk of social isolation, depression and suicide because of a lack of supportive health-care services, a Senate inquiry has heard.

Researchers say recent health surveys show an alarmingly high number of senior gays would rather commit suicide than risk abuse from a ''prudish and conservative'' aged health-care system.

A recent report by Alzheimer's Australia estimates more than 37,200 gay men and lesbians will be affected by dementia over the next 20 years, but aged-care policies fail to recognize their specific health, social, legal and financial needs.

It said gay seniors feared health workers ''will judge them, pity them, avoid physical contact, harass them, treat them as an object of curiosity, betray confidences, provide poor quality services or reject them''.

Launching the recent Alzheimer's Australia report, Justice Michael Kirby said that many of these special needs ''may be traced to the much higher levels of loneliness suffered by sexual minorities''.

Several examples of harassment of gay seniors by health-care staff are detailed in submissions to the Senate Community Affairs Committee's inquiry into suicide in Australia. These include the director of a day-care center ordering a gay senior to ''wear latex gloves at all times or leave'', in the mistaken belief he was an AIDS risk.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Documenting a holiday moment

My partner is a pro baker.
As I was walking by his desk this morning, I saw something proving that there really are Santa's Elves.

Joe's sketches for decorating his gingerbread men

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Anchorage Intl. Film Festival pics posted

Directors Stu Maddux and Robyn Bliley at AIFF's Documentary Workshop
Above images copyright 2009 Hal Gage

Note to fellow filmmakers: Anchorage Intl. Film Festival is worth getting to; the weather is very doable: it was calm as could be with beautiful ice on all the trees and none under your feet: the perfect holiday getaway with lots of great films.

During awards night I took pics ahead of time with Circus Rosaire's Director, Robyn Bliley and Co-Producer Sheila Segerson
We will use this one if Robyn wins

We'll use this one if Stu wins

We'll use this one if neither of us win

And if it's a tie and there is only one trophy

...we will use these.

And the winner was... at our table won 1st place.
But I am very honored to receive an honorable mention for "Trip to Hell and Back" being in the company of so many other great documentaries.

See all the pictures

My thanks to festival chiefs, Rand Thornsley and Tony Sheppard for treating us so well. The volunteers seem really aware of what a gem they've got here. Thank-you Hosp. Coordinator, Don Chan, for always, ALWAYS being there and most of all to documentary co-programmers Doug Griffin and Laura Baldwin for creating a really top-notch program of films.

I return to editing re-inspired.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Director returns to Alaska for screening of documentary

Documentary director, Stu Maddux, will attend the Anchorage International Film Festival this weekend for a screening of his documentary, "Trip to Hell and Back." The film tells the story of Olympic horse rider Trip Harting who unknown to anyone in the equestrian world, led a secret-life as a Crystal-Methamphetamine dealer. A portion of the film was shot in Anchorage to include an interview with the man who turned Harting into federal investigators and later was forgiven by him.

Director Stu Maddux in Anchorage during a shoot for "Trip to Hell and Back"

"We became close friends as he relived this darkest chapter of his life on camera," says Maddux. "It was painful and frightening because it was through this film that he intended to reveal his secret life dealing drugs, his arrest but also his recovery and redemption. I think he genuinely believed his story of hope would help people and he was willing to risk his career to do it.

Harting was never able to do that in person. The world-class trainer died just a few weeks before the film's premiere from a rare form of cancer.

Director Stu Maddux is now attempting to do it for him, "It has helped me understand just how many people have been touched by addiction and while I watch from the back of the theater, lets Trip send back his message of hope."

Screening details

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Clip from documentary shows 45+ year Lesbian couple

I am so proud of the two women introduced in this "set-up" clip: Lois Johnson and Sheri Barden. Is it because they've been together for more than 45 years? Of course. But its also because of all the work they have done since the early 1960's to make my life not just livable- but legal.

They were on the front lines of the gay rights movement from the 1960's-1990's and the stories they retell of the early days are jaw-dropping: from lesbian women losing their children to having their own home bugged by the FBI because it considered their gay rights group "subversive".

The details they share of those times reveals more information than ever before about why many LGBT seniors are so reluctant to stay out.
But to Lois and Sheri, thank-you for continuing to be so open and active (and fascinating)! The rest of us will get to feel what it was really like to be there for that first march.

To see this and other clips in HD, including our trailer:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trailer for LGBT aging documentary gets applause

Trailer for Gen Silent

The trailer for the latest documentary profiling LGBT aging issues drew applause once again when it was shown at a screening in Boston last night. The film, Gen Silent, follows a handful of gay, lesbian and transgender seniors as they face fears of insensitivity, discrimination or worse in the care they receive. The sneak peak at the trailer preceded a screening, Hannah Free, a feature staring Sharon Gless about a life-long love affair between two women.

