Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Cynthia Stone, Keys Bags Names Words is a hopeful and inspiring lens portraying stories of both the personal and global impacts of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, while following a cohort of young scientists and artists from around the world as they harness creativity, humor and compassion to lead the way towards hope and resilience.
As global populations age, the number of people living with dementia grows, tripling by 2050 to 152 million—overwhelming families, communities, public health care systems and economies worldwide.
This film is intended to create a shift. A shift in thinking among those who have dementia from hopelessness to optimism and action for a higher quality of life. A shift for carers from loss and despair to connection. A shift towards prevention and knowing how to keep our brains healthy. And a shift that comes from real people sharing their experiences—the funny, the angry, the sad, the powerful—and finding ways we can be less afraid and more inclusive.
The inspiration for Keys Bags Names Words came from the “hear/say” oral history project that is part of the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) based at the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin.
The wide range of personal stories in the project provided the basis for this hopeful and moving look at families around the world and how they approach aging and brain health. Director Cynthia Stone sees the film as an inspiring testament to the human spirit, and its purpose to serve as an advocacy tool.
“We want to give people tools to connect,” Stone says, “to lessen stigma, to care for their own brain health, and to see the extraordinary work being done to address this global challenge.” Jon Reiss, founder of 8 Above: “What makes Keys Bags Names Words stand apart is that while it illustrates the problem that we are facing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, it shows how people suffering from these diseases can live fuller lives through art, music, dance, theater and creating a sense of community.”
About Cynthia Stone
Cynthia Stone has been creating social justice documentary-style pieces for nearly three decades. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her award-winning work has appeared on KQED, PBS, and the BBC/PRI, among others. The wisdom and humor of those in this film helped her better connect with, and care for, her mother throughout her aging process from her vital active years through her memory loss.
About the Global Brain Health Institute
The Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) is dedicated to protecting the world’s aging populations from threats to brain health by bringing together a powerful mix of disciplines, professions, backgrounds, skills, perspectives and approaches to developing new science-based solutions. GBHI is based at the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin.
Keys Bags Names Words has its US premiere September 7th at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco. It’s followed by screenings in 50 cities and in over 15 countries worldwide in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Day on Sept 21.