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‘Long Term Care’ tackles a common experience


Leaving a parent on the first night after moving them into a long-term care home is a difficult moment that many in this province have experienced.

It’s a moment that filmmaker Lisa Vatcher wanted to capture accurately in the new short film “Long Term Care.” Her mother went through that process in 2010 when her grandmother was admitted to a long-term care facility as a Level 4 care patient.

“It was a really big shift in the family, and it kind of changed the trajectory of the family, but as well, it kind of brought up a lot of questions. Going into a place like that, would you want to have your mind beautifully intact, your body faltering, or would you rather kind of not know? I think both ways are equally hard,” Vatcher said.

One night, by accident, she wound up on the floor dedicated to patients with dementia.

“It’s like a twilight zone from what me and my family were going through. For one, people are up and moving. On my grandmother’s ward it was mostly Level 3 care, so bed-ridden (residents). But up there, they were able to wander,” she said.

“They’re very friendly and they want to talk. ... I just remember leaving that night and thinking God, that’s got to be so difficult for families. You’re really losing grip on that person, and they’re losing their memories, and some memories are coming back and some are fading out.”

Vatcher wrote and produced the 16-minute short, which is directed by her husband Ian Vatcher (also the director of photography). It’s about a father and son, Charlie (played by John Pike) and Sam Pike (played by Aidan Flynn), who are coming to grips with Charlie’s admission into a long-term care home’s floor for dementia patients.

 

A common experience

It’s an increasingly common situation in Newfoundland and Labrador, whose aging population is already the oldest in Canada.

“You see the big facility that was just built down by Pleasantville? In a way, I think it’s kind of prepping for the onslaught of admissions into long-term care homes that we’re going to see over the next decade to 20 years,” Vatcher said.

While Vatcher’s experience with her grandmother was different in many ways from what Charlie and Sam go through in her film, she drew upon common elements, like the way a person feels when they leave their parent for the first time, or the way families struggle to make a clinical environment look like home.

She also did her research.

“I talked to a lot of folks when I was writing it, because I wanted to do it justice. Obviously some liberties are taken with film to make it more cinematic — the whole idea of memory, and long-term memory versus short-term memory, how they can have complete switches in personality. I did a lot of research on that to ensure that it came through well,” she said. “Our story editor, for example. She had a relative who had gone through it, so it was really great to have her editing our story”

Reaction to the film so far shows she did what she set out to do. At its debut at the Atlantic Film Festival In Halifax, she was relieved to hear the audience’s reaction. She said watching it with the full house was like being on a rollercoaster.

“The biggest thing for me was the film, while at its core, is a very tough subject, there’s definitely a lot of Newfoundland humour in there. I really wanted Charlie to maintain his clever grandfather Newfoundland wittiness that you see so often in older age, so hearing the theatre laugh at the moments I had written — that was probably the most stressful but also the most rewarding part. Because being funny is a really difficult thing and it’s really scary when it gets put out there,” she said.

The screening was followed by a question and answer period.

“We didn’t really get any questions, but this one guy got up and he said: ‘I’m dealing with this exact thing right now with my mother. She was just admitted into a home. It’s really hard, and I just want to thank you guys for covering such a difficult topic that people don’t really talk about, and you did it justice. and there’s moments there, like leaving your parent for the first night, you captured it perfectly.’

“So that felt really, really good.”

 

Debut effort

The film, made possible through NIFCO’s Picture Start program, is Lisa Vatcher’s first crack at writing and producing a film and Ian Vatcher’s directorial debut. Both worked on “Republic of Doyle” in different capacities: Lisa in communications, and Ian as “super technically skilled camera operator/lighting ninja.”

Vatcher credits the show with being a launching point for a lot of people in the local film industry.

“I was able to be a fly on the wall, listening to what the producers had to say and how they worked things and budgets and stuff like that. It’s kind of how I learned, definitely when it came to budgeting, and crewing up and hiring,” she said.

 

St. John’s premiere

“Long Term Care” will make its debut in St. John’s Friday night as part of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

“I think it’s going to be a whole other level back here with friends and family and cast and crew. Cast in particular. I know the gentleman who played the older man, Charlie (John Pike), he’s really looking forward to it. This is his acting debut. So I’m really excited to look out into the crowd and see him there and see everybody else.”

The film will screen along with eight other shorts during the festival’s “SJIWFF 2015 Friday Late Shorts” on Oct. 23, beginning at 9 p.m. at the LSPU Hall. Tickets can be bought online at rca.nf.ca.

 

 

FUN FACT

The short film “Long Term Care” was shot on a training floor at the Miller Centre.

“We had a tough time finding a location for this, because obviously you can’t shoot in a functioning long-term care facility,” said writer/producer Lisa Vatcher. “The Centre for Nursing Studies really stepped up and they, over the course of the weekend, gave us their training floor and we were able to transform it into what looked like a long-term care facility.”

It’s a moment that filmmaker Lisa Vatcher wanted to capture accurately in the new short film “Long Term Care.” Her mother went through that process in 2010 when her grandmother was admitted to a long-term care facility as a Level 4 care patient.

“It was a really big shift in the family, and it kind of changed the trajectory of the family, but as well, it kind of brought up a lot of questions. Going into a place like that, would you want to have your mind beautifully intact, your body faltering, or would you rather kind of not know? I think both ways are equally hard,” Vatcher said.

One night, by accident, she wound up on the floor dedicated to patients with dementia.

“It’s like a twilight zone from what me and my family were going through. For one, people are up and moving. On my grandmother’s ward it was mostly Level 3 care, so bed-ridden (residents). But up there, they were able to wander,” she said.

“They’re very friendly and they want to talk. ... I just remember leaving that night and thinking God, that’s got to be so difficult for families. You’re really losing grip on that person, and they’re losing their memories, and some memories are coming back and some are fading out.”

Vatcher wrote and produced the 16-minute short, which is directed by her husband Ian Vatcher (also the director of photography). It’s about a father and son, Charlie (played by John Pike) and Sam Pike (played by Aidan Flynn), who are coming to grips with Charlie’s admission into a long-term care home’s floor for dementia patients.

 

A common experience

It’s an increasingly common situation in Newfoundland and Labrador, whose aging population is already the oldest in Canada.

“You see the big facility that was just built down by Pleasantville? In a way, I think it’s kind of prepping for the onslaught of admissions into long-term care homes that we’re going to see over the next decade to 20 years,” Vatcher said.

While Vatcher’s experience with her grandmother was different in many ways from what Charlie and Sam go through in her film, she drew upon common elements, like the way a person feels when they leave their parent for the first time, or the way families struggle to make a clinical environment look like home.

She also did her research.

“I talked to a lot of folks when I was writing it, because I wanted to do it justice. Obviously some liberties are taken with film to make it more cinematic — the whole idea of memory, and long-term memory versus short-term memory, how they can have complete switches in personality. I did a lot of research on that to ensure that it came through well,” she said. “Our story editor, for example. She had a relative who had gone through it, so it was really great to have her editing our story”

Reaction to the film so far shows she did what she set out to do. At its debut at the Atlantic Film Festival In Halifax, she was relieved to hear the audience’s reaction. She said watching it with the full house was like being on a rollercoaster.

“The biggest thing for me was the film, while at its core, is a very tough subject, there’s definitely a lot of Newfoundland humour in there. I really wanted Charlie to maintain his clever grandfather Newfoundland wittiness that you see so often in older age, so hearing the theatre laugh at the moments I had written — that was probably the most stressful but also the most rewarding part. Because being funny is a really difficult thing and it’s really scary when it gets put out there,” she said.

The screening was followed by a question and answer period.

“We didn’t really get any questions, but this one guy got up and he said: ‘I’m dealing with this exact thing right now with my mother. She was just admitted into a home. It’s really hard, and I just want to thank you guys for covering such a difficult topic that people don’t really talk about, and you did it justice. and there’s moments there, like leaving your parent for the first night, you captured it perfectly.’

“So that felt really, really good.”

 

Debut effort

The film, made possible through NIFCO’s Picture Start program, is Lisa Vatcher’s first crack at writing and producing a film and Ian Vatcher’s directorial debut. Both worked on “Republic of Doyle” in different capacities: Lisa in communications, and Ian as “super technically skilled camera operator/lighting ninja.”

Vatcher credits the show with being a launching point for a lot of people in the local film industry.

“I was able to be a fly on the wall, listening to what the producers had to say and how they worked things and budgets and stuff like that. It’s kind of how I learned, definitely when it came to budgeting, and crewing up and hiring,” she said.

 

St. John’s premiere

“Long Term Care” will make its debut in St. John’s Friday night as part of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival.

“I think it’s going to be a whole other level back here with friends and family and cast and crew. Cast in particular. I know the gentleman who played the older man, Charlie (John Pike), he’s really looking forward to it. This is his acting debut. So I’m really excited to look out into the crowd and see him there and see everybody else.”

The film will screen along with eight other shorts during the festival’s “SJIWFF 2015 Friday Late Shorts” on Oct. 23, beginning at 9 p.m. at the LSPU Hall. Tickets can be bought online at rca.nf.ca.

 

 

FUN FACT

The short film “Long Term Care” was shot on a training floor at the Miller Centre.

“We had a tough time finding a location for this, because obviously you can’t shoot in a functioning long-term care facility,” said writer/producer Lisa Vatcher. “The Centre for Nursing Studies really stepped up and they, over the course of the weekend, gave us their training floor and we were able to transform it into what looked like a long-term care facility.”

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