"I gotta say that getting applause for a trailer is rare indeed," said Stu Maddux, the film's director. And getting it so many months before the film is complete just drives us on to finish because people are obviously hot on this topic."

Gen Silent will premiere mid 2010. Maddux's company MAD STU Productions is currently editing more than 70 hours of footage into an 1hr+ documentary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Family Research Council says gay seniors don't deserve a dime

Here's what the conservative group says about the feds funding a mere $250,000 for a national resource center for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender seniors:
"...the real tragedy here--apart from the unnecessary spending--is that, given the risks of homosexual conduct, these people are less likely to live long enough to become senior citizens! Yet once again, the Obama administration is rushing to reward a lifestyle that poses one of the greatest public health risks in America." Read the full article

By the way, Lawrence and Alexandre have found a nursing home where they feel safe holding hands:
Alexandre and Lawrence have been together for 38 years.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Subjects of our doc featured in media about national resource center for LGBT seniors

Jack Reavly and Bob Claunch at their Los Angeles, CA home

Bob and Jack's 52-Year Adventure is our critically acclaimed documentary about two men who met each other in the Army during the McCarthy era, came out to the troops in their unit, and are still together today.

We learned this morning that they are being pictured as examples of gay elders in media coverage about the national resource center created for LGBT seniors. They look great don't they? Congrats guys!

View the Bay Windows article

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HHS to Create a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders

WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced plans to establish the nation`s
first national resource center to assist communities across the country in their
efforts to provide services and supports for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) individuals.

See the full article

This is a quantum leap for our new documentary, Gen Silent,
about LGBT elders in so much fear about getting safe care
that they are going back into the closet.

We are turning Gen Silent into a training curriculum for
institutions and caregivers and it
seems to be happening at the perfect time:

See a trailer for Gen Silent

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LA Gay and Lesbian Center gets grant for LGBT Elder Services

LA Gay and Lesbian Center receives grant to fund programs for LGBT ...: "Congress discussed the Community Innovations for Aging in Place initiative in ... The Center proposed solutions to moving LGBT seniors from isolation to ...

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Trip to Hell and Back" to screen in Alaska

Dear Stu Maddux, Congratulations!

We are thrilled and honored to include your film, "Trip to Hell and Back", as an official selection in the 2009 Anchorage International Film Festival. On behalf of our organization, thank you for supporting our event. Your film will be a great complement to this year's program. look forward to future email conversations and possibly meeting you this December. Please confirm that you received this email. Don't hesitate to contact me about any questions or concerns, travel arrangements, or just to say hello.

Thank you,

Doug Griffin & Laura Baldwin, AIFF

Documentary Co-Programmers

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hard work shooting documentary subjects grave site

Director Stu Maddux and subject KrysAnne Hembrough Dec, 2008

I had a whirlwind, pick up shot trip to Boston last week and my last job was to shoot the grave site of one of my film's subjects, KrysAnne Hembrough.

KrysAnne was a transgendered woman in her early sixties desperate to find someone to care for her as she faced a terminal illness. She passed away last spring and her story is an important part of our documentary, Gen Silent, about LGBT aging issues.

Kevin Hembrough in the 1960's

It was crucial that I find her grave marker. She was a Vietnam veteran and wanted to be buried at a National Cemetery. The hitch was that she wanted to be buried as Staff Sgt. Krysallis Anne Hembrough not by her male name, Kevin. She was still a man when she was in the service.

Director Stu Maddux at Massachusetts National Cemetery October, 2009

I cannot tell you how important this final wish was to her. She spent precious energy getting the Veteran's Administration to permit it. So I owed it to her to haul the gear out from San Francisco to Cape Cod to find out if she got her final wish.

Most moving for me was the phrase below her name
which she called herself often almost as a self-affirmation.

That was it.
I packed up with what will likely be the closing shot for her story.
But as I walked back to the car I discovered a grave marker which moved me even more than Krys Anne's.

My thanks to Associate Producer Catherine Cox for researching the location of Krys Anne's marker and making it so easy to find on such a tight schedule.
Apologies to you, Krys Anne, for not being able to stay longer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I turned 44 yesterday

"I have something to tell you, you're old."

Joe and I took the ferry into the city after he gave me a gift
The firewood I asked for

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leaf peeping via webcam helps us prep for next shoot

Boston University via webcam today showing ample green foliage

I suddenly need to go back to Boston before the leaves change to get some pick up shots for our documentary, Gen Silent. My shots must match what we shot this spring. No fall colors!

The ticket is in hand for October 6th and locals say the odds are in my favor (thanks for the tweets about fall colors!) However, everything is extra expensive that week so I can tell that it is the week that the tourism industry is betting that everything will be changing already.

