Have you ever come across a movie that just left you feeling indescribably good? Or a movie that made you stop and think about life around you, the people you see everyday or don’t see, or even your own actions? That one film where you just had to tell someone about what you discovered? These are all components to what makes a Heartfilm. COR sets aside a night once a month for people to come and share an experience together in front a movie screen. There’s sure to be laughter, sometimes tears, the must-have popcorn and great conversation.
My name is Staci Lewis. If you’ve hung around the COR offices, then some of you may know me as “Ben’s wife.” I have joined creative collaboration with Nancy for this year’s Heartfilms and will be presenting these wonderful movies on Thursday evenings, once a month. Movies are probably the closest thing to a hobby that I have. Some of my fondest memories growing up were when my dad would introduce to me one of his favorite films. It was our father-daughter time to sit together and watch a film like Gone with the Wind and then see my dad quote Vivien Leigh, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again,” in his most melodramatic southern drawl. Ok, so maybe you have to know my dad for that to be funny. But I do love films and I love Nancy’s concept for Heartfilms. I hope to do her brainchild justice this year and in the process I also look forward to making new friends.
When my husband, Ben, and I lived in South Africa, we would walk to a little corner video store that had the largest collection of British films and television shows. I would pick random films and some would be a hit while others left Ben and I with blank stares wondering what the British were thinking. This is how I came across our first film. But don’t worry; I went for the former reaction for our first Heartfilm. Calendar Girls is sure to set our 2011 calendar of films off on the right foot.
Calendar Girls is a story of friendship, women’s creativity, and finding a sense of freedom. When a member of the Rylstone Women’s Institute of North Yorkshire, played by Julie Walters (Harry Potter), finds that her husband has cancer, she and her best friend played by Helen Mirren (The Queen) decide to change up the annual calendar fundraiser by posing nude to raise money for a new sofa in the cancer wing at the hospital. While posing nude seems like an extreme for a group of 50 something women to do in order to raise money, you see how sincere their motives are in helping their friend. What I love about this movie is that it has you laughing throughout it but maintains the heart as the center of everything.
We’ll be showing Calendar Girls on Thursday, January 20 at 6pm at COR offices. Directions to the COR offices can be found on the COR website at http://www.corhome.org.
Also, keep in mind this year’s scheduled dates for Heartfilms will be listed on the website http://corhome.org/heartfilms. I am excited to share these movies that Nancy and I have come across in our years of film-watching experience. I hope to see you there.
When I was 18 years old, I packed up my little Hyundai Accent and moved exactly 17 miles away from home in the pursuit of my college education. I was on my own at last. In fact, I was feeling rather grown-up. Of course, there were times when I would go back home to visit those that raised me. During one of these visits, sitting with my family, there was a moment where I knew home was always going to be home. My dad is always going to break into song at random moments. My brother is always going to try and scare me during the most suspenseful part of a movie. And my mom is always going to sneak food in my bag before I leave. It’s the family I grew up with and love to death and I wouldn’t trade their idiosyncrasies for anything.
This month’s Heartfilm also explores this relationship of family, where one can find a sense of simplicity and acceptance. In Shower, a wealthy big-city executive, Da Ming, returns to his boyhood home, where his aging father and developmentally disabled brother run an old-fashioned communal bathhouse that’s threatened by modern progress. At first, Da longs to return to his job. But soon, the languid pace and abundant camaraderie of the bathhouse, where men gather to chat and play games, has Da thinking twice about leaving his family and reevaluates what his real values are. I love how this film is able to beautifully show relationships between a son and his family and a father and son with a community. It also shows the humor in the everyday life of a Chinese bathhouse. The characters are loveable, the water is inviting, and the culture is vibrant. Come join us at the COR offices to watch the movie, Shower, on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at our new time 6:30pm. For directions or more information about the film please visit www.corhome.org/heartfilms.
Look forward to seeing you then!
So my husband, Ben, says I have a tendency to play out whatever TV show I’m into at the moment. I tried learning Salsa dancing from the Internet when “Dancing with the Stars” was on television. And then I kept panicking that I was pregnant every time I wanted a pickle after watching the show, “I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant.”
Most recently my addiction has been the show called “Who Do You Think You Are?” where celebrities go on their own personal journey’s tracing their family ancestry all over the country. And in true “Staci fashion” I got all inspired and went online to trace the people from whence I came. Lo and behold, I discovered I’m Irish! Even though there may be over 300 years of melting in the pot since they immigrated in 1703. But I feel I can now look at this upcoming St. Patrick’s Day with a new found “Irish Pride.”
