Groundbreaking, new independent short film Happy Retirement Mr. Pickering looks at Baby Boomer LGBTQs and the individuals isolated by the modern gay rights movement.
More than 15.9% of Gen Z openly identify as homosexual yet only 2% of Baby Boomers identify as gay. This discrepancy demonstrates the need to revisit conversations about the ongoing taboo of LGBTQ+ baby boomers and was the main reason why Happy Retirement Mr Pickering was made; to perpetuate acceptance and change.
The film follows Freddie Pickering at the beginning of his retirement, an average Joe who has played by the rules for much of his life. He has worked hard for a living, bought a 3-bedroom house and put up with an iron-willed conservative wife who has shaped the path of his life for many years to fit how she wants to be viewed by society. However, finally retired from the 9-5, Freddie finds all the time to reflect on his life. Instead of a “nirvana” that he wished for, he is overcome with obsessive thoughts and urges, memories of previous lovers and wandering eyes that shock the audience in this dark comedy…
Will Freddie risk all he has to live out his dream that society somewhat accepts now? Or perhaps follow the status quo and take his deep secret to the grave? Will he risk losing much of his social network to start afresh? Or will he keep his sexual orientation hidden from the healthcare system to ensure better treatment in care homes and hospitals? These are a few of the battling decisions which Baby Boomers LGBTQ or the ‘Gayest Generation’ have to consider as they age in retirement. In fact, over 32% of older LGBTQ people fear ‘being lonely and growing old alone’ compared to 19% of heterosexuals in a recent study by MetLife (in conjunction with American Society on Aging and Lesbian and Gay Issues Network).
The Happy Retirement Mr Pickering production team have worked with the LGBTQ community through interviews and focus groups and have cast the lead role to Kevin West – a gay actor who identifies with Freddie’s journey, having been in a heterosexual relationship before coming out as gay. The events, dialogue and setting are based around research of individuals in this demographic and the troubles they have had to face. Writer and director, Keshav Shree states, “I wanted to portray this delicate story as authentically as possible. Having spent two years researching the project, I think we are finally at a place that does it justice and in the most palatable form – a dark comedy.”
As we see acceptance in the shape of legalizing LGBTQ marriage, gay TV shows becoming mainstream and politicians being openly gay – Happy Retirement Mr Pickering reminds us of a demographic that were the trailblazers in this movement but yet, seem to be forgotten from today’s conversation. Keshav Shree, director, says: “Let’s ignite conversations about the generation that struggled most for this movement, yet seem to reap the least benefits from its achievements and progress.”
More info and Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/happyretirementmrp/happy-retirement-mr-pickering
To follow the journey: https://www.instagram.com/happyretirementmrpickering/