In a longtime ritual, retirees from the Northeast have fled the cold for life in Florida, seeking better weather and a less-stressful lifestyle. During the 1970s, with an affordable down payment, they could become condominium owners at Kings Point in Delray Beach, Fla. Today, most of the seniors there are well into their 70s and 80s, and many have been living in the resort for decades.
Nominated for an Academy Award® this year for Best Documentary Short, KINGS POINT tells the stories of five seniors living in a typical American retirement resort. These men and women came to Florida decades ago with their spouses by their sides and their health intact, and now grapple with love, loss and the universal desire for human connection. Directed by Emmy®-nominated editor Sari Gilman, the film is a bittersweet look at the national obsession with self-reliance, exploring the tension between living and aging, while underscoring society’s ambivalence toward growing older. KINGS POINT debuts MONDAY, MARCH 11 (9:00-9:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
Other HBO playdates: March 14 (9:00 a.m.), 16 (9:30 a.m.), 19 (1:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 22 (4:30 p.m.) and 24 (6:15 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: March 13 (8:00 p.m.), 23 (7:35 a.m.) and 26 (5:40 a.m.)
Gilman, whose grandmother was a resident of Kings Point, began filming ten years ago. She wanted to learn more about this uniquely American community, and explore the interplay between the desire for independence and the common need for community. Notes Gilman, “It is their lives and their voices that, for me, have come to represent the universal longing for human connection, and the complexities of aging in a society that extols the virtue of self-reliance.”
Many of the residents featured in KINGS POINT are widows or widowers looking for companionship that is often fleeting. They chat with friends, go on excursions to the mall and take part in activities like dances and exercise classes, but loneliness is a reality. “Kings Point is a place to be where you’re not alone,” explains resident Jane. “You’re alone, but you’re not alone.”
Some subjects express ambivalence about moving in with their grown children, fearing a loss of independence. Returning to New York to be with her family is not an option, notes resident Mollie, observing, “They have their own lives. You have your life…It’s not a very good trade.” Others worry that their relationships, both romantic and platonic, are superficial and often accompanied by fear of losing yet another friend or loved one.
In addition to recently receiving an Oscar® nomination, KINGS POINT won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at 2012’s Silverdocs Documentary Festival and was nominated for Best Short last year at the International Documentary Association awards.
KINGS POINT is Sari Gilman’s directorial debut. She has been a documentary film editor for 15 years, receiving an Emmy® nomination in the category of Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming for HBO’s 2007 documentary “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.”
For more on the film, visit facebook.com/HBODocs and twitter.com @HBODocs #KingsPoint.
KINGS POINT is produced and directed by Sari Gilman; produced by Jedd Wider and Todd Wider; edited by Jeffrey Friedman; co-produced by Susannah Ludwig; cinematography by Daniel B. Gold, Gabriel Miller and Toby Oppenheimer; original music by Miriam Cutler.