Just as my ancestors emigrated from Ireland for a different life, so is the story of this month’s Heartfilm. In America, is about an Irish family who, after enduring tragic loss in Ireland, move to America so the father can pursue acting in New York City during the 1980’s. The family endures hardships as well as moments of joy and togetherness. This month’s movie is not a laugh-a-minute film but it definitely finds a way to touch the heart. It’s a real depiction of a real family with real struggles. But with the 2 daughters as the heroines of the film, hope can be seen in every moment as well.
So come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some Irish folk and an Irish movie! In America, will be showing on Thursday evening, March 17th at 6:30pm in the COR offices. And a thank you to all who came last month that led to such great discussion and thoughts. And I look forward to equally good conversation this coming week.
For directions to COR offices and more information about the film, you can visit www.corhome.org/heartfilms. For any questions or comments you can email gro.e1369191000mohro1369191000c@sml1369191000iftra1369191000eh1369191000.
April…The month of showers (along with snow and hail for Spokane), my birthday and Earth Day. My participation in Earth Day goes way back. All the way back to my single digit years, in fact. When I was 8 years old, my elementary school had a sort of campaign on ways to save the planet. I remember my entire school receiving baby fir trees to take home and plant. Always one to be inspired by knowledge, I promptly took my fir tree home on the school bus, dug a hole in my mom’s backyard, and planted my little 6 inch tall fir tree. And almost everyday for the next couple months, I would diligently make my little hike down to my tree and water all the branches with my spray bottle. I felt quite proud of my little contribution to saving the planet. Little did I know a spray bottle misting the branch’s needles would not have that much impact on the success of its growth. But I was young and optimistic about my tree’s future then.
I believe our society has seen a shift in our view of environmentalism since the mid 1990’s. Back then, the focus of environmentalism was to “Save the trees!”, “Save the rain forest!”, and “Save the whales!” Just as my school had orchestrated distribution of the fir trees for planting, we figured we had to go outside our everyday choices to save the environment. Today the buzzwords are “ go green,” “carbon footprint,” and “sustainability,” all pointing to personal choice. We’ve internalized how we impact the environment in our everyday lives from choosing to purchase a Starbucks paper cup that is biodegradable to buying energy efficient light bulbs for our house to paperless billing for our bills.
And ready…here’s where this month’s heartfilm fits in. “No Impact Man: The Documentary,” is a film demonstrative of today’s environmentalism culture. It is one family’s attempt at having their lifestyle reflect a no net impact on the environment. The documentary follows Colin Beaven, his wife and 2 year old daughter’s everyday choices to minimize their carbon footprint from no paper products (including toilet paper) to only eating locally grown food to eventually no electricity in their apartment. The great thing about how this documentary is filmed is it’s not preaching or guilting the audience in any way. It’s Beavan’s own curiosity and concern that drive his year long experiment. With Earth Day approaching at the end of this month, “No Impact Man: The Documentary,” is perfect for getting you to think about your own impact on the environment as well as satisfy curiosity about if a no net impact on the environment is even possible. And in my case, answer the question, “Is life possible without toilet paper?”
“No Impact Man: The Documentary” will be showing at the COR offices this coming Thursday, April 14th at 6:30pm. As always, I look forward to seeing everyone as well as the interesting discussion sure to follow this thought provoking documentary. Any questions or comments feel free to email me at gro.e1369191000mohro1369191000c@sml1369191000iftra1369191000eh1369191000. For directions or more information about the film be sure to visit our website at www.corhome.org/heartfilms.
The longest hour of my life was on a motorcycle trip in South Africa. My husband, Ben, and I rented a motorcycle to go camping outside Cape Town. After calculating the mileage and speed limits I figured it would only take a couple hours to get to the Cederberg Nature Reserve to the campground. With me clinging onto to Ben, going 70 mph, loaded with a front pack and a back pack, I figured we could reach the Reserve before dark and we would be setting up our camp and be tucked away cozily before nightfall. We quickly discovered, as luxurious as this travel method sounds, the weight of the packs took their toll we had to take a few more rest stops than expected.
By the time we reached the turn-off for camp it was twilight. As darkness quickly began to surround us, we began the 10 miles of winding gravel road through the Algeria mountains known for it’s abundance of leopards. Ben tried to switch on the lights of the motorcycle, nothing happened. He flipped it back and forth again but still no light. Here we were in the African wilderness without a house in sight riding a motorcycle on a gravel road in what appeared to be a pass with steep drop-offs on one side and who knew how many yellow eyes where waiting for us to drop by for a bedtime snack. At this point, I remembered our flashlights. In all of the surrounding darkness we had this one little light piercing the night. With me vigilantly pointing the small beam of light, minutes passed like hours. Ben slowly followed the light down the other side of the pass. We eventually made it to the campground safely.
