The grants, presented by SIFF in association with True Productions and Áegis Living, will support Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday’s ‘Big Sonia’ and Kate Dandel’s ‘Gold Balls.’
The two feature-length documentaries, both of which focus on subjects over the age of 80, are the beneficiaries of a three-year pledge from True Productions founder Dwayne Clark and his wife, Terese.
The Seattle-based film, theater, and media production company will award one $50,000 grant annually during that time — though the competition was so strong in this, the program’s inaugural year, that Clark tapped Aegis Living, the retirement, assisted living, and Alzheimer’s care company of which he’s CEO, to support a second $50,000 grant.
Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday’s “Big Sonia” depicts 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski — who stands at a not-so-big 4’8″ — struggling with retirement and imparting life lessons after she’s served an eviction notice for John’s Tailoring, the last shop left in a dying suburban mall.
Kate Dandel’s “Gold Balls,” filmed at four locations around the country, depicts the competitors in the tennis national championships’ “ultra” senior division, raising questions about aging, mindset, and the power of setting goals well after retirement age.
Founded in 1976, the next edition of the Seattle International Film Festival runs from May 19 to June 12.