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'Below Surface' Film Screening and Conversation: An Exploration of Connectedness, Community, and Healthy Longevity

Mon, March 4 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EST


Register Here

Watch The Recorded Talkback Here

Screening in the Library’s Trefz Forum, Below Surface is an award-winning short documentary that reveals the extraordinary power of community through an unlikely subject: a YMCA Aquafit class – that is, the Westport/Weston YMCA.

This exercise class, led by gifted and compassionate instructor Patty Kondub, inspired the connection among a group of multicultural and multigenerational individuals as they worked to keep fit, build relationships, and move forward with health and mindfulness for themselves and each other. The documentary gathers numerous moving stories from the class participants, and the instructor, to demonstrate how kindness and caring for others, combined with exercise, can be an antidote for grief, stress, and physical illness.

Below Surface was directed by Lukas Hauser, produced by Judith Bookbinder, and executive producers were Mary Lake Polan and Frank Bennack. The film has screened at the Paley Center for Media in New York City and at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. It was an official selection at film festivals around the country including Sarasota Film Festival, Sedona Film Festival, American Documentary Film Festival, Independent Film Festival Boston, Berkshire International Film Festival, New Haven Doc Film Festival, and many more.

Following the screening is a discussion among an impressive panel, moderated by Dr. Robert Altbaum, recently retired internal medicine physician (and active tennis player and member of the rock band, “DNR”). Panelists include Dr. Linda P. Fried, dean of Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health; Maria Allen, president of the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging; Moishi Moses, vice president of volunteerisms for the AARP Foundation, and Westport/Weston aquafit instructor extraordinaire Patty Kondub. The panel will be introduced by Dr. Mary L. Polan, executive producer of the film.

Area organizations that support healthy longevity will have information available at the event, including the Westport Center for Senior Activities, AARP, the Westport/Weston YMCA, Westport’s Human Services.

Join us, bring your joie de vie, your interest in connecting with your community, and your questions on best practices to live a healthy, connected life  all life long.

About the Moderators and Panelists:

Mary Lake Plan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. is a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine. She is also a managing director of Golden Seeds, an angel investing group that invests in women-led companies. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences and has been actively involved in international public health, working, and teaching at medical schools in Oxford, England; Shiraz, Iran; Changsha, China; and Asmara, Eritrea.

Robert Altbaum, MD  attended Harvard Medical School and stayed in Boston to complete his residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and then moved to CT to spend one year of Ambulatory Chief Residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Bob served as an internal medical practitioner in Westport for decades, where he resides. He was board certified in Geriatrics to enhance his skills in caring for the elderly, and has always preferred treating adult patients of all ages. Now retired,  he enjoys his family, good friends, tennis, hiking, going to the gym and playing keyboards in a local rock and roll band, DNR.

Marie Allen is the president and CEO of the Southwestern CT Agency on Aging (SWCAA). She develops plans and implements services designed to help older adults and persons with disabilities receive care in the community and care setting of their choice. Marie is responsible for the administration of private, state, and federal funds to support community-based programs. She serves on Connecticut’s Long Term Care Advisory Council and is active with AgingCT.

Linda P. Fried, M.D, M.P.H, is dean of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She additionally serves as senior vice president of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, a university-wide center housed in the Mailman School. Prior to becoming Dean, Dr. Fried was the Mason F. Lord Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where she was the founding Director of the Center on Aging and Health, the center of excellence for aging research, and Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.

Moishi Moses, J.D., is the Vice President of Volunteer Programs at AARP Foundation. She is responsible for leading diverse programs, including AARP Foundation Tax-Aide and AARP Foundation Experience Corps. Prior to joining AARP Foundation, Mioshi served as the Executive Director of Genesys Works National Capital Region, a national workforce development social enterprise that serves high school students in underserved communities. She currently serves on the National Council on Aging’s Modernizing Senior Centers Resource Center Advisory Committee.  Mioshi earned her Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University, and her bachelor’s degree in economics from Spelman College

Patty Kondub is a Westport/Weston YMCA aquafit instructor. Patty also serves as the vice president of the VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 Auxiliary, located in Westport.

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Health & Wellness


Mon, March 4
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm EST
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The Trefz Forum, The Westport Library
20 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880 United States
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