New MPTF Film Fest Redefines “Senior Producers” (And Directors & Actors)

Proving that creativity is ageless, the Motion Picture & Television Fund will hold its first film festival on Saturday featuring the work of residents at its Wasserman Campus retirement village in Woodland Hills. Artists involved include Oscar and Emmy winners, actors who performed in A Streetcar Named Desire and Funny Girl and writers, producers, actors and directors who helped create some of the most iconic shows from the Golden Age of television.

The MPTF’s inaugural Channel 22 Screening Festival features film produced for Channel 22, the campus’ closed-circuit TV network, a busy production hub where entertainment industry retirees, working professionals, MPTF staff and young volunteers work together to create original programming for residents. “I’ve been out here a year and a half, and I’ve been as busy as I was before,” said veteran writer-producer Joel Rogosin, a multiple Emmy nominee for producing Ironside and Magnum P.I. who directed the festival’s short 2 Squared. “The only difference is that the pay is terrible and the hours are lousy.”

Jennifer Clymer, the MPTF’s Media & Production Manager, oversees Channel 22 and organized the festival, which will present 24 short films during the daylong event (see the full schedule below, with the fantastic credits involved).

TV writing legends Rocky and Irma Kalish will have two short films shown at the fest: The Lottery (watch it below), about a The Lotteryhusband and wife trying to pick a winning lottery ticket, and The Elevator, about a man and a woman who get stuck in an elevator and find that they know more about each other than they realized. Irma, 90, was executive producer of The Facts Of Life, Valerie and 227 and wrote for All In The Family, Maude and My Three Sons among many shows. Rocky, her 93-year-old husband, wrote for Gilligan’s Island, My Favorite Martian and F Troop, among many others. He is a resident at the community, and his wife visits there every day.

Tony Lawrence, 86, who wrote for Columbo and Bonanza and penned Roustabout for Elvis Presley, wrote, directed and stars in Dreamcatchers, the story of a widower and his friend who try their hand at Internet dating. The 13-minute film co-stars Brett Hadley (The Young And The Restless, Marcus Welby, M.D.) and Lisabeth Hush (Perry Mason, Dr. Kildare, The Virginian). Hadley, 84, also stars in 2 Squared, a work-in-progress about an aging writer planning to kill himself because he can’t get another writing assignment. It’s a cautionary tale about the ageism that awaits nearly everyone in Hollywood — everyone, that is, but those lucky enough to still be making movies out at the industry’s retirement community.

Another project features Wright King, 91, an actor who worked with Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire and whose credits include the original Planet Of The Apes and episodes of The Twilight Zone. He teamed with the Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society for a dramatic reading of Ernest Thayer’s classic poem Casey At The Bat.

“I have foolishly fallen in love with all the people I work with,” Jennifer ClymerClymer said. “It’s a real passion for me. We’re always doing something new. There are hurdles, of course – technical problems, updating the software, finding donated computers that have another year of life in them – but as long as we’re still social and creating, I don’t care if the electricity goes out, we can still grab a pen and paper and make something happen.”

Here’s the full schedule for MPTF’s 1st Annual Channel 22 Screening Festival:

1-2 PM – MPTF Originals

Dreamcatchers (13 Minutes)
Cast: Tony Lawrence (writer of Brett Hadley, Lisabeth Hush, Marlene Courtland, Julie Gerns, Carol Wilson, Cecelia Specht
Director/ Writer: Tony Lawrence wrote Roustabout, Columbo, acted in Death Valley Days
Producer (Consultant): Joel Rogosin
Music Supervisor: Phil Haberman three-time Emmy nominated sound editor
Edited by: Mort Fallick, edited Moonlighting and China Beach
Description: After the death of his wife, a man, along with his friend, try their hand at Internet dating.

Anne’s Poem “Unconditional Surrender” (3 minutes)
Cast: Anne Faulkner, Rudy Hornish acted in Ordinary People
Description: A Love Poem. To Risk Love again.

TAG (4 minutes)
Cast: Stuart Damon, Marlene Courtland
Written by: Duke Anderson
Description: When a man tries to chat up a woman at a jazz bar, he is surprised by her response.

Law & Disorder Behind the Scenes (3 minutes)
Cast: Norm Stevens, Bill Martinez, Brett Hadley, Amy Wieseneck, Jen Clymer
Description: A behind the scenes look at the series Law & Disorder, a spoof of the popular crime drama, with interviews from the cast and crew.

2 Squared (teaser)
Cast: Stuart Damon, Brett Hadley
Director: Joel Rogosin
Description: This is the story of the last night of a writer’s life. It takes place in a shabby, cluttered office above a dry cleaner, on a side street, somewhere in Hollywood, California. It is a cautionary tale…

2-3 PM Volunteer-Driven Programs

Our World
Earl Lewis, Joan Tannen
Description: Take a journey through time and space and travel to unique ports through this fun program brought to you by a generous volunteer.

