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January 22, 2014

Stu Maddux to Receive the SAGE Advocacy Award at Creating Change 2014

StuSAGE is pleased to announce that the 2014 recipient of our annual SAGE Advocacy Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues is Stu Maddux, the award winning producer and director of independent documentaries about LGBTQ and LGBTQ history, including the remarkable and massively influential Gen Silent—which chronicles the lives of six LGBT elders as they navigate aging, caregiving, terminal illness, and loss.

In the last few decades, documentaries have had a profound impact on shifting public opinion, on raising awareness about important-though-neglected social issues, and on propelling forward a justice movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. But in the context of LGBT aging, no film has had a more profound impact on bringing to light the struggles of LGBT older people in the long-term care system than the documentary, Gen Silent. The award-winning documentary follows the lives of six LGBT elders in Boston—a beautiful though heart-wrenching film journey—yet its broader gift has been to animate a grassroots movement in support of LGBT elders, inspiring activists of all ages, all along the way.

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According to Serena Worthington, SAGE's Director of Community Advocacy and Capacity Building, “In the five years since I first saw a rough cut of the trailer for Gen Silent, the film has won over ten documentary film awards, including the Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at Frameline, The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival and screened hundreds of times in numerous settings."

To begin to provide a sense of the depth and breadth the reach of Gen Silent, here are a few statistics about the type of settings where it has screened:

  • Film Festivals—18 screenings
  • Documentary Film Festivals —49 screenings
  • Colleges and Universities— 38 screenings
  • LGBT, Aging, Social Work, Conferences —18 screenings (including our national SAGE conference)—18 screenings
  • Health care Systems (hospitals) — 6 screenings
  • Life Planning Events— 8 screenings
  • Aging Providers —30 screenings
  • Advocacy Events —38 screenings
  • National Employers— 6 screenings
  • Faith Settings —10 screenings
  • Fundraising Events —13 screenings  

Worthington continues, "almost every day in my conversations with LGBT and aging providers, activists, constituents, students, researchers and members of the media, someone cites this remarkable film as an inspiration, cause for action and—very often—for their realization that LGBT elders face unique challenges as they age.”

As Maddux puts it, “So much of the frustration that these LGBT elders face stems from the fact they must battle against issues of oppression, societal roles and self-worth they thought had been settled years before. Instead of enjoying the freedoms that emerged after the 1969 Stonewall riots, elders had to retreat from these hard-won victories. Often without the support of family, these individuals were forced to become silent rather than suffer social isolation from fellow residents or hostile discrimination from caregivers.”

The award will be presented at the 26th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change in Houston, TX on January 30th, during the opening plenary, starting at 8:00 pm. Creating Change, organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is the nation's pre-eminent political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBT social justice movement. During his acceptance speech, in honor of receiving the SAGE Award, Maddux will provide conference attendees with a link for a complimentary screening of Gen Silent which will good through February 5th.

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