A Harvard grad with a doctorate in Literature from the University of Michigan and more than 25 years experience as a college teacher and administrator,Chuck Nicholas has become in the past ten years the nation’s leading advocate for what he originally called, in his first National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Grant, Using the Movies to Discover what The New Old Age Can Actually Become. Now seventy and a bit wiser, he admits that no one wants to call this new life stage old age even if it is new and has been extended and transformed. But he is more amazed than ever by the increasing number of feature films that present us with new, more appropriate, and more positive images of this new chapter in our much longer and more productive lives. He’s even more amazed by how few of us seem to be paying attention. There are, after all more than 200 of these films at last count, and more appear each year.
As part of his ten year campaign to introduce these films to those who need them most, Chuck has given lectures, developed film series and film programs, headed up workshops and facilitated discussions at Lifelong Learning Institutes, Independent Living Facilities, Conventions, health care facilities around the country. He’s also organized the nation’s first Aging Film Festival at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, been interviewed on NPR’s Here and Now, won another, bigger NEH grant and been sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive and gratifying. Apparently all of us, professionals in aging, those who are already sixty five, and all those boomers who are about to enter this new chapter, hunger for new narratives to replace the old story that life after middle age is all about retirement, isolation, and decline. It is not, and the world’s leading film makers (and novelists) already know it and are sharing their visions and insights.
Now at work on a book tentatively entitled A New Chapter: A Guide to the Movies that are already re-imagining life’s suddenly longer and more important second half, Chuck will soon have his own website, has just developed a new round of programs and presentations on the ways in which one’s gender presents particular challenges and opportunities in this new chapter, and continues to spread the word with a widening variety of presentations, discussions, and screenings.
Some Sample Presentations:
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