Our pre-production has become leaf-peeping via webcam: Will I make it? It's the only time in my life I don't want to be shooting beautiful fall colors! I'll be a continuity pickle! Like eating a dill and a bread and butter in the same bite. :0

Friday, September 11, 2009

Marketing work on Gen Silent:

Stu Maddux, Director and Barrie Atkin, Executive Producer create fundraising materials

It is nice to see work on our documentary, Gen Silent, going on at the same time in two rooms during EP, Barrie Atkins visit to our home/office in Marin County, CA. this week.

Producer Joe Applebaum talks with the show's attorney

Stu Maddux tries on Barrie Atkins swim cap (dry) while editing copy
marked up by Barrie.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The LA house is where the "2" is on this map

View Los Angeles area fires: Mount Wilson, La Canada Flintridge, Altadena, La Crescenta, Glendale, Pasadena, Acton, Agua Dulce in a larger map

The fire is many miles and strip malls away. We are up in SF renting out the LA place. It is very small and cute. Here's a pic of it with Joe in his baker outfit getting ready for the kids at Halloween, lighting candles everywhere and...oh, maybe not this pic.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August chills editors to the bone.

If you edit you know what I mean. It's dark in here so you can see the monitors. The AC is up to keep the equipment cool. It feels like you work in a refrigerator.
But then...
then you take a break and walk outside into the light and warmth you haven't felt for hours. After a few minutes, the hot sun makes you grateful again for the cool place to go back to.

I have a little problem though.
I get into my car and start driving.
This is what it looks like down my secret "I gotta get outta here now" road.

I try to visit it at least three times a week. It goes to Point Reyes National Seashore.

It's only 10 minutes from the dark refrigerator I was sitting in so I'm back at the deep freeze in no time.
Someday the hard drives and the laptop will come with me in the car.

Friday, August 21, 2009


EXCLUSIVE: 'Gen Silent' director Stu Maddux gives voice to a forgotten generation - Part 1 -

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I feel extremely blessed after reading this article about what it's like for us in Iraq.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gen Silent Newsletter now available

Please check out the first edition of our newsletter for the documentary, Gen Silent. Lot's of interesting news. And if by chance you didn't receive a copy, please click on the
newsletter sign-up link and make sure that we have your correct email.

You can also receive an email with the latest information from this Production Notes page by subscribing through the "follow link" to the right on the actual blog page.

And of course, the very latest tweets from director Stu Maddux.

Link to Newsletter

Link to Production Notes on

*Correction: Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services was incorrectly printed as Somerville-Cambridge Senior Services.

Link to Stu Maddux on Twitter

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Email excerpt to GenSilent subject Lawrence Johnson

I'm so glad that you wrote and I am very excited to see you "tweeting!" Please tweet more! I learned the name of your new book through your tweet and think it is just PERFECT!!! Don't change it! It also helps me know what's going on with you. From the filmmaker standpoint I feel disconnected out here in San Francisco after weeks of not seeing each other in Boston. On the other hand, I have been editing your footage so you have been in my face for days now!

We have made slow progress with the film these past three weeks because of other things on our plate that I had hoped to clear off a month ago. We have the money and the outline ready to move into high gear with editing but there are a lot of other preliminaries that have to be buttoned up that have to do with marketing etc. And while we are outsourcing as much as possible, it still is a mountain of work. 90% of independent filmmaking seems to have nothing to do with actually making the film.
One of those preliminary items is getting the news letter for the film up and running. Look for it today or tomorrow.

BTW- The cat ate the outline for your edit. I'm serious. We printed another. He says its good.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bad tech days are always on Mondays

The view from my desk in Novato, CA.

I found myself in the middle of editing the second five minutes of Gen Silent this morning when something happened that has never happened before (and I've been using FCP since 1.0):
the program disappeared.
My editing software just left the computer.
All my files (all my work) is still here...but none of it is opening. It will eventually but...

What a glorious morning it was going to be riding my bike to the gym enjoying the hills of Marin county, CA while footage rendered at home and my Iphone kept me posted.

I've had to stop all my plans and reload the entire suite of software. It takes a while.
These things always happen on Mondays. Even when I've been working all weekend, am in the groove, Mondays are still a troubled day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

First article about Gen Silent suddenly appears

We didn't expect the coverage quite so soon but it is welcome:

The comments (below) are as insightful as the article.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Documentary editing resumes with new funds after 3-day hiatus.

Ahh, the life of independent film.
We had to take a short, three-day hiatus last week while a large check we were expecting came in. It represents nearly a quarter of this film's budget and comes from one individual. Without blowing their anonymity I wanted acknowledge just how grateful I am that we can begin editing again and get this film finished just as soon as possible. We are far from making our budget and need all the donations that we can get to make this film happen. - but we have traction.

Its message about older LGBT people being afraid to ask for care, must be heard just as soon as possible by as many people as possible. We are losing OUR greatest generation because they are going back into the closet.