Our next Heartfilm is Life is Beautiful. This story portrays the thin stream of light in one of the darkest times of humankind, the holocaust. The narrative begins with a love story between a Jewish waiter, Guido, and local school teacher before World War II. With all of Guido’s charming comedic antics to “get-the-girl,” it is easy to find yourself charmed and falling in love with the characters. Years later, after a wedding and a child, Nazi’s come for the Italian Jews and the family is taken to the concentration camp. In these darkest of circumstances, Guido finds a way to keep his 4 year old son’s spirits alive by cleverly inventing a game for his son to play. For a film in the World War II film genre, it is anything but the usual story of the brutality of war and genocide. Instead, it is focuses on a beam of light, a hope, in the darkest of times. Just as that small beam of light guided us through the Reservation, Guido’s ability to find humor and cleverly bring the game to life for his son was the small beam that guided his son through certain death to find his life.
May’s Heartfilm is going to be shown this Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 6:30pm at the COR Offices. Please come join us for a moving cinematic experience with Life is Beautiful. For any questions or comments feel free to contact me at gro.e1369191000mohro1369191000c@sml1369191000iftra1369191000eh1369191000. Directions to COR offices and more information about the film is at www.corhome.org/heartfilms.
It seems like that moment with your significant other where you are convinced you’re 100% right and they are convinced they are 100% right is inevitable in a relationship. And the more they discuss they try to convince you of their opinion, the stronger you hold to yours until the stubbornness of both of you becomes so engrained you have to leave it unfinished. Heated debates like this can sometimes be comical when the cookies start to burn in the oven because both of you refuse to get out of your chair to get them. But these kinds of debates can also divide as well as heal. It opens eyes and closes them.
Sound and Fury phenomenally presents the political and emotional turmoil between two brothers in deciding to get a cochlear implants that would allow their deaf children to hear. One brother from the hearing culture believes this miracle device would give his child the most opportunities. While the brother from the deaf culture sees it as a way of separating his child from their culture and language. The documentary follows the families and communities surrounding these children and the decisions the parents are going to make.
Come join us this Thursday for the showing of Sound and Fury, an Oscar nominated documentary. We will be showing the movie at 6:30pm at COR offices on Thursday, June 23, 2011. Directions to the offices can be found at www.corhome.org/heartfilms. Any questions or comments, you can write to gro.e1369191000mohro1369191000c@sml1369191000iftra1369191000eh1369191000. Look forward to seeing everyone on Thursday!
And a reminder for this summer schedule. This will be our last heartfilm for the summer until the beginning of the school year in September. If you need any reminders of the schedule, the list of films and dates can be found at http://.corhome.org/heartfilms. Thanks for a great first half of the year and everyone have a wonderful summer!
P.S. You may have noticed this email wasn’t up to my usual par, a little shorter even. And I ended up getting it sent out later than I would have liked. Well, there’s a good reason for it this week. My husband and I found out some pretty big news recently. We’re expecting a beautiful baby in February 2012. We were able to share the exciting news with our family this weekend. So thank you for your patience.
I’m only 24 years old but I’ve noticed I’m becoming increasingly more conservative with age. I’ve been driving around with my husband, Ben, for over 5 years. I’ve never really had a problem with his driving. Probably because I was too googly-eyed at him in those early days. I was more focused on his chiseled jaw line and the cute profile of his nose than the actually driving bit. But more recently I’ve sure taken notice and it’s begun to drive me up the wall. Albeit the extreme of “drive me up the wall,” could be due to pregnancy hormones at this point, but I still feel valid.
I’ve been working on him for awhile now trying to convince him he’s wrong and I’m right. Really this is true about everything in our lives but for now I’ve decided to focus on his driving methods. I’ve come to the realization that convincing him to change his way of thinking feels almost insurmountable. He’s just so stubborn. However, we’ve now come to a stale mate in this argument, going in circles with our reasoning. He feels that my passenger seat driver tendencies are a demonstration of not having trust in him. While I feel him constantly ignoring my fear of ticketing is lack of respect for me and my feelings. We’ve even brought others in on this conversation to no avail. The women seeming to side with me and the men seeming to side with him. And round and round we go.
This merry-go round of opinions and feelings resulting in not being able to see change on either side rings true for another issue in our nation today. Our education system. This month’s Heartfilm, Waiting for Superman, is a brilliant documentary presenting this very problem along with other concerns in our children’s public school system. By shedding light on failing public schools it brings to the forefront the resulting consequences for the future of the United States. Anyone who has had experience with our education system whether parent, student, or teacher may know a lot of what this movie presents already. But before you get bogged down believing that change for our nation’s education is at it’s own stale mate, this documentary also examines options to improve public education. There are ways to get help to teachers and students they so desperately need. Although this change won’t be easy.