Paraprosdokians (1 minute)
Dick Clayton
Description: You know those phrases that start out one way and end in an unusual twist? Winston Churchill was famous for them. Learn more through this fun interstitial series.

Stuff in a Cup (Pumpkin Muffin)
Jr. Volunteers
Description: The Jr. Volunteers demonstrate how to make a snack in a cup.

Lipstick Angels
Produced by: Mike Boudry
Description: Highlights of the Lipstick Angels event, in which a number of the residents received makeovers.

Eisner Prize revisited (15 minutes)
Description: Footage of the 2013 Unsung Heroes event in which the Media Center was awarded the Eisner Intergenerational Prize for Excellence.

Okie Dokie On the Go, “Dog Park” (3 minutes)
Cast: Don Mertens
Producer: Ray DeTournay
Description: Resident Don Mertens takes a look at the new Dog Park, which was created in March of this year

3-4 PM – Documentaries

Teaser for Greenhouse (Kennedy and Bob Feller photos) (2 minutes)
Photos by Bob Feller
Description: Bob Feller documented the transformation of the Potting Shed over the course of 5 months. The photos give a glimpse of how extensive the renovation was from start to finish.

Gazette promo
Description: The Resident Run newspaper celebrated a milestone anniversary.

Wink’s Destiny (5 minutes)
Written/Narrated by: Joan Tannen
Description: This poem gives a look into the life of Wink, a four legged friend.

Fit Club
Episode 1 (3 minutes), Episode 2 (4 minutes), Episode 3 (6 minutes)
Description: A docu-series about the lives of two people and their mission to lose weight over the course of a year.

Tales From The Set
Description: Everyone from the Biz has a story of that one day on set when something extra-ordinary happened. Those stories get retold here.

Reading List (teaser, 3-9 minutes)
Cast: Tony Ludwig produced Starsky & Hutch and The Mod Squad
Description: A multi-part series which looks at some of the great literary works throughout time and their journey to the screen.

Writer’s Group
Produced by: Joel Rogosin
Description: Residents gather to discuss their creative writing and share insight into the struggles and successes of putting words on an empty page.

Then & Now (5 minutes)
Cast: Bill Martinez
Description: Martinez discusses the MPTF Wasserman campus from its beginnings to what it is like today.

4 PM- 5 PM – Collaborations

Cast: Brett Hadley, Anne Faulkner, Maggie Malooly, Joel Rogosin, Tony Lawrence, Nancy Kimberly, Rocky Kalish
Description: Created with the JHRTS, spoofs Dallas.

2 x 2 “The Elevator” (8 minutes)
Cast: Leah Ayres, Emilio Borelli
Crew: Rocky & Irma Kalish, JHRTS
Description: A man and a woman get stuck in an elevator together, and while waiting for help find out that they know more about each other than they realized.

2 x 2 “The Lottery” (7 minutes)
Cast: Brett Hadley, Katherine McGregor
Crew: Writer/Director: Rocky & Irma Kalish
Description: A husband and wife attempt to pick numbers for a lottery ticket. How hard could that be?

Wright King “Casey at Bat”
Cast: Wright King
Description: Wright King does a reading of the classic poem, written by Ernest Thayer.

Wellness Garden Commercial- 2 minutes
Cast: Al Alweil, Marlene O’Neil
Crew: Director/Writer: Rocky Kalish
Description: A place on campus where your troubles disappear- The Wasserman Campus Wellness Garden.

7 PM – Special Screening of “Showfolk” and “Chris” (Louis B. Mayer Theater)

A private reception before the screening will be held for students to meet with the people in “Showfolk.”

About Showfolk: Ned McNeilage is an MPTF supporter and filmmaker who recently documented the lives of seven MPTF residents in the short documentary, Showfolk. The short documentary has won awards; awards that also honor the history and legacy of MPTF and its residents. Most recently, “Showfolk“ won the $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short at the Heartland Film Festival.

The film was primarily filmed on The Wasserman Campus with production support from MPTF’s Jen Clymer and the Channel 22 team and takes a look at the lives of seven MPTF residents and their histories in the entertainment industry. The documentary uncovers an interesting theme in these seven histories: at one point or another, each of the entertainment industry veterans had to take a chance and roll the dice on their careers—and by extension, their futures. Ned premiered the film at the Tribeca film festival earlier in 2014, where it was nominated for best short documentary. Since then he’s been across the country and Showfolk has won many awards.

Description: For seven Hollywood Golden Age veterans, the show goes on. From a Vaudeville comedian still working at 100 to a stunning siren who dated Ronald Reagan when he was a Democrat, these showbiz vets share wisdom and inspiration garnered over seven lifetimes in the business. Residing together at the Motion Picture & Television Fund home in the San Fernando Valley, these entertainment lifers are bonded by the show.

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