PBS Celebrates Grandparents’ Day by Airing Professor Cal Poly’s Documentary “Lives Well Lived”


A local director has brought dozens of seniors together to find their wisdom and advice on living a happy life, and her documentary “Lives Well Lived” is now airing on PBS this Sunday in honor of Grandparents’ Day.

Cal Poly, teacher at San Luis Obispo, Sky Bergman was fascinated by her 99-year-old grandmother who still trained regularly and was full of energy. Bergman was approaching a midlife milestone and was seeking insight into how to live meaningful lives.

“I was looking to approach 50 and wanted positive role models,” Bergman said. “There really wasn’t. It was all anti-aging, rather than saying ‘We’re all going to get old so we want something positive to look forward to.'”

To help find the answer, she decided to interview her grandmother and dozens of other elderly people to share their stories and secrets.

“What’s interesting is that none of them said, ‘exercise and eat well,’” said Bergman. “I would go back to what my grandmother said, which [was that] her secret to a happy life was to just be kind.

Bergam said people listen to their elders for advice, and that doesn’t happen a lot these days with some people feeling like it’s a chore rather than a gift they can call their grandparents. parents.

“We are learning that history can repeat itself, we have to learn from our past in order to hope that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future,” Bergman said. “Their sense of resilience, especially now that we are all going through a pandemic, I think about their stories and their resilience and that helps me through the most difficult times.”

Bergman’s film is now critically acclaimed and has been shown at local film festivals. Her grandmother, Evelyn, was able to watch the film on the big screen just six weeks before she died, aged 103. But Bergman said her grandmother did things her way and she just wanted to see the movie before she decided to say goodbye.

“She literally said ‘I’m done.’ She stopped eating and taking her pills, and she was dead within two days, ”Bergman said. “As stubborn as she was in life, that’s how stubborn she was when she passed away.

For Grandparents’ Day this Sunday, Bergman reminds people to call their loved ones. Or better yet, write them a letter.

“Lives Well Lived” will air in Salinas and Monterey on PBS affiliate channels KQET and KQET2 on Saturday September 11 at 6 p.m. and Sunday September 12 at 2 p.m. (National Grandparents Day).

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