Director's Statement

My inspiration for the Lives Well Lived project was my 103 year old Italian grandmother who enjoyed exercise, making the best lasagna you’ve ever tasted and being with family. She showed me by example, that age is truly just a number.

I started filming my grandmother cooking about five years ago, when she was 99 years old. I filmed her at the gym because I thought, no one will believe that my grandmother is still working out. I asked her if she could give me a few words of wisdom, and that was the beginning of this adventure.

The “graying of America” is no longer a futuristic prediction: The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show over 50 years ago and Baby Boomers are turning 70. As I was approaching my 50th year, I began to reflect on my own life in a very different way. My grandmother was my guide for how to gracefully move through life and how to age with dignity, strength, and humor. I began a quest to search out other people, who like my grandmother were living life to the limits.

In our society, the elderly are often overlooked. I want to bring that generation to the forefront. Our greatest role models are those living full and meaningful lives in their later years. Lives Well Lived celebrates the incredible wit, wisdom and life experiences of seniors who are living life to the fullest. Although they may have seen the worst of humanity, their outlook is still optimistic. Their stories are about perseverance, the human spirit, and staying positive in the midst of the great challenges.

Four years and forty interviews later, I listened; capturing the images, ideas and ideals of those who are proving that aging is something to cherish. Through the film, I hope to inspire people of every age to think about what they can do in their own lives to achieve the longevity of both health and spirit that these people have achieved, and to realize that growing older can be a journey to be celebrated. 

Meet the Filmmaker and Creative Team


Sky Bergman, Filmmaker

Sky Bergman is an accomplished, award-winning photographer. Lives Well Lived is Sky’s directorial debut.
Her fine art work is included in permanent collections at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France) in Paris. Her book, The Naked & The Nude: Images from the Sculpture Series, includes an introduction by Hèléne Pinet, curator of photography at the Rodin Museum in Paris. She has shot book covers for Random House and Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc., and magazine spreads that appeared in Smithsonian, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Reader’s Digest, and Archaeology Odyssey. 
Sky Bergman currently is a Professor of Photography and Video at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, CA.

Greg Janza, editor for Lives Well Lived trailer

Second Shooters:
Betsy Knauss, Ellen WilliamsJames GaltDerek FongSara TollefsonTrevor Hooper, Charlie Wilton, and Kaori Funahashi

Production Assistants:
Francesca Rodriguez, Hannah Travis, Gabby Pajo, Eden Knapp, Marc Hill, Anya McInroyIsabella Chavira, and Brittany Bratcher

Interview Transcriptions:
Julie Sample

Accountant for Film:
John R. Warner

Original website design and logo:
Sara Stanger