Essential Event Info

W H A T :

    Documentary, director Melissa Godoy, 2007, 57 minutes, color.
  • Narrated by Walter Cronkite, featuring Leo Ornstein, Frederic Franklin, Arlonzia Pettway and Dr. Gene Cohen.
  • Special Guest Appearance by Frederic Franklin, for Q&A following the screenings on March 03 and March 04.

  • W H E N :

  • Two screenings:
    Saturday, March 03
    Sunday, March 04
  • All screenings are at 2:00 PM
  • Note: the February 27 screening has been cancelled due to technical difficulties at the theatre. Tickets for Tuesday will be honored on Saturday or Sunday.

    W H E R E :

  • Cincinnati Art Museum
    953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park/Mt. Adams; Cincinnati.
  • Easy Access, Free Parking
    click for Directions & Map

  • T I C K E T S :

  • All tickets for this event are $6.00.



  • tollfree 1-877-548-3237

  • at the Art Museum

  • ...and at these locations
    (cash only), click each location below for a map:

  • Clifton-Ludlow Ave. -
    Sitwell's Coffee House
    513 281 7487

  • Mt. Lookout Square -
    Lookout Joe Coffee Roasters

    513 871 8626

  • Northside-Hamilton Ave -
    Shake It Music & Video
    513 591 0123

  •  Covington-Main Strasse -
    The Bean Haus
    859 431 2326

  • Tickets will also be available at the door.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



    Melissa Godoy develops independent film and programming for public television. Her current production, Do Not Go Gently, will be offered by American Public Television to air on PBS stations beginning in May, 2007. She was most recently Line Producer of A Lion in the House by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, which premiered at Sundance and aired on primetime PBS through Independent Lens in June of 2006. Classical Quest, a film she directed featuring the the Starling Chamber Orchestra, that compares classical music to time travel, has been airing on public television from 2000 to the present.

    In 2004, Godoy completed production on the interactive virtual community for violinists with Kurt Sassmannshaus,, currently used in over 25 countries. Godoy was the coordinating producer and a director for the award-winning NEA & NEH-funded High Definition installation in the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 2003, she served as script supervisor to Julie Dash on Brothers Of The Borderland; and in 2004, she directed What Is Freedom?, both large screen projections at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. During the last presidential election, Godoy was a field producer/director of photography for the cinéma verité feature, Election Day, by Katy Chevigny, which will have its world premiere at the South by Southwest Festival this March. Godoy has also produced HD spots for BET and Procter & Gamble. Her programs have earned numerous industry awards including two regional Emmys. She produces Viewfinder, a monthly talk show about independent filmmaking on Cincinnati's public television station, CET.

    ON THIS PAGE:   |   Advance Tickets    |   About the Director    |   Director's Statement    |   Principal Biographies    |   Credits    |  

    Melissa Godoy and Arlonzia Pettway ... Photo by Matt Arnett
    "This documentary challenges the outdated notion that people who reach a certain age have nothing left to contribute. America’s seniors, like those highlighted in Do Not Go Gently, have had decades to master skills and garner accomplishments, often rendering them our best leaders and innovators. ..."
                 ~ U.S. Senator Herb Kohl,
    Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging

    D O   N O T
    G O   G E N T L Y

    Cincinnati World Cinema is honored to present the world premiere of this heart-warming and informative film about the power of achievement, imagination and creativity in aging, proposing that art and accomplishment know no age limits.

    Americans are living longer, with the opportunity for full, productive lives stretching well beyond the traditional age of "retirement." As journalist Jane Durrell writes in her CityBeat article about DO NOT GO GENTLY,

    "Creativity is a powerful plus for a good, even joyous late life ... Take your grandparents, take your parents, and go [see this film] yourself to find out how to accommodate and enjoy our fine if potentially awkward gift of lengthened life expectancy."

    Click here to read Jackie Demaline's article in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

    Click here to read Jane Durell's article in City Beat.

    Click here to hear Director Melissa Godoy's interview with Rick Pender on WVXU-FM.

    Click here to read about the film funding provided by the Individual Artist Grant Program at the City of Cincinnati website.

    A B O U T   T H E   F I L M

    Ms. Durrell's advice is worth heeding, as Cincinnati filmmaker Melissa Godoy brings us an important documentary that speaks to people of all ages about what lies ahead, making the point that our powers of accomplishment and creation know no age limits. Her film addresses the need for new approaches to life and communication in a world of rapidly aging people and illustrates the triumph of imagination and personality over the aging body. Viewers will witness approaches to life that will encourage their own creativity as a strategy for aging.

    Director Godoy covers a lot of ground in one hour, captivating but not overwhelming the viewer. Portraits include the "godfather of modern music," Russian emigre and composer Leo Ornstein, 109 (filmed two weeks before his death); Frederic Franklin, 90, the European danseur from the Ballet Russe now instructor with the Cincinnati Ballet; and Arlonzia Pettway, 82, a descendant of slaves and the eldest quilter in Gee's Bend, Alabama. The narrator is Walter Cronkite, at 90.

    DO NOT GO GENTLY chronicles evolution happening before our eyes as the generation who invented modernism comes of age. With Ornstein, Franklin, and Pettway, the film examines the work and personalities of these creative icons and we experience moments of revelation, insight, and humor that can only be gleaned from these artists at this stage in their lives. We see that their art continues to push the edge in its inventiveness, fearlessness, and truth and that these artists use the perspective and freedom of their advanced age to create some of their most powerful work. As they share their feelings on matters ranging from love to grief, we hear about the stuff from which their art is made-the stuff of life, common to all of us. Equally important, we learn that they have secrets for a resilient approach to aging.

    The work and theories of Dr. Gene Cohen are introduced in the film, including several new scientific discoveries that are relevant to a strategy for healthy aging as a nation: Creative activity can significantly improve the mind-body connection in senior populations, improving long-term health and well-being. Whereas memories do die, the imagination does not. The imagination remains open as a pathway for communication and experience. Changes in the brain with aging reduces fear. The implications of these findings are significant for the creation of art by a generation that invented modern art, and indeed, are significant for all of us.

    DO NOT GO GENTLY also shows the principles of creativity applied to people with Alzheimer's Disease and other old age afflictions at day care centers and nursing homes in Washington, D.C. The innovative work of the non-profit organization, Arts for the Aging, reveals the power of imagination for all aging populations.

    In summary, DO NOT GO GENTLY will provide a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and enlightening experience, enhanced by post film Q & A after each screening. Through the kind support of the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation and Melody Sawyer Richardson, Frederic Franklin will come to Cincinnati to speak with the audience after the screenings on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, Cincinnati Ballet principal dancers Kristi Capps and Dmitri Trubchanov will join Mr. Franklin on stage for Q & A after the Saturday screening.

    Otto M. Budig Family Foundation City of Cincinnati Arts Allocation Committee

    C R E D I T S

    A film by Melissa Godoy & Eileen Littig

    Walter Cronkite

    Melissa Godoy

    executive producer
    Eileen Littig

    associate producers
    Matt Arnett    Jo Mellen

    research advisors
    Janet Light  David Littig  Severo Ornstein  Edith Valentine

    Mike Bizzarri

    Ben Bolton  Jeff Glaza

    on-line editor
    Brad Coop

    re-recording mixer
    Austin Gorrigan

    additional photography
    Mark Stucker  Bill Wallace  Ray Ibsen

    field recordists
    Jeff Glaza  John McDaniel  Chris Younken

    recording engineers
    Thomas Fleming  Roger Johnson  Thomas Myron

    Jeff Glaza  Tony Engelman  John Schmidt  David Ames

    production assistants
    Harrell Bendolph  Price Blythe  Margaret LaCombe  Patrick Lux

    CET - Cincinnati Educational Television

    audio mix
    Sonic Arts

    on-line mastering & color correction
    On Location Multimedia


    Arlonzia Pettway
    Frederic Franklin
    Leo Ornstein
    Dr. Gene Cohen
    Lolo Sarnoff
    Mary Lee Bendolph
    Nettie Young
    Pauline Ornstein
    Vivian Perlis
    Michael Broyles
    Denise Von Glahn
    Janine Tursini
    Julia Burger
    John Sausser
    Quicksilver Senior Improv Dance Troupe
    Arts for the Aging, Inc. (AFTA)
    Beryl Carter Rice
    Donal McLaughlin
    Creativity Discovery Corps
    The Cincinnati Ballet
    Dmitri Trubchanov    Kristi Capps
    Jay Goodlet  Rene Micheo  Anthony Krutzkamp  Aaron Thayer

    George Balanchine  Léonide Massine  Victoria Morgan

    ballet music
    Sergei Prokofiev  Ludwig Van Beethoven

    Carmen DeLeone

    original music by
    Leo Ornstein

    Marc-André Hamelin

    gospel music
    Gee's Bend Cooperative

    Anthony Hyatt

    Population Reference Bureau
    Toshiko Kaneda

    Boykin Nutrition Center
    Lucy Mingo  Allie Pettway  Lola Pettway  Mandy Lane Pettway  Mary Pettway  Nancy Pettway  W.D. Pettway

    Creativity Discovery Corps
    Deborah Blum  Lauren Edelstein  Carly Fox  Karen Gallant  Nadir Hammons  Barbara Soniat  Patricia Villani

    Quicksilver Dancers
    Nancy Havlik  Gretchen Dunn  Alyse Leibelson  Dorothy Levy  Jenean McKay  Louisa Messolonghites  Luella Wells

    Iona Senior Services Day Health Center
    Jeannette Anderson  Edna Belew  Mary Dishman  Catherine English  Lucille Harrison  George Hawkins  Maurice Higgs  Isom Hunter  Rodger Johnson  Mary George Kronstadt  Mary Mallory  Benita Norris  Josephine Pizza  Earl Parker  Helen Reeves  Eugene Sampson  Ardath Shalett  Mary Varfis  Mary Wittlinger

    The Washington Home
    Harriet Atkin  Ruth Forman  Maria Halper  George Holton  Florence Howell  Patricia Steel

    Center Care
    Roy Barber  Shirley Bell  Clara Contee  Doris Dandridge  Beatrice Davis  Annie Lee Duckett  Minnie Henderson  Lee Ingram  Barbara Jackson  Mariah Jeter  Lessie Johnson  Helen Lewis  Maude Lewis  Reginald Locke  Bernice Page  Vance Torian  Ophelia Veney  Eloise Ware  Evandy White  Lular Williams

    Santa Maria Nursing Home
    Helen Desotell

    Photo of Arlonzia Pettway in Gallery
    © 2005 Matt Arnett

    Quilts on a Line, Wilcox County
    Photo by Edith Morgan
    Courtesy of Tinwood Media and Herb & Marion Furman

    Photos of Gee's Bend Quilts
    Photographer Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
    Courtesy of Tinwood Media
    © 2006 Tinwood Media

    Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, New York, ca. 1945
    by Irving Penn © 1945 Irving Penn

    Photo of Frederic Franklin in Scheherezade by Walter E. Owen

    Photo of Frederic Franklin in A Streetcar Named Desire by Marcus Blechman
    Courtesy of Museum of the City of New York

    Photo of Frederic Franklin in Rodeo, Gaite Parisienne, Night Shadow, and The Seventh Symphony by Maurice Seymour
    Courtesy of Ron Seymour

    Gaite Parisienne
    Courtesy of Dance Film Archive

    George Balanchine photo by Tanaquil Le Clercq
    Courtesy of New York City Ballet Archives
    BALANCHINE is a trademark of The George Balanchine Trust

    Abraham Ornstein portrait by Leon Kroll, 1909

    Leo Ornstein-Piano Concert by William Zorach, 1918, Photographer Jeffrey Sturges
    Courtesy of William Bloom and the Portland Museum of Art

    Ornstein scores courtesy of Poon Hill Press, Severo Ornstein

    Vivian Perlis Interview of Leo Ornstein, 1977
    Courtesy of Oral History, American Music, Yale University

    Georgia O'Keeffe, Sky Above Clouds IV, 1965. Restricted gift of the Paul and Gabriella Rosenbaum Foundation; gift of Georgia O'Keeffe, The Art Institute of Chicago. Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago

    Georgia O'Keeffe photo by Arnold Newman, 1968

    additional archival images
    Getty Images
    The Juilliard School
    La Guardia and Wagner Archives
    Library of Congress
    Oral History, American Music, Yale University
    Edith Valentine
    YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

    pre-recorded music
    "Sinner Don't You Know"
    written and performed by Robert Pete Williams from the album "When a Man Takes the Blues" (p) 1998 Arhoolie Records,
    "How We Got Over"
    Performed by The White Rose, led by Leola Pettway
    Produced by Matt Arnett & Vanessa Vadim
    Engineer Steve Grauberger
    © 2002 Tinwood Media

    "I Just Can't Keep From Crying"
    Performed by Seebell Kennedy
    Recorded by Robert Sonkin, 1941
    Courtesy of the Library of Congress
    From the album How We Got Over: Sacred Songs of Gee's Bend © 2002 Tinwood Media

    "Oh Lord, Have Mercy"
    Led by Jessie T. Pettway, with Isabella Pettway Patton and Paulette Pettway.
    Produced by Matt Arnett & Vanessa Vadim
    Engineer Steve Grauberger
    © 2002 Tinwood Media

    "It's Gonna Rain"
    Led by Creola B. Pettway, with Georgiana B. Pettway and Arlonzia Pettway
    Produced by Matt Arnett & Vanessa Vadim
    Engineer Steve Grauberger
    © 2002 Tinwood Media

    special thanks to

    Andrew Smith Gallery  Martha Arendt  William Arnett  William Ausman  The George Balanchine Foundation  Judy Barlow  Steven Bognar

    CBS  Cincinnati Art Museum  Cincinnati World Cinema  CET

    Chip Cronkite  Thomas Davison  Susan Eiswerth  Taylor Feltner  Stephen M. Fisher  Chris Funkhouser  Georgia O'Keefe Museum   Ismael, Nikko & Ricardo Godoy  Carolyn Gutjahr  Andrea Hanson  Grace Hill  Miller Theatre at Columbia University  John Mueller  National Center for Creative Aging  Arnold Newman  Penn State Public Broadcasting  Susan Perlstein  Helen Ramon  Julia Reichert  Timothy Swallow  Tinwood Media  Andrea Torrice  Annie Mae Young

    thanks to

    Alzheimer's Association of Greater Cincinnati  Reina Aktay  Arketype  Bob Atchison  Gayle Berens  John Boland  Stephen Bonadies  Peter Breznay  Melissa Brown  Otto Budig  Ellen Carnevale  Devon Carney  Patsy Carruthers  Gary Caruana  Jesse Aaron Cohen  Carol Conway-Gerhardt  Jeni Dahmus  Pat Darnick  Douglas Di Carlo   Jack Dominic  Karen Durgans  Matthew Gingrich  Thyra Hartshorn  Carrie Haslett  Heather Heckman  Scott Hisey  Susan Howarth  Linda Jacobsen  Jen Judge  James Kesner  Daniel Konop  Chai Lee  Jesse Legon  Joan Lewis  Judy Lopez  Suzanne Eggleston Lovejoy  Aimee Marshall  Therese Anne Matthews  Erin Maxson  Deanna McBrearty  Leigh Montville  Jody Mullen  Paula Nesoff  Carol J. Oja  David Pettway  Alison Quigley  Nancy Reynolds  Melody Sawyer Richardson  Melissa Smey  George Steel  Kristin Spangenberg  Dean Thomas  Margaret Thomas  Ken Williamson  Johanna Bernstein Wilt

    This film was made possible by

    Foley Family Foundation
    Elizabeth B. & Philip J. Hendrickson Foundation Ltd.
    Helen Bader Foundation
    Irene D. Kress

    With additional support from
    Joseph and Sarah Van Drisse Charitable Trust
    Northeastern Wisconsin Arts Council
    City of Cincinnati
    Nancy Armbrust

    ©2007 NEWIST/CESA 7, All Rights Reserved


    How does one stay whole against the assault of old age? How do you keep your wits when you're losing your memory? When all else fails, what remains?

    It is what remains that may be the most important resource to an aging nation. It is (I discovered in the process) the power of imagination.

