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Columbus seniors go "Hollywood" after starring in short film

A group of senior citizens took part in a 14-week filmmaking course offered to the seniors by a retired professor of teacher education Richele O'Connor. (Courtesy: Richele O'Connor)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Quiet Westminster-Thurber Seniors' Home is awash in mystery.

The disappearance of an enigmatic lottery winner has a group of nine residents searching for answers. One of them is also transforming from being shy and withdrawn, to energetic and engaged.

None of that is actually happening.

It's the plot of a short film 'Moonshine & Kafka' the group recently cooked up. It's all part of a 14-week filmmaking course offered to the seniors by a retired professor of teacher education Richele O'Connor.

O'Connor said she came up with the idea, because she was "flunking retirement."

"Every Wednesday, we would get together and I would teach. They would learn. Hopefully, I would learn and they would teach and as a result, we came up with a short film," O'Connor said

The students started by writing a poem about where they were from. O'Connor then gleaned ideas from their experiences and built the story from there. The shooting took place over two days, using a professional video crew.

Ninety-one-year-old Gene Caticcia marvels at how much work went into a 15-minute movie.

"I wonder in my own feeble way, how do we ever get a two-hour film on the screen," he said.

In early March, two busloads of seniors were taken to the Gateway Film Center to watch the movie 'premiere.' The stars were given the full Hollywood treatment with autographs, a news conference and photo ops.

They're already excited about a second film, hoping to extend a second act of life.

"To live, love, laugh and be happy is a mindset that never grows old--and these nine folks demonstrate that," O'Connor said.

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