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Agency to offer screenings of ‘All the Lonely People’ to combat isolation

Posted 10/6/22

“All The Lonely People” is a new social-impact documentary about the epidemic of social isolation on all age groups.

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Agency to offer screenings of ‘All the Lonely People’ to combat isolation


HERKIMER — The New York State Office for the Aging, the Association on Aging in New York, and filmmakers from the Clowder Group are joining approximately 20 community partners for “All The Lonely People” film screenings and community conversations about social isolation at locations across New York.

There is one local screening planned, at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Herkimer College in the Robert McLaughlin College Center Amphitheater, 100 Reservoir Road. Anyone interested in attending the event in Herkimer should RSVP by Friday, Oct. 28, by calling 315-867-1371.

“All The Lonely People” is a new social-impact documentary about the epidemic of social isolation on all age groups. It is produced, written, and directed by Joseph Applebaum and Stu Maddux, co-founders and principals at the Clowder Group, a film production company specializing in social impact features. 

The upcoming statewide film screenings are being hosted locally by county offices for the aging and other community services organizations. The in-person screenings will include a facilitated Q&A with the film’s producers, offering a forum for community discussion about ways to develop resilience and implement strategies to combat social isolation.

Each program consists of screening the documentary (69 minutes) and a facilitated dialogue on the issues of loneliness and social isolation. Seating is limited, and most locations require an advance RSVP or pre-registration.

In 2017, the U.S. Surgeon General declared social isolation to be a “global epidemic” – one that has only worsened in the COVID-19 health emergency. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, social isolation drives $6.7 billion in additional associated Medicare spending per year. The health consequences of loneliness and isolation are equivalent to smoking almost a pack of cigarettes daily. The added stress of feeling alone increases heart disease and even earlier onset of dementia.

“All The Lonely People” examines this epidemic on a deeply personal level. It follows a handful of people from different walks of life as they overcome social isolation and chronic loneliness, including New York residents Ari Rossen and Tony Westbrook, as well as people like Mary Hill, an 89-year-old caregiver who faces isolation in the rural countryside of England, according to event organizers.

NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said: “About a year ago, I had the privilege of previewing this powerful documentary. I immediately saw its alignment with the work that NYSOFA and the aging services network are collectively doing to combat social isolation for older adults. I also saw it as a tool to raise awareness about the need for this work on multiple levels, including a broader community reach, as isolation impacts people of all ages. The film examines an issue that profoundly affects older adults, but it also features people from all walks of life and age groups, showing the many ways that we are all touched by social isolation. This is an issue that existed prior to the pandemic. Yet the social disruptions of COVID-19 fundamentally exacerbated it – and, in many ways, helped open our eyes to the problem. NYSOFA is proud to work with filmmakers from the Clowder Group and local partners to host these screenings and use the power of film to inspire conversation about one of the most pressing cultural issues of our time.”

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said: “Social isolation and loneliness can have a devastating impact on our mental and physical health. Now more than ever, with the isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness, anxiety and fear are affecting the health and wellness of millions of people across the globe. This important documentary explores the causes and effects of isolation and loneliness. I am very grateful to the filmmakers, the NYS Office for the Aging, and to the groups and organizations screening the documentary in the weeks ahead. It will help to initiate important community-wide discussions on how we can address this growing problem.”


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