|The Self-Made Man
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Please join us for an exceptional documentary film. It is in one measure the story of a generation of men who saw no limits to what they could achieve if they just worked hard enough. These individuals were part of the 'The Greatest Generation', so lauded by Tom Brokaw. It is also a riveting examination of the ultimate application of control of one's life, at a time when death approaches.
The Self-Made Man - 60 minutes
Synopsis: From inside the circle of her own family, documentarian Susan Stern confronts the issues of quality of life and the "right to die." The Self-Made Man celebrates the life of her self-made father, Bob Stern, a successful businessman, husband, father, and pioneer in solar energy. She then opens the floor to Bob himself as he faces the implications of his concurrent diagnoses of prostate cancer and aortic aneurysm.
What troubles Bob most is not that he might die on the operating table, but that he might become an invalid. Against this prospect, he must weigh the cost to his family of taking his own life-- and he does so on a remarkable video he makes to explain his decision.
Susan says she found out when making the film that, "Far from being alone, my father was part of a trend. It turns out that white males over the age of 85 have a suicide rate five times the national average, and as the Baby Boomers age, the suicide rate is expected to rise. I think this is something we as a society need to talk about, and decide. Is it ever rational to choose suicide?"
About the Director, Producer, and Writer: Susan Stern has been an investigative journalist for more than 20 years. She has written for the Boston Globe, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Examiner and Oakland Tribune. The Wall Street Journal credited Stern's Tribune exposé of Navy base closures with "saving thousands of local jobs." Stern has also written and produced news for KPIX-TV, San Francisco's CBS affiliate.
She is married to underground cartoonist and artist, Spain. Their daughter, Nora, inspired Stern's first film, "Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour," which aired on P.O.V. in 1998. "Barbie Nation" was a favorite at the South by Southwest Film Festival, won the Golden Spire for documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and has become standard viewing in college classrooms studying American culture and sexuality. Learn more about "Barbie Nation" and Susan's projects at Bernalbeach.com.
Awards for The Self-Made Man