    Looking into the abyss, I pointed a camera at this unruly subject. Thinking that aging artists may have the answer, I focused on great artists, innovators who exerted influence in their fields. Though like most artists, they bury the most important messages in their art, in the end, they also influenced the course of this production.

    The result? Each segment has a personality that is unique to the subject featured. Arlonzia Pettway’s segment in Alabama is as grounded as her life. The people buried in the cemetery in Gee’s Bend are as relevant to her as her quilting companions. This segment is an evenly-paced verité introduction to the trials and joys of aging and the creative life that has sustained generations. Along the way, we get to know her friends and observe what works in this hamlet of artists.

    Frederic Franklin, backstage at the ballet, is spirit incarnate. As he coaches younger dancers, he ignites energy. Franklin has overcome many of the same barriers that affect every aging person, but he has done it in a way that will uplift the most cranky skeptics.

    Abstract, earthy, and funny Leo Ornstein continues to defy all convention, even at 109. As we learn about his life as a major player in the invention of modernism, we understand how a full artistic life changes over time. He says, “One has to be very careful not to become obsessed with one’s own style,” and with that, in his late 90s, he composes some his most personal and beautiful music, colored with grief. Even in his 100s, he is honest. He does not have the answers. He does not know the meaning of life. And he questions the meaning of God.

    The segment about the work of Arts for the Aging is pure cinéma verité. The camera witnesses how a tool as powerful as imagination can be used as a pathway to a lively part of the brain, even for people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

    Charming and insightful Dr. Gene Cohen reveals stunning new discoveries in brain science that are significant to healthy aging as a nation. In everyday language, he guides us gradually deeper to the core of the human brain, to the amygdila, the seat of fear.

    The challenge of putting this together into one film has made my brain sweat endlessly, but the key was found in the subjects and their approach to creation. For me, it was an experience of learning to see and hear differently. By continually lifting layers of reality and burrowing deeper into the human brain, I found something enduring, something that has given me hope and a strange kind of peace.


    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    B I O G R A P H I E S

    LEO ORNSTEIN Composer

    Leo Ornstein was a Russian-born Jew and classical music prodigy who immigrated to the United States at the age of 13. He attained international fame as a virtuoso pianist while still a teenager by introducing American audiences to the modern music of Schoenberg, Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartok, and Ravel, as well as to his own compositions. His early compositions for the piano, such as Danse Sauvage and Suicide in an Airplane were even more radical and inventive than the Schoenberg's. Upon listening to Ornstein play these compositions, music critic of the 1910s James Huneker wrote, "I never thought I should live to hear Arnold Schoenberg sound tame, yet tame he sounds-almost timid and halting-after Ornstein who is, most emphatically, the only true-blue, genuine, Futurist composer live."

    Ornstein's music embodies a relentless American energy that captures a spiritual openness to the future. Composing beyond the edge of musical conventions, he followed his subjective muse and allowed his intuition and imagination to rein free. In Carol Oja's book, Making Music Modern, she describes Leo Ornstein as "the single most important figure on the American modern-music scene in the 1910s."

    At the height of a remarkable but brief concert career, from 1910 to late 1920s, Ornstein gave up his barnstorming performing career to devote himself to composing with the assistance of his wife, Pauline Matte-Prevost, his lifelong collaborator and musical scribe. While having disappeared from the public stage, Ornstein continued his musical career as a teacher and composer. With his wife Pauline, they established a music school in Philadelphia where he taught until the mid 1950s. He resumed composing in the 1960s and continued until the death of Pauline in 1985 when he ceased composing for a time. Then in 1990, at the age of 98, living near family in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Ornstein's completed his final work, the remarkable Piano Sonata No. 8.

