A Bit of History

THIRD ACTion was started in 2017 by Mitzi Murray in response to a cultural shift around aging that was beginning to take place.

Because Canadians are living longer, there is a growing population in their 70s, 80s & 90s. By 2036, Statistics Canada projects that seniors will make up more than a quarter of Canada’s overall population. This provides the motivation for envisioning what positive aging and a productive third act can be.

THIRD ACTion had its inaugural festival in June 2018 at the Glenbow Museum. The festival offered 9 screenings showing a total of 31 films along with an art show addressing seniors’ mental health. The festival was repeated in 2019 and has continued to grow; putting on talks and screenings outside of the festival dates by partnering with other organizations.

2020 saw the evolution of the festival to an online platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when many non-profits were downsizing or closing, THIRD ACTion expanded to include monthly online screenings starting in October 2020.

Advocacy through Film……or Why a film festival about the third act of life?

It is simple, older adults and aging are under represented and misrepresented in our mass media – that needs to change.

Symbolic annihilation is a term used to describe the absence of representation of a group and the impact that has. When applied to mass media (film, TV, internet), it means that because we do not see ourselves represented in the media we consume, we start to believe that we don’t matter. This is exacerbated by the fact that what media is out there, is fraught with negative stereotyping and the medicalization of aging; leading audiences to believe that aging is nothing but decline and frailty.

But why film in particular?

Katerina Cizek, a Canadian documentary director puts it simply, “Filmmaking is the art of weaving together a good story. A good story grips our imagination and takes us on a journey of discovery, through emotions, places, facts and realities. A good story makes us care.” and, “Advocacy storytelling is about effectively communicating your message to the audience and encouraging them to act.”

It is important for film to put the “human” in “human rights” because seeing real people is what makes the audience care – whether they agree or not with the message. By focusing on character relationships within a story, the film has more power than the facts and figures would.

Through the power storytelling and film, we aim to reduce stigma and isms and build resiliency.

An advocacy film or film-based event should also move an audience to action. This is what we are looking to do – have our audience join us in the fight against ageism and show the possibility and resiliency in the third act of life. This is how we advocate for change.

So, whether you attend the festival or not, join us in creating an age-positive culture shift!


VISION: Guiding an age positive cultural shift.

MISSION: Through film and film-based events, we offer an entertaining and educational experience that redefines the narrative around aging.