Brad Lichtenstein & Anne Basting - "Penelope"

Brad Lichtenstein & Anne Basting - "Penelope"

Premiere date: Jun 06, 2014

What happens when a nursing home decides to throw out the bingo boards and take on the Odyssey instead?  Penelope: The Documentary tells the story of how residents, some with severe dementia or wheel-chair bound, collaborate with playwright Anne Basting and Sojourn Theater to create “Finding Penelope”, a play reinterpreting Homer’s Odyssey to tell it from Penelope’s point of view. As we learned, some heroes stay at home!


Brad Lichtenstein | Director/Producer

Brad Lichtenstein is the president of 371. He is an award-winning filmmaker who's recent film, Emmy-nominated "As Goes Janesville", tells the story of laid-off workers and leaders in a Wisconsin GM town trying to reinvent their lives amid GM's collapse and a civil war over unions. It premiered on the PBS series "Independent Lens" in October of 2012.

Inspired by As Goes Janesville, he led the team that built BizVizz, a mobile app and website that gives users instant access to corporations’ effective tax rate, campaign contributions and government subsidies. With nearly 30,0000 users and a dozen partners, from United for a Fair Economy to US-PIRG and the AFL-CIO, BizVizz is a proven corporate accountability tool.

Brad’s latest film, Penelope, tells the story of a nursing home that heroically takes on the challenge of making an original play based on Homer’s Odyssey. His film Almost Home, about the residents and staff of a nursing home trying to make itself more humane, continues to bring the message of “culture change in long term care” to people who will soon find themselves caring for an older parent or friend. That film premiered also on the PBS series Independent Lens.

He is currently developing a film about race and reconciliation in the American South and in production on 3 projects: a documentary about small Jewish communities in far-flung places across the US that are on the verge of extinction; an hour of a 6-hour series about American trying to get by on minimum wage; and an investigative doc about a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.

371 also does work for select clients like Public Allies, City Year, Planned Parenthood and Marquette University.

Before making his own films, Brad associate produced FRONTLINE’s Peabody award-winning presidential election year special, Choice ’96, and Lumiere Production’s PBS series, With God on Our Side: The History of the Religious Right. With Lumiere, he produced and directed André’s Lives, a portrait of the “Jewish Schindler;” “Safe”, about domestic violence, “Caught in the Crossfire”, about Arab-Americans after 9/11, and the BBC/Court TV co-production of Ghosts of Attica, about the infamous 1971 prison uprising and aftermath, for which he was awarded a Dupont- Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism. His film, Almost Home, a PBS Independent Lens documentary about people who live and work in an elder-care community, continues to be featured in workshops on aging and caregiving 5 years since its premiere broadcast.

Brad’s work is supported by the Blue Mountain Center, The Brico Fund, Creative Capital, Helen Bader Foundation, the HKH Foundation, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the International Documentary Association, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Retirement Research Foundation, the Sheldon and Marianne Lubar Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.

Brad taught documentary production for 5 years at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he founded doc|UWM, a documentary film center that provides students with professional documentary experiences. Brad’s films can be seen in theaters, at festivals, in museums, and on television all over the world. He is active in his community, volunteering for his synagogue board, various Department of Aging committees, the Creative Alliance of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Film.

Anne Basting | Professor/Playwright

Anne Basting is Founder and Director of TimeSlips, and Professor of Theatre at the Peck School of the Arts.  Anne Basting coordinates Applied Theatre efforts in the department. With a PhD in Theatre Studies from University of Minnesota, Basting is both a creative artist and scholar. Her creative and scholarly work focus on bringing the transformative potential of theatre to health care settings, particularly through intergenerational efforts. She is the author of two books, including Forget Memory: Creating better lives for people with dementia (2009, Johns Hopkins UP), and dozens of articles and essays in a wide range of journals. Basting is the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship, a Brookdale National Fellowship and numerous major grants for her scholarly and creative endeavors. She is currently at work on the Islands of Milwaukee, a collaboration with Sojourn Theatre that aims to bring creative engagement to older adults living alone, and to catalyze public conversations about creating a more connected community. Basting founded and continues to facilitate the Creative Trust, an alliance to foster life-long learning through the arts.

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