San Francisco filmmaker (and Oscar nominee!) Sari Gilman talks 'Kings Point'
SG That was the biggest challenge. I knew there was going to be sadness and darkness, and humor and lightness, and I had a sense of what I wanted that to be, but I knew from the beginning that it would be hard to achieve. Jeffrey and I spent a lot of time achieving the tone. It was kind of like salt and sugar — "A little sprinkle here, oh, now it's too dark, let's add more of the other." The feeling that I wanted to evoke, more than anything, was that certain feeling that I had when I was visiting there.
SFBG Had you always intended for Kings Point to be a short film?
SG No, I actually intended it to be a feature. It was in the cutting room that we decided to make it a short. A large part of that was because of the tone, actually — we had enough story to keep it going, but the tone of those stories were shifting the film in a direction that I wasn't comfortable with. It was a little more of that "cute old person" movie. Kitschy, kind of, "Look at the old people doing belly dancing," or whatever.
I was extremely sensitive to the fact that most people, when they heard about the film, would think that's what they were going to be seeing. I was a little crazy-determined not to make that movie, because that wasn't what my experience was. That's not what I saw. In cutting it down, we got rid of a lot of the lighter stuff, which is what helped us achieve the tone that we did.
SFBG There have been several films with themes about aging lately: Amour, Quartet, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (all 2012) come to mind. Why do you think that is?
SG Oh, I definitely want to see Amour. I think it's a moment whose time has come. As a population, the baby boomers have now started to retire, and in the next 20 years, we are going to see a major shift in the demographics of this country. There will be many, many more elderly than there are now. I think that people are starting to think about aging issues in a new way.
I truly hope Kings Point will encourage people to have those kinds of discussions. Nobody likes to grow old or think about what's going to happen, but the truth is that we kind of need to. There's a bit of a denial about the realities of aging; there's so much emphasis placed on being independent, self-reliant, and remaining active. On the cover of AARP Magazine, you always see pictures of, like, 75-year-olds on bicycles riding to the beach. And that's great, and everyone wants that to be their experience, but not everyone is so lucky. *