Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn Outreach Program

Our Outreach Program supports screenings at community,
educational, and organizational venues. Past screenings have
included audiences of professionals, students, and caregivers in
the field of elder care; university classes in women’s studies,
urban studies, congregations and family councils, lovers of
Brooklyn, Walt Whitman, and the poetry of everyday life.
For purchasing/booking information CLICK PURCHASE PAGE.

From Commissioner of Department for the Aging Lilliam Barrios-

“I am writing on behalf of the New York City Department for the
Aging (DFTA) to offer support for Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn. DFTA
intends to use this realistic 2008 film in a variety of capacities –
including its trainings of senior center directors and its orientation
of new agency employees. I encourage others similarly to rely on
the film as a helpful educational resource.

The diaries of Brooklyn resident Jessie Singer Sylvester serve as
the inspiration for Beautiful Hills. The film focuses upon Ms.
Singer’s later years, and captures Ms. Sylvester’s resilience and
determination to live life fully despite personal losses and
instability she experiences as her neighborhood changes.

Veteran Broadway Actress Joanna Merlin (The Invasion, Class
Action, City of Angels, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) gives
rich dimension to Ms. Sylvester's hopes, dreams and memories. I
was particularly moved by the film’s authentic portrayal of Ms.
Sylvester’s senior center – a place where Ms. Sylvester
consistently found community, kindness and intellectual

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning
more about the film and its potential applications for your

Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn Advisory Council

Lilliam Barrios-Paoli
Commissioner, Department for the Aging, New York, NY

Philip W. Brickner, MD
Department of Community Medicine, Saint Vincent's Hospital, New
York, NY

Claire M Fagin, Ph.D., RN
Dean Emerita, Professor Emerita, University of Pennsylvania

Margo Lion, Broadway Producer,
Co-Chair, President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities

Mathy Mezey, Ed.D., RN
Director, John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric
Nursing, New York University

Buy DVD for Institutional Screenings
What Educators and Others Are Saying about “Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn”
Sample Discussion Questions
Recommended Eblast Text for Screenings

What Educators and Others Are Saying about “Beautiful Hills of

“Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn” proves to be a deeply touching lesson
in the common humanity we all share, to the far end of each of our
lives. Beyond that, I believe it will serve as a sensitizing resource
for nurses, doctors and social workers who care for the frail aged.

Philip W. Brickner, MD
Department of Community Medicine
Saint Vincent's Hospital
New York, NY

I was very moved. My immediate thought was staff sensitivity
trainings. [As I watched the film, I kept thinking of the many
members I really should be reaching out to on a more regular
basis. I was also thinking a lot about what it means when we have
to cancel a program, when friends move or pass away, when a
staff member is absent for a day. ]

Molly Krakowski,
Director, Joint Public Affairs Committee (JPAC)
Jewish Association for Services for the Aged
New York, NY

Sample Discussion Questions for “Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn”

What challenges does Jessie face?

What support does Jessie have? Where does she get it?

What support is she lacking? Where could she get it?

How does her particular culture affect her life? What would be
different if she were part of a different culture?

Have the times changed since the 1970’s for people like Jessie?

Do you have clients, patients, relatives or friends like Jessie?

How are you responding to their needs?

What are you proud of? What could be better?

What supports would YOU need to achieve your ideals?

What surprised you about Jessie?

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “old lady”? Does
Jessie fit that picture?

What gives Jessie’s life meaning? åWhat are her joys, her sorrows?

How does our community care for the Jessies among us?

Does Jessie give you ideas about your own old age, or that of your
parents or grandparents?


The below copy is recommended text eblast format that is created
and available for institutions to download and use to announce
their screenings:

Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn is a short dramatic film based on a true
story. Joanna Merlin stars as Jessie, an elderly woman
confronting the changes in her life and her beloved Brooklyn
neighborhood. Under the direction of Ragnar Freidank, the film
moves from present time to reverie and is told entirely in the words
of Jessie’s diary.

The film prompts viewers of all ages to ask how our community
cares for the elderly among us. Based on an award-winning play
by Ellen Cassedy, it has won numerous national and international
awards and qualified for an Academy Award nomination.
“Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn” proves to be a deeply touching lesson
in the common humanity we all share, to the far end of each of our
– Philip W. Brickner, MD, Department of Community Medicine, St.
Vincent’s Hospital, New York, NY

"A deeply original film and a beautifully realized portrait," says Bob
Balaban; "moving, affectionate, and filled with life." Sam
Waterston describes Ms. Merlin’s performance as “an exquisite
piece of acting.”
See http://www.beautifulhillsofbrooklyn.com for more.