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Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts Sponsor: Massachusetts Cultural Council Sponsor: Florence Civic and Business Association

Young@Heart Chorus®
28 N. Maple Street
Florence, MA 01062
USA

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About the Film

 

The Walker George documentary "Young@Heart" is now available for instant viewing for all subscribers at netflix.com. Film clips of "Fix You" with Fred Knittle (RIP), "Nothing Compares 2 U" with Patsy Linderme (RIP), and "Forever Young" with soloists Elaine Fligman (RIP), Jack Schnepp, Lenny Fontaine (RIP), and Eileen Hall (RIP) can now be seen on our YouTube channel.

The Walker George film "Young@Heart", distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures in the US and Canada, had a successful run. "Young @ Heart" was released internationally in Cinemas in the UK, Switzerland, and in Australia, France, Algeria, Monaco, Morocco, Tunisia and Germany New Zealand and Fiji and Japan. Other countries where the film released are Spain, Israel, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, South Korea, Iceland and Italy, too.

The YOUNG@HEART SOUNDTRACK from Rhino contains 16 songs highlighted by the Young@Heart Chorus' renditions of the Ramone's "I Wanna Be Sedated," Bruce Springsteen's "Dancin' In The Dark," David Bowie's "Golden Years," Sonic Youth's "Schizophrenia," James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and Talking Head's "Road To Nowhere."

Never Too Old to Rock

Time revises every taste and closes every gap. To observe the Young@Heart Chorus, a fluctuating group of about two dozen singers whose average age is 80, perform "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees in Stephen Walker's documentary "Young@Heart" is to be uplifted, if slightly unsettled.

Sung by people approaching the end of their lives, the song is no longer about strutting through the urban jungle with your elbows out; it is a blunt survival anthem. These singers, most of them well- rehearsed amateurs, refuse to go gently into that good night. For them music is oxygen.

When they perform punk classics like "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash or "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones, the notion of a generation gap begins to crumble. Apart from the rebellious attitude behind the songs' creation, these are elementary meat-and-potatoes tunes: "Sing Along With Mitch" material but with a hip credential.

The movie concentrates on the rigorous two-month preparations for a 2006 concert at the Academy Theater in Northampton. Guided by the chorus's demanding longtime director, Bob Cilman, the members are learning new material, including "Yes We Can Can," the Allen Toussaint hit for the Pointer Sisters, whose lyrics repeat "can" 71 times in intricate, staccato patterns; Sonic Youth's enigmatic, equally demanding "Schizophrenia"; and the Coldplay ballad "Fix You."

The fact that the chorus's members are willing to tackle such daunting material attests to the spirit of adventure that is a crucial spur to their shared bonhomie. More than one member admits that his or her favorite music is classical, opera or show tunes. These rock songs are unfamiliar. Instead of comfortable walks around the block, rehearsals (there are three a week) are demanding hikes over hilly terrain. The challenge only makes it more exciting.

— By STEPHEN HOLDEN, New York Times

 

YOUNG@HEART FILM HONORS & AWARDS

2006
Time Out New York Best Documentary
The Radio Times Best Documentary
 
2007
Rose d’Or Festival, Best of 2007 and Best Arts Documentary (Switzerland)
Los Angeles Film, Festival Best International Feature (USA)

2008
Atlanta Film Festival, Audience Award (USA)
Bergen International Film Festival, Audience Award (Norway)
Warsaw International Film Festival Best Documentary (Poland)
Paris Cinema International Film Festival, Jury Prize and Audience Award (France)
Nashville Independent Film Festival Impact of Music Award (USA)
Sydney Film Festival, Audience Award for Best Documentary (Australia)
Los Angeles Film Festival, Humanitas Award for Best Documentary (USA)
Ghent Film Festival, Audience Award (Belgium)
The International Documentary Awards, Alan Ett Best Music Award (USA)
The Festival D’Automne, Audience Award (France)
Les Rencontres Cinématographiques de Dijon, Audience Award (France)

2009
Christopher Awards, Christopher Award for Film (USA)
The Keswick Film Festival, Audience Award (England)
DVD Critics, Best Non-Fiction Title (USA)
AG Kino-Gilde German Art House Cinemas, Best Documentary (Germany)