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: