Next Year Jerusalem
EDITORS NOTE: The trailer for First Run Features', Next Year Jerusalem is what captured me. It was moving, the pace and shots outstanding and the music haunting. It reminded me of the thousands of armchair travelers who have been the life's blood of the 120 year old travelogue industry. These armchair voyagers attended until mental or physical abilities ended their loyal support. For the first two seasons of the renewed Omaha travel film series, a driver would bring our oldest patron, she loved attended and would not miss a show. For over 50 years she had been attending, but she was finally forced to stop at the age of 101.
Helen Downs, age 91 floats in the Dead Sea
Choosing how to live one's final chapter is the poignant subtext of Next Year Jerusalem, a lyrical and affecting portrait of eight nursing home residents (average age 91) who make a pilgrimage to Israel.
Next Year Jerusalem is less a story about tourists in a foreign land than it is a meditation on the sanctity of human experience and a tribute to the wisdom acquired in a lifetime – a true exploration of living and dying, hope and fear, travel and memory.
Those who spend their final days in a nursing home face a future with limited promise. But the promise of one last adventure raises the stakes. Director and cinematographer David Gaynes observes and presents the lives of the elderly travelers in an understated way, elegantly capturing both the quiet routines of nursing
A group of nursing home residents visits the Massada in Israel
Next Year Jerusalem is David Gaynes' third documentary feature and a continuation of his fascination with exploring the subtle distinctions between living and dying. Gaynes' first short documentary More Than Skin Deep (2002) was also shot at the same nursing home, the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, Connecticut.
72 Minutes / Color / Digital (DCP) / USA / English / 2014
Directed and Produced by: David Gaynes Produced by: Jessica Wolfson Executive Producer: Andrew Banoff Cinematographer: David Gaynes Editor: Aaron Wolfe Associate Producers: Carrie Frank, Deana Bedor Additional Editing: Mark Becker, David Gaynes Original Music: Christopher Garofalo Sound Recordist: Eric Budney Sound Mix and Design: Alex Noyes
FEATURING: Regine Arouette, 87; Helen Downs, 91; Sandy Levin, 82; Leslie Novis, 90; Selma Rosenblatt, 93; Harry Shell, 92; Bill Wein, 97; Juna Wein, 89; Andrew Banoff; Donnette Banton; Audrey Stein