Film sparks talks on aging

Posted
By Emily Gabbert

Banner Correspondent



BENNINGTON - On Saturday, The Center for Communication in Medicine (CCM) hosted a special viewing of the 1989 film, Dad, in honor of the late Gary David Goldberg at Oldcastle Theatre.

Goldberg was a critically acclaimed writer, director, and producer who served on CCM's board of directors and had a home in Arlington. He passed away in 2013. Goldberg's film touched upon a family's struggle to cope with aging parents with a mixture of sensitivity and humor.

Dad follows busy executive John Tremont (Ted Danson) who returns home following his mother's (Olympia Dukakis) heart attack and has to take care of his aging father (Jack Lemmon). The film features Kathy Baker as Annie Tremont and Kevin Spacey as son-in-law Mario.

"What Gary wrote in this movie touches on many of the themes that we touch on," said Bernard Bandman, executive director and founder of CCM. "Our work helps people prepare for these conversations."

Proceeds from ticket sales are going to benefit CCM's SpeakSooner program. The program advocates for better communication between patients, families, and healthcare professionals.

The group holds both educational and entertaining events to help spread their message.

CCM believes that when communication lines are open between parties, healthcare delivery will improve. The organization has been recognized nationally for their work, according to Bernard Bandman. CCM was founded in 2006 by Bernard and Celia Engel Bandman in Bennington and is a nonprofit organization.

Aside from their special screening of Dad, the group hosts other film series with similar messages, Bernard Bandman said. About 100 people were estimated to have shown up for the event.

Goldberg's brother Stanley "Stan" Goldberg was in appearance for the film's screening and so was Gary's daughter Cailin Goldberg-Meehan a current resident of Arlington and a screenwriter. Both Goldberg-Meehan and Stan spoke on Gary Goldberg's behalf.

Goldberg-Meehan was presented with a present from both Bernard and Celia, that was a shirt given to an architect that worked on the family's Arlington house, while Gary was working on Dad. The shirt was from the movie. It was gifted as a way to say thank you to Gary for the work that he did with the CCM.

"Gary took a leadership role in expanding educational community roles," said Bernard Bandman. "He was a remarkable person and we're very fortunate to have had him in our lives."

Goldberg-Meehan spoke about how the film Dad was her father's way of channeling his complicated feelings about his mother's passing and about how Gary and his father's relationship changed. She touched upon how CCM impacted her father.

"Even though my dad was a professional communicator, he had trouble finding the words when five years ago, he woke up knowing something was wrong," said Goldberg-Meehan. "It was his friend Celia Bandman who took action, spoke for him, and brought him to the emergency room and facilitated the scan that revealed that he had a tumor growing in his brain. He died from that seven months later."

"If you had any doubt I can tell you that Celia and [Bernard] walk the walk," she continued, "and I know first-hand how vital their work is. I credit Celia with those extra seven months I got to spend with my dad."

"On behalf of my dad, the writer and director, please enjoy this movie," Goldberg-Meehan said. "But on behalf of my dad, as a CCM board member, please continue to support the critical work that they do - teaching people to find the words, so that if they don't have Celia Bandman of their own, they might be their own advocate, have more productive conversations with their medical team, and if they're very lucky, more time with their family."

Stan Goldberg said that his brother was always willing to give to others and he often confided in his older brother for advice - even when it came to directing and casting advice, which surprised Stan, who felt as though his brother had the better ideas. He told another story that gave audience members a glimpse into the characteristics that the late director had held.

"He called me up, `I'm doing this show Dad, it's based upon our dad and what he went through with lung cancer. I want the right people to do it and I had a person in mind I just fired James Caan.' I said, `you fired James Caan?' I suspected two kids were fighting and he fired James Caan and he's asking me, `what do you think of Ted Danson?' For what I had seen of him he was pretty good, he said `but yes he is pretty human and I'm only going to work with human beings that feel the way I do about the issues.'"

"Everything he did had to have an issue," Stan Goldberg continued. "And this was the greatest thing for me to be sharing in what he was doing, and I knew him the longest of anybody."

To learn more about CCM and SpeakSooner visit www.speaksooner.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpeakSooner/

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