Some Kind of Heaven: Inside The Villages, Disneyland for Retirees

Some Kind of Heaven: Inside Disneyland for Retirees - Factual America Podcast

The Villages is a self-contained retirement community located in central Florida. Often referred to as a “Disneyland for Retirees,” it is home to over 130,000 seniors. The Villages offers residents a utopian version of a bygone America: wide, safe streets, perfectly manicured lawns, and countless activities all in the service of enjoying the golden years. 

Directed by filmmaker Lance Oppenheim, Some Kind of Heaven (2020) reveals cracks in The Villages’ facade and explores life inside its palm-tree-lined streets, while challenging stereotypes around ageing.  

The film follows four residents for whom The Villages is not living up to its reputation. By aiming the camera lens at this usually closed-off community, Lance captures what The Villages is really like. What type of people live in these retirement villages? How did residents respond to Lance filming there? And why did Lance choose to delve into this bizarre world? 

Some Kind of Heaven is available on demand in the UK from May 14th 2021. 

“There’s something beautiful to the idea that no matter how old you get, you are still becoming.” – Lance Oppenheim

Time Stamps:

00:09 – The trailer for Some Kind of Heaven.
03:35 – Where the film is available to watch.
05:09 – What Some Kind of Heaven is about.
07:13 – What The Villages in Florida is like and some of its bizarre intricacies.
10:46 – The uniqueness of The Villages and how they’ve succeeded in “Disneyfying” death.
14:59 – The stereotypical type of person that lives at The Villages.
19:00 – How the residents responded to Lance coming to film their lives.
21:54 – How Lance found the four protagonists of the film.
26:22 – How representative the protagonists are of The Villages as a whole.
31:22 – Why Lance made this film.
33:05 – How difficult it was to get access to The Villages.
38:46 – The artistic nature of the film, and the importance of the film’s music. 
44:03 – The editor’s influence in the making of the film.
45:41 – How the film evolved from a college short to a feature-length documentary.
48:52 – Advice for young filmmakers on how to pitch their ideas.
54:07 – What’s next for Lance.

Watch Some Kind of Heaven (2020)
The Villages
Magnolia Pictures
Alamo Pictures

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Episode 61