Come see this Sundance Audience Award winner for Best Documentary for this month’s Heartfilm. Waiting for Superman has been a buzz ever since it was shown at Sundance Film Festival last year so come see what it’s all about. Where our education system is today and where it will be years from now will affect us all. The showing starts at 6:30pm, Thursday evening on September 15, 2011. It will be shown at the COR offices. For directions to COR offices or more information about the film you can visit www.corhome.org/heartfilms. For any comments or questions you can also email me at gro.e1369191000mohro1369191000c@sml1369191000iftra1369191000eh1369191000 I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and I look forward to getting back to our wonderful Heartfilm conversations in a couple weeks!
I grew up with a constant playmate whether I wanted to or not, my younger brother, Jared. Being only 22 months apart, we grew up being pretty close. We would always be playing with each other and I would direct him in the paths I thought he should go. Being only 22 months apart also meant we tormented each other. There wasn’t a shortage of hair pulling and exclamations of, “Mom, she/he’s staring at me!” It’s the circle of a healthy sibling love/hate relationship when you’re 7 and 5. But we always knew when to come together for the “greater good.”
One of these moments of coming together pertained to the greater good of keeping Mom happy. Growing up, I remember my mother having several fascinating figurines. Fascinating to a 7 and 5 year old meant moving parts and lights. Most of them she would bring out at Christmas time. The best Christmas display had Santa Claus putting presents under a Christmas tree that lit up with multi color lights. There were also two little children peeping at Santa Claus from behind a door that opened and closed. I loved winding up the accompanying music and watching the whole magical Christmas scene unfold.
However, this Christmas display’s life expectancy was bound to be short with little Staci and Jared hands around. I don’t remember exact details, but I’m sure it was Jared who dropped it one day and it broke. The solution we brilliantly thought of and regularly employed in other scenarios was to hide the broken pieces behind the couch in hopes Mom wouldn’t find it. The longer mom didn’t know about it, the longer Mom was happy. Of course, while we went in together for the greater good in hiding the evidence, there was an unspoken assumption that if Mom did find the broken pieces, you better be quick and blame the other sibling for breaking it before they blamed you.
This month’s film, Children of Heaven, is a depiction of an Iranian brother and sister’s relationship as well. Just like my brother and I, when the greater good arises this sibling duo find a way to make a frustrating situation work when the brother loses his sister’s shoes. Their family doesn’t have the money to get the sister new shoes so the brother and sister devise a plan to share the brother’s shoes during the day. It’s a beautiful story of love and trust between these siblings. The actor’s that play the brother and sister are absolutely adorable and the story is sweet and pure. It’s a very enjoyable and heartwarming film with a look into not only a sibling relationship but Iranian culture as well.
Come enjoy this film with us this coming Thursday, October 20th, at 6:30pm at COR offices. The film will be shown in the Persian language with English subtitles. You’re sure to leave with a smile on your face and great conversation with your fellow film watchers. If you want any more information about the film or need directions to COR offices, please visit our website at www.corhome.org/heartfilms. If you have any questions or further comments, feel free to email gro.e1369191000mohro1369191000c@sml1369191000iftra1369191000eh1369191000. Thank you so much and look forward to seeing you!
Let’s face it, life gets hectic and it gets hectic quick. Summer was lovely with the warm weather and lazy weekends. But now school is in session and work is short staffed causing the Autumn run-around to be in full force. As of late, I sometimes wonder what “down time” is. But when I find I need to pause, I have my go to…my nieces. I lose track of time watching and playing with them. I find these children thoroughly entertaining. All I have to do is watch 1 year old Molly master her zombie walk or her twin, Allie, giggle and giggle when I say I’m going to attack her foot or have 2 ½ year old Clara put her baby doll up her shirt saying she wants to be like me and life slows down for these moments.
Sometimes we need a kid to remind us how to laugh at life. And that’s pretty much the whole thought behind why I chose this months heartfilm, Mad Hot Ballroom. It is a wonderfully entertaining documentary about a group of 11 year olds in New York City’s public schools who are learning ballroom dance as part of a school program. The brilliance behind what makes this film so fun and uplifting is just watching kids be kids. You see their initial reluctance at learning dance but they soon grow to enjoy it. You will also see this transformation extends beyond the ballroom floor. For that wonderfully feel good movie that will have you laughing and being inspired, this is the week to come join us for heartfilms. The film will be shown at the COR offices this Thursday.