'Lives Well Lived' Showcases the Greatest Generation


Last updated 1/4/2024 at 10:56pm | View PDF

Pictured at left is documentary filmmaker Sky Bergman with her grandmother, Evelyn Ricciuti.

"My 103-year-old Italian grandmother enjoyed exercise, making the best lasagna you've ever tasted, and being with family," wrote documentary filmmaker Sky Bergman in her director's statement for "Lives Well Lived."

"I started filming her cooking about five years ago when she was 99 years old," wrote Bergman. "I filmed her at the gym because I thought, no one will believe that my grandmother is still working out. I asked her if she could give me a few words of wisdom, and that was the beginning of this adventure.

"In our society, the elderly are often overlooked," she continued. "'Lives Well Lived' celebrates the incredible wit, wisdom and life experiences of older adults living full and meaningful lives in their later years. Their stories are about perseverance, the human spirit and staying positive during the great personal and historic challenges."

Bergman is currently working on two new film projects, but she continues to promote her seven-year-old documentary, "Lives Well Lived."

"It's an evergreen film," she told The Good Life. "It continues to do well. I think that a film like this will never go out of date."

Over the past seven years, the documentary has won awards at film festivals from San Diego to Maine. It has also been well received by older audiences as well as university students.

Bergman said the people interviewed in "Lives Well Lived" all have a resilience. "The people in the film are really positive people. They have a sense of purpose. Everyone had an amazing story to tell."

The stories come from people who escaped the Nazis, and those who fought in World War II. Forty people were interviewed for the documentary.

"They're the greatest generation because they lived through World War II," said Bergman. "People today are going through other things – the pandemic, climate change."

Other Projects

Bergman is currently working on two other films, "Mochitsuki" and "Prime Time Band."

Bergman described "Motchitsuki" as a "wonderful ceremony" and "a coming together of generations." The ancient tradition of preparing mochi to celebrate the Japanese New Year goes back hundreds of years.

The film focuses on one intergenerational community as they participate in the ceremonial pounding of the cooked rice, the forming of the warm mochi cakes, and finally eating the results. A preview for the film can be seen at http://www.mochi-film.com.

Bergman's most current project spotlights the Prime Time Band, a group of musicians mainly in their 60s to 80s.

"This film explores their musical renaissance, highlighting how rediscovering music in later years can bring a renewed sense of purpose. It's a celebration of diverse lives harmonizing through the power of music.

Artist Ciel Bergman.

"The Prime Time Band" features older musicians performing with young school students. Bergman sees it as the "circle of life."

Life Stories Wanted

The "Lives Well Lived" website encourages seniors to submit their stories for possible inclusion in the website's gallery.Visit http://www.lives-well-lived.com/add-your-story to participate.

The site is only accepting first-hand accounts, and Bergman has no plans to conduct another round of interviews for a "Lives Well Lived" sequel or series.

"I need to stop interviewing people or I'd never get a film done," she said.

To find out where to watch "Lives Well Lived," visit http://www.lives-well-lived.com/watch-the-film.


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