Comedian Arlieta Hall turns to improv as a tool to caregive for her father Milton, who is losing himself to Alzheimer’s.
In this joy-filled personal documentary, Arlieta has gone against all popular advice and quit her day job to care for her father, Milton. She has to learn how to laugh in the midst of a disease that is not very funny, using improv to affirm and validate his experiences. Inspired by her father’s own artistic career, Arlieta turns to comedy to process her emotions. It’s challenging for her and her “bonus mom” Charmaine to watch Milton decline, but they support each other and find healing through laughter. While Milton declines, Arlieta’s artistic career advances. She tries to keep Milton happy and comfortable even as the pandemic forces her to give up independence and move back in with Milton and Charmaine.
We are proud to be a part of the work Dr. Marc Rothman and Dementia Spring are doing to rewrite the narrative of hopelessness around Alzheimer's. Learn more here.
The Call Sheet is a new film publication from two women-run groups in Chicago: Camera Ambassador and Cinema Femme. We were honored to be interviewed by our dear friend and fellow filmmaker, KVV. Read or listen here: https://thecallsheet.publuu.com/
We were one of ten projects selected to participate in The Gotham Lab (formerly IFP), which offers mentorship to first time feature documentary filmmakers. This is important industry recognition for our film! That means we will also participate in the Gotham Week Project Market Spotlight on Documentaries in September.
We are the perfect people to make this film because Arlieta uses stand up comedy to encourage the art of storytelling to break the silence of Alzheimer's. The improvisation and empathy that Arlieta exhibits with Milton gives the audience multiple methods to apply in their own lives. Brittany has the story telling expertise and access required to bring to light both the often frightening face of Alzheimer's and the grace of Arlieta’s home, combining them into a compelling film. We take the viewer on an Alzheimer's journey, showing how the disease affects the entire family and how it’s up to the family to embrace and adjust to the shocking changes caused by this disease
(Executive Producer, Director, Protagonist) is a host, actress, improviser, stand-up comedian, writer, and a first-time filmmaker from Chicago. She is one of The Second City NBC Bob Curry Fellowship recipients who recently co-starred as Sadie on Showtime’s The CHI episodic, and a co-producer of the comedy variety show My Best Friend is Black. Next up, she will be a writer and performer in The Second City’s 2023 Black Excellence Revue. https://arlietahall.com
(Producer, Director, Cinematographer) Brittany first learned the power of personal storytelling working at Seattle Children's Hospital as a protege of Academy-Award shortlisted director Mike Attie. She continues to focus on work that impacts underrepresented communities, making marketing and campaign videos for social justice and arts organizations. Her fiction shorts have screened at queer and feminist film festivals across the country and internationally. http://brittanyalsot.com
(Editor) We're so excited to have hired Donnie to be on our team. Donnie is a director, producer, editor and writer with Digife, a video production company based in Chicago. As a photojournalism graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Seals was able to evolve from still photography to film. He's spent over ten years as an editor and commercial producer with KVVU-TV in Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, he developed and produced the digital documentary series "The Season" which followed the controversial high school basketball powerhouse Findlay Prep. Donnie’s filmography includes the music documentary Making Skybreak and The Takeover, a film about 100 Northwestern University students who peacefully occupied the Bursar's Office to protest the black student experience in 1968. He’s recently edited Hulu/Kartemquin Accelerator Program director Resita Cox's film Freedom Hill. He is a 2022 Diverse Voices in Docs Fellow at Kartemquin.
(Executive Producer) After distinguished careers in fashion and nonprofit, Heidi Reinberg’s move into film production was inspired by Academy Award–winning documentary director Cynthia Wade. Reinberg produced Wade’s debut feature documentary Grist for the Mill, which aired on Cinemax, and Wade’s award-winning follow-up Shelter Dogs, which premiered on HBO.
Reinberg’s 93Queen — a co-production with ITVS, arte SWR, and YesDocu after winning the inaugural first look Pitch Prize at the Hot Docs Forum — premiered on PBS acclaimed “POV” doc strand before heading over to HBO Max and Amazon Prime, where it currently lives.
(Consulting Producer) Yvonne is an award-winning filmmaker and Founder & CEO of the Chicago-based non-profit Sisters in Cinema, inspired by her documentary of the same name, about the history of Black women feature film directors. She is a Senior Creative Consultant at Chicken & Egg Pictures, and has produced and distributed over two dozen award-winning films, including Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @100—winner of 10 best documentary awards.
“This team out of the Chi have found a way to laugh in a healthy, cathartic way from facing the all too real battle of dementia on the home front.” - Dave Woods, Producer, 8th Cinema
"I laughed and I cried and I really cared." - Yvonne Welbon, Sisters in Cinema
Did you catch Arlieta on Twenty-Four Seven: A Podcast about Caregiving? Her episode is called "A Comedian Walks into a Dementia Unit" and it's a really lovely interview in which she talks candidly about the highs and lows of caring for her father.
Catch Arlieta featured first up for of the Caregiver Comedians featured at the 2022 annual event for Seth & Lauren Rogen's Alzheimer's organization, HFC (formerly Hilarity for Charity)
Dementia RAW podcast with Tami Neumann and Cathy Braxton - Arlieta talks to the teachers who taught her to use improv for caregiving. They reflect on flexibility and the challenges of staying in the moment.
Arlieta is Spotlighted for being a caregiving hero and discusses how 2020 forced her to become a full-time live in caregiver.
We are so excited about the positive impact of making this project, but we can’t do it alone. If this project speaks to you — if you’ve been affected by Alzheimer’s, if you know the joys and challenges of caregiving — please reach out to us. We are looking to connect with like-minded partners to creatively and strategically expand the reach of our film.