‘THE LAST ACT’: West Seattle filmmaker telling a story that’s both personal and universal

We’ve reported before on West Seattle filmmaker Amy Benson‘s work, including the award-winning “Drawing the Tiger.” This time, she’s telling a personal story – which is also one that’s ahead for us all, one way or another:

I am making my first personal documentary about my mom, Patsy Benson, a 92-year-old retired actress and homemaker who lives at The Kenney on Fauntleroy.

The film is called “The Last Act: A short documentary about Life and Death.” It follows my mom’s journey of deciding it is no longer safe to live on her own and finding a retirement community she can afford and feel at home — all while her best friend of 60 years is in hospice. It is a film about aging and preparing emotionally for the final stage of life. It is half verite documentary and half theatrical performance. Throughout, my mom performs monologues that we captured on the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center stage.

We are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for finishing funds for the film. We need to raise $14,300 by February 22. The campaign is going really well and I believe we will make our goal. Once we do, we plan on making a stretch goal to fund free screenings at senior settings in greater Seattle accompanied by a curriculum for seniors and their adult children/care partners.

We are on target to have the project completed by May. My mom and I will premiere it at The Kenney over the summer, as well as Kenyon Hall. It is edited by West Seattle resident Kristin Ougendal.

Even if you’re not interested in donating, check out the Kickstarter page to watch a two-minute video about the project, in which you’ll meet Amy’s mom and also hear from Amy, who explains she’s telling the story because she feels her mom’s approach to this stage of life is “both comforting and contagious.” (As somber as the subject matter may sound, the video is likely to make you smile.)

2 Replies to "'THE LAST ACT': West Seattle filmmaker telling a story that's both personal and universal"

  • Karen White February 11, 2023 (9:13 pm)

    What a delightful mother and daughter, cannot wait to see this!

  • brianF February 11, 2023 (9:46 pm)

    What an incredibly meaningful project. Thank you for sharing this and for alerting us about the opportunity to help move this forward. 

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