    Do Not Go Gently captures renowned concert pianist Marc-André Hamelin playing Leo Ornstein's Piano Sonata No. 8. A Marc-André Hamelin CD recording of Leo Ornstein's compositions for piano, including Suicide in an Airplane, Danse Sauvage, and Piano Sonata No. 8 is now available under the Hyperion label (CDA67320). A revival and renewed interest in one of America's master composers of the twentieth century will soon be available in 2007 as a full-length biography, Leo Ornstein: Modernist Dilemmas, Personal Choices by Michael Broyles and Denise Von Glahn, to be published by Indiana University Press. Both Broyles and Von Glahn appear in the program to fill in gaps: Ornstein died before the program was complete, and biographers were sorely needed. Also featured is Vivian Perlis from the Yale School of Music and founding-director of the Oral History, American Music Project. Perlis is credited with having re-discovered Ornstein living and composing in a trailer park in Brownsville, Texas in the 1970s. Archival footage of her first interviews with Ornstein about his creative process, recorded when he was in his 80s, are included in Do Not Go Gently.


    The 82-year-old Arlonzia Pettway is one of the quiltmakers from Gee's Bend, Alabama. "The Quilts of Gee's Bend," an exhibition of 70 quilts by 46 quiltmakers that has been touring major art museums of America - the Whitney Museum of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and others - was organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and with Tinwood Ventures in 2002. The modern abstract aesthetic qualities of the quilts in the exhibit stunned and surpassed the expectations of art critics. Michael Kimmelman, art critic of The New York Times called the quilts, "some of the most miraculous works of modern art that American has produced."

    The geometric patterns and colors of the fabrics of the quilts in the exhibit capture the visual field of many trends and individual artists in modern postwar abstract in the United States and their predecessors from Europe. For example, the intricate multicolored details in Rosie Lee Tompkin's "Three Sixes" quilt remind one of Gustav Klimt's painting of gowns. Lucy T. Pettway's "Snowball" has the kinetic and optical energy of the work of Victor Vasarely. The "Housetop" quilts are like Josef Albers' "Homage to the Square"-- paintings where the simple geometric rectangular designs stay the same and only the colors change. Here, both quiltmakers and Albers explore the interaction of color from one work to another. "Blocks and Strips" by Lucy Mooney and Amelia Bennett have the same bold juxtapositions of colored shapes as found in the work of Hans Hofmann. Lettie Young's "H" variation quilt is much like an abstraction by Paul KIee. Annie Mae Young's "Strips" and Arlonzia Pettway's "Bars" or "Lazy Gal" are reminiscent of Kenneth Noland's stripes from cloth. Collectively, the colors and designs of the Quilts of Gee's Bend have an elegance and comfortable aesthetic serenity that cannot be matched by acrylic or oil on canvas because of the softness and irregularity of its edge. In the future many of these quilts will hang in the great museums next to the works of postwar abstract expressionists and colorists.

    How is it possible for the African-American women descendants of slaves living in an isolated, poverty-stricken hamlet in southern Alabama to create, without artifice or art theory, such beautiful works of art? What is their secret? They may have much in common with the great Italian violin masters of the 17th and 18th centuries from Cremona - the Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri family workshops - whose secrets remain hidden.

    A day in the life of Arlonzia Pettway at Gee's Bend in Do Not Go Gently provides some of the answers. Quilting was born out of the necessity for warmth and was crafted with the remains of worn out, old work-clothes, and scraps of fabrics. Arlonzia learned quilting from her mother Missouri who learned from her grandmother Sally, who learned from her great-grandmother Dinah, who was a slave girl and quilted to keep the wind from blowing through the cracks in the walls of the homes, through which they could see the sun and the moon. Nothing is more natural to the elderly quilters in Gee's Bend than to lie in bed and think about the next day's quilts, and then get up with great enthusiasm to get to work. Entire days at Gee's Bend hum with the activity of thinking about, talking about, and making quilts with one another. The Nutrition Center in Gee's Bend, where seniors can reliably get a nutritious meal every day, has become a drop-in center for quilters, many of them are eager to learn from the eldest quilters like Arlonzia.

    For four generations quilting was a collective enterprise, often a social activity, undertaken only after long days of labor-intensive agricultural field-work. Quilting was often accompanied by the singing of hymns. While economic scarcity speaks to the formal designs and materials used for quilting, religion, strong social and cultural bonds nurtured their artistic development. The limited material resources in the Gee's Bend community provide a foundation for minimalism in design. Yet like their contemporaries, minimalist artists exhibiting in New York galleries, they worked within the rules of their aesthetic vision, working out countless intensely personal variations of geometric, horizontal and vertical designs and colors so that no two quilts would be the same.

