How a comedy writer in Hollywood came to premiere his award-winning short film at a mobile home park in Renton was luck of the draw, literally.
Sy Rosen, who wrote for TV shows including “M.A.S.H,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Rhoda,” “Taxi,” “The Wonder Years” and “Frasier” is also a humor columnist for the senior publication Northwest Prime Time, writing “Sunny Side of Life.” His new movie “The Matchmaker” tells the true story of Rosen trying to match his mother with a best friend, as she began to struggle with Alzheimer’s.
The movie premiered May 4 at the Leisure Estates in Renton. The ladies who attend Tea Time at the clubhouse at the estates entered a competition with Northwest Prime Time, the grand prize being the host of the movie premiere. Contestants from around the region participated in Northwest Prime Time’s Age Friendly Discussion Groups project, which offered hot-topic questions for seniors to discuss in book-club like settings. The winner was then randomly drawn from participants.
Rosen said that the movie has already played at several film festivals, and internationally, but this was the first premiere in the Northwest. The short-film is not just based off his own life, but a column he wrote about the issue with the same title that ran in Northwest Prime Time. It stars Rhea Perlman (“Cheers”), Barbara Bain (“Mission Impossible”) and Robert Romanus (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”).
“My mom passed away a few years ago and it’s a bittersweet experience for me watching the film. I hope it’s a tribute to her and her friendship she had with Sarah,” Rosen said.
Leisure Estate’s President of the Resident’s Association Linda Clauson said the event was a big success for their group, with about 45 attendees for the film screening and luncheon. Clauson said people from age of 65 to almost 90 attended the event, and had a lot of laughs.
“I was happy to facilitate a real laugh session,” she said.
Clauson was the one at the estates who jumped on board for the discussion groups project. She said she prefers to stay active, and do more than jut sit around and talk small talk. This was a way to cover important topics with the tea social group, and her other group the Domino Dames.
One misconception she said some might have about the Leisure Estates is that they aren’t active, when in fact she said many of them are still working and engaged in the community. She thought the short film really well represented the seriousness of the aging process, while hitting her funny bone.
“I think part of what resonated was how challenging it can be, as we age and being put into a new environment, to make friends,” Clauson said. “At the end of the day, he was so concerned with how his mom would accept retirement, but in the end she made her own friends and was in control.”
Rosen was also featured on KING’s New Day Northwest. More information on the film, Rosen and his column is available at northwestprimetime.com.