My mom has a habit. She can’t stop making documentary films.
For most of my life, she’s relied on her day job as a family physician in Seattle to bankroll her endeavors shooting, editing and producing heartfelt films that she makes in the basement of my childhood home. Patricia (that’s her name) has squeezed in time in front of the camera in between seeing patients and, of course, raising me and my brother. Her latest film, which took around 15 years to complete, is super fun. And, it’s actually my favorite film that she’s done.
It’s called Gameshow Dynamos and is about a couple who gets their family out of poverty by being on TV gameshows. The couple is my grandparents.
My grandpa Bernard and grandma Claire won enough money on TV game shows to escape debt and follow their dreams. From Tic-Tac-Dough in 1956, to Jeopardy in 1967, to Trivial Pursuit in 1993, they competed on national television 28 times — probably the longest-running record of individual TV game show appearances by husband and wife in the world.
You’d like the film because:
1) How the heck does anyone win on game shows, anyways? Not to mention so many times, winning close to $100,000.
2) Bernard is a old-school New York Jew whose parents migrated from Poland and Austria to achieve the American dream (which Bernard does achieve… through game shows).
3) Not only are they smart, but Bernard and Claire are very funny (I mean, who walks around dressed like they’re on the Starship Enterprise when they’re at home?)
4) It will encourage you to live your dreams.
Now my mom is doing a Kickstarter-like campaign to screen the film across the country.
In D.C. 98 people have bought tickets, but we need 9 more people to buy tickets in the next two days or the screening won’t happen. The company she’s using to screen the films, Tugg, is like Kickstarter in that you have to sell every ticket before they’ll do a screening.
The screening is May 21 at the Landmark E Street Theater at 7:30 p.m. and only costs $12.
Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings endorses the film this way:
“An endlessly charming look at one of the only purely American art forms–the humble game show–and a uniquely American family that spent the better part of forty years winning on them. Even if you’re not a game show junkie like I am, this documentary has lovely gifts for you.”
I’m very proud of my mom and can’t wait to see it succeed.
See you all at the screening!
Note from Gather: For all of our Jeopardy buffs out there you should check out previous Jewish Guy of the Week David who was a winner Thanksgiving 2014!