This contribution along with the other generous donations are also allowing us to tell this story in a way that will get people's attention. Must we cut corners? Oh yes. If you only knew! But now we don't face cutting off the arms and legs of our film by abruptly ending our coverage of people we have been following for nearly a year.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Power drinks make LA-SF and back in one day A CAAAAR!!

I live in the Bay Area and have a rental property in LA. The two cities are about six hours a part connected by a mind-numbing interstate of throat cutting proportions.
That's what's in the cars on the side of the road if you are ever wondering.

For the past two weeks I've been forced to repeatedly drive back and forth during the same day trying to fix a really bad, scary tenant situation. At the gas station, the power drink fridge that I would before only glance at- I now stand in front of. Power drinks are not only something new to do; they are like a medieval potion that eliminates my problem.

Driving down to LA , during the six hours I do that mental rehearsal of every possible confrontation that may take place, I choose this name brand:

And LO- Everything went OK. So, going back I replay the days events and kick back on the 5 with this:

Never has it more been about packaging. They all taste EXACTLY the same.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ipod video camera helped me while stuck on an airplane

I'm flying through Atlanta. No, correction. I'm sitting 20 feet above a flooded tarmac in Atlanta aboard my 757.

The pilot is walking through the cabin explaining that it is literally going to be hours before we push back from the gate because of an electrical storm that suddenly moved in. But here's the great part- he can't let anyone off the plane because we'll all get zapped on the jetway. Looking out the window it really does seem 50/50 that someone would die doing that. The screaming baby four rows back suddenly enters my thoughts but only for a second.

So I call my ride to tell him that it will be well after midnight before I need his services and I really will have NO other way to get home by that point and could he PLEASE still give me a ride. Luckily it's my partner on the other end of the line so the ride falls under watching the other guy's back part of the relationship. But he simply can not understand how it is possible that this is happening and I cannot seem to make him understand how it's an act of GOD and not an act of man or his man or...if only he were here he'd get it.

Then I get a brainstorm and tell him to just look for an email explaining it all. Within minutes he is watching this 30 sec video that I shot on and emailed from my new Iphone 3Gs.

That little video camera on the new Iphone 3Gs did a great job.
Now he gets it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Emotional footage makes me press stop

I've started logging 40 hours of footage for my latest documentary, Gen Silent, about LGBT seniors searching for safe, welcoming care in their old age. The work has begun by pouring over the year that we have spent with Lawrence Johnson: a gay man caring for his partner Alexandre in a nursing home.

Occasionally I just have to press the stop button, get up and walk outside. It happens when I've managed to capture an extremely intimate moment like the one above.

It's a feeling of discomfort at being so close, of excitement about getting such great moments and humbleness of being allowed "in".

Monday, June 29, 2009

Editing begins on latest documentary Gen Silent

Reels from the 600 series of Shooting Gen Silent on my desk in Marin County, CA.
600 indicates the 6th shoot in Boston, MA where this film takes place.
The gray series above are their permanent numbers in the MAD STU Media archive

I began editing this morning on our doc about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender elders going back into the closet for fear of getting improper care.

The first day is always the most exciting because you have in your mind how perfect all your shots and interviews look. All 40 hours are perfect, the composition, the lighting, the quotes from our subjects- all just the way I remember it.
But as I begin to log footage that illusion will fade and there will be a lot of great moments and some disappointments. But rarely in my 25 years of doing this have I felt as confident in what we have in the can.

The skill is turning what you see above into what is below:

http://gensilent. com/

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Director pitches documentary about LGBT Seniors

I had the opportunity to show the trailer for Gen Silent earlier this month at the Boston GLBT Film Festival and speak briefly about it to about a hundred people.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I've really debated whether or not to post this...

...but I think I better give my readers/viewers all sides.

KrysAnne Hembrough

One of the subjects in my current film told me repeatedly before she died that she was abandoned by her family when she became a woman. KrysAnne Hembrough (born Kevin) had all the proof. She showed me hate mail from her family and throughout her terminal illness only one family member visited regularly before she died.

But since her death KrysAnne's family has been writing me about how she abandoned them beginning year's earlier. That they were pushed away.

It may seem like something that is better left alone but KrysAnne's story is a very important part of our look at the isolation that leaves many LGBT folks without anyone to take care for them.

Was it her own fault as they said?
Then this email was sitting on my computer [sic]:


I responded:
From: StuMaddux
Subject: Re: I AM SERIOUS.....
Who are you? I have not intentionally been sending you anything.

From AnneMarie@XXXXXXX (address deleted by moderator) wrote:
I am ANN MARIE the tenth of eleven Hebrough children --- I had said along time ago to my big brother KEVIN "God have MERCY on your soul" He new that --

So, Was KrysAnne right all along?