A short, fun but often real look at life in a retirement home forms the backdrop for a short film series called The Dusketeers, released by Hibiscus Coast U3A this month.
The six films in the series average around seven to eight minutes and are available online. They were shot entirely on the Coast and the film and crew are all members of U3A.
U3A, or the University of the Third Age, is an international movement aimed at providing education and intellectual stimulation for mainly retired members of the community – those in their third ‘age’ of life.
Director and cameraman, Ian Miller, helped set up the U3A short film group with Nancy Miller four years ago. Ian worked for TVNZ for nearly 30 years, producing and directing on shows such as Maggie’s Garden and Country Calendar. He and Nancy are also involved in producing short promotional films for SOSSI and Estuary Arts.
“The idea of setting up the U3A group was to teach some filmmaking basics,” Ian says.
“The series grew from there and when we first floated it with the group, they were very enthusiastic.”
The storyline came from some brainstorming sessions where three main characters were developed – Fleur (played by Carolyn Williams), Molly (Cynthia Green) and Dot (Christine Doorman). Two male characters are Pat (Michael Honney) and Robert (Richard Saysell).
“The films show that old people often lead complex lives, but they can also be playful and wise. The stories touch on subjects that are relevant to older people.”
The group received a Creative Communities grant of $2000 to help cover costs, and they also thanked the many local businesses who let them film on their premises.
Altogether, the project took about 18 months.
“The actors had only ever had amateur theatre experience, so did a really good job. We didn’t have a script as such, but workshopped the storyline and then left the actors to ad lib. It brought a freshness and spontaneity to their performances which worked well.”
The films are being released on a weekly basis and all six will be available by the first week of November at: youtube.com/channel/UCPRUI5cgAtwWOovBzOkLWhQ