    The segment about Arlonzia also has appearances from revered quilters ANNIE MAE YOUNG, MARY LEE BENDOLPH, and NETTIE YOUNG, who is also in her 80s.


    There is no art form that is as physically demanding and requires as much visceral immediacy as dance. By the time mid-thirties are reached, dancers have accumulated so many pulled muscles, bone and joint problems and other physical ailments that they retire. Frederic Franklin, born in Liverpool, England in 1914, now 92 years old, is an inspiration as he continues to teach and pass on to another generation of dancers the choreography he learned with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Balanchine, and other masters of 20th century dance. Franklin is now appearing in the highly acclaimed 2005 documentary film Ballet Russes. The documentary is about Serge Diaghilev's famous dance company that toured the United States in the 1930s and '40s to astonished audiences who had never experienced professional ballet.

    Franklin made his professional debut in 1931 at Casino de Paris in a show starring Josephine Baker. In 1935 he got his big break when he joined the Markova-Dolin Ballet Company. In 1938 he joined the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as premier danseur. His first role was the Spirit of Creation in Seventh Symphony, a role that he teaches younger dancers in Do Not Go Gently. Franklin became the ballet master in 1944. While with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Franklin danced 45 principal roles - from pure classical to character parts, like the champion roper in Agnes de Mille's Rodeo.

    Over his career, Franklin has partnered every great ballerina - Danilova, Alicia Markova, Tamara Toumanova, Moira Shearer, Maria Tallchief, Alicia Alonzo, and many more. He has also worked with the great choreographers - Léonide Massine, George Balanchine, Bronislava Nijinska, and Frederick Ashton. He was co-founder of the Slavenska-Franklin Ballet and founding director of the National Ballet in Washington.

    Franklin has served in a variety of capacities with prestigious companies like American Ballet Theatre, the National Ballet, La Scala Opera Ballet, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. His awards include the 30th Annual Dance Magazine Award, the Laurence Olivier Award, and the coveted Capezio Dance award in 1992. The year he turned 90, the year we filmed him for Do Not Go Gently, Franklin was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

    Franklin also continues to perform in such roles as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (clips of which are shown in the program), the Old Tutor in Kevin McKenzie's Swan Lake with the American Ballet Theatre, and as Madge the Witch in La Sylphide.

    A marvel with a single dedication to his art that keeps him forever young, Franklin talks in Do Not Go Gently about what keeps him going, and he is shown dancing, teaching and working with young dancers.

    GENE D. COHEN, M.D., PH.D. Gerontologist

    Author of The Creative Age: Awakening Human Potential in the Second Half of Life (AVON Books, 2000) and The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain (Basic Books, 2006), Dr. Cohen is the first Director of the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University, where he also holds the positions of Professor of Health Care Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry. He is also the founding Director of a think tank on aging, the Washington, DC Center On Aging (established 1994) and has most recently been the principal investigator of an NEA-funded study evaluating the impact of arts activity on the health of older persons. Dr. Cohen is Past-President of the Gerontological Society of America and Past Acting Director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Before that, Dr. Cohen served as the first Chief of the Center on Aging of the National Institute of Mental Health. In addition, he also coordinated the Department of Health and Human Services, planning and programs on Alzheimer's disease, through the efforts of the Department's Council and Panel on Alzheimer's disease. During his tenure with the federal government, he received the Public Health Service (PHS) Distinguished Service Medal (the highest honor of the PHS). Dr. Cohen is an Honors graduate of Harvard College and the Georgetown University School of Medicine and has a doctorate in Gerontology from The Union Institute. He is the first Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and author of more than 100 publications in the field of aging, including several edited textbooks and his individually authored book The Brain In Human Aging. Dr. Cohen has been very active in the dissemination of knowledge about aging on national television and in other major media. He has been on Nightline, interviewed by Barbara Walters, on the MacNeil/Lehrer Show, on the CBS Nightly News, and in a series of public service messages with George Burns and Steve Allen.

    In Do Not Go Gently, Dr. Cohen provides continuously deeper insight into the mysteries of the aging brain.