PBS TV film “The Gerda that Remains” premieres Thu Feb 17, 2022, on Utah TV Channel 7; also streams online
Featured photo and all other photos (except where otherwise indicated) by Kelsie Moor (former KUER-, now independent videographer); and by other members of the filming/directing crew.
My family and I are so grateful for the amazing work Doug Fabrizio of KUER‘s RadioWest, Kelsie Moore (formerly KUER RadioWest-, now independent videographer), Josh Weathers (former KUER RadioWest-, now independent videographer) Elaine Clark (2004-2019 producer of KUER’s RadioWest, now KUER News Producer, Sally Schaum (PBS Utah producer), Brenton Winegar (PBS sound engineer), and many others have done over the past 6 years to document how my family and I live with my dementia. The resulting film will soon be available for public viewing.
Kelsie sitting on bed with Peter and Gerda
I would also like to thank my husband Peter, the rest of my family, and our close friends for being willing to let the camera crew into their lives. Peter, MAD, CKANs, and Sandi, you have always so very graciously supported me in participating in this film that I consider to be my last major act of storytelling (using of course, the incredible talents of the filming crew). Aristotle defined storytelling as “instructing and delighting.” With “delighting” he means that a story must persuade the audience that the narrators/characters are credible, appeal to the audience’s reason/logic, and—above all—engage their emotions. We hope that you, my readers and viewers, will not be so overcome by the story’s inevitable sadness that you miss the joy our family has in each other, the trust we have developed with each other over a lifetime, and our well-intentioned desire that our story will bring understanding; the sense that you’re not alone, whether you yourself have dementia or someone you love; the heroic labor of love that caretakers and other family members provide to a dementer; and the joy that persists for many years—now over a decade for us—after a dementia diagnosis.
Kanye, Ouma, Oupa, Aliya, Dante with back to camera—grandkids teach Ouma and Oupa one of their favorite boardgames. Ouma is on Kanye’s team, because she can’t follow the game any more. We won!
Thank you, dearest children and grandchildren, for taking time out of your busy young lives to participate in shoots and allow your privacy to be intruded upon by people you did not know at the beginning, but whom you learned to trust and open yourselves up to. Thank you, Sandi-my-sister-in-law (son-in-law Adam’s mom) for walking the life after brain-damage—after your stroke—with me. You inspire me with the example of still riding the bus, while pulling me by the elbow; relearning to knit and dragging me along; and raising a puppy, in snow, rain, and the heat of summer. Finally, Peter and I want you to know that we did not only want to do the film for you, my readers, and for you potential viewers, but also for selfish reasons—what a gift the filmmakers are allowing us to leave for our children and grandchildren when we ourselves can no longer tell our story!
The Salt Lake City Saunderses, Christmas 2020 at Marissa, Adam, and Dante’s house. Foreground, Newton, (selfie-taker), then clockwise: Peter, Marissa, Aliya (11) with Christmas puppy Ripley, Dante (8), Kanye (14), Adam, Sandi (Adam’s mom), Cheryl, Gerda.
Here is the information of the film broadcasting and a related event that happens 8 days earlier. I give the information in the form of questions I asked PBS Community Engagement Director Laura Dunham, together with her answers.
Gerda: We understand the film will be showing on Utah PBS TV channel 7.
Laura: Yes! The premier on Thu Feb 17 at 7 pm is announced on the landing page we created, www.pbsutah.org/gerda. It will be broadcast on Utah PBS channel 7 and simultaneously be streamed online. The film will again be broadcast and streamed on Mon Feb 21 at 11 pm.
Gerda: Since my blog reaches many people outside of Utah, is there something I can tell them about when they might see it? Will it be streamed afterward and if so when?
Laura: Absolutely! The film will be streamed across our video platform for free from the day after it airs (on Feb. 18). People can find more on our landing page www.pbsutah.org/gerda
Gerda, “koala-baring it” with Kelsie. Photo credit: Sally Schaum, PBS producer
Gerda: Anything else that would be helpful to wanna-be viewers?
Laura: I would encourage them to attend our virtual event on Wednesday Feb. 9 at 7 pm where they’ll get an exclusive interview with you and Doug, as well as a short interview with Kelsie and Sally! To register, click HERE. [If you register, they will send you a link a day or so before the event.]
Gerda: I know that you will be the moderator at the Feb 9 virtual event, Laura. Looking forward to meeting you face-to-face (pixel-to-pixel?) that night.
Another question: do you have any information about the possible wider/national broadcast you mentioned?
Laura: I don’t have any information about this right now, but we will DEFINITELY let you know when I find out! I do know that if it does go to a national broadcast, it means those in Utah who want to watch it must be members of PBS Utah to view it (it goes behind a pay wall).
Gerda: What about the book-club-in-a box? I presume you already have subscribers involve in that, but should you want more participants I can let “my people” know!
Laura: This is wonderful! Yes, I would love for you to let everyone know about the book club in a box we end up putting together. That will most likely happen this summer. We are always getting new book clubs signing up for it. You can learn more about how that program works here: www.pbsutah.org/bookclub