Duty Free

DUTY FREE

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ABOUT THE FILM

After a 75 year-old immigrant mother gets fired from her job as a hotel housekeeper, her son takes her on a bucket-list adventure to reclaim her life. As she struggles to find work, he documents a journey that uncovers the betrayals plaguing her past and the economic insecurity shaping not only her future, but that of an entire generation.

Rebecca AND sian-Pierre

Rebecca worked every day of her life as a hotel housekeeper to give her two sons, Sian-Pierre and Gabriel, every opportunity life could afford. When it was time for Sian-Pierre to go to college, she even cashed out her 401K to give him the best education possible. But when she was suddenly fired from her job at 75, Rebecca was left with nothing...no savings, no safety net, and no future job prospects. Now, Sian-Pierre is giving her back the life she sacrificed, and helping her to reclaim her future, one adventure at a time.

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REBECCA’S BUCKET LIST

Rebecca and Sian-Pierre completed one bucket-list item per month for a year. While not all of their adventures made it into the film, they were all a part of the story of their lives together. Some include:

  • Taking a hip-hop dance class

  • Skydiving in Hawaii

  • Visiting the gravesite of Rebecca’s sister, Elsie

  • Milking a cow

AGEISM IN AMERICA

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Ageism in America is pervasive. Older folks are invisible in their communities, in the workplace, and, sometimes, within their own families. And to make matters worse, an estimated 25 million older Americans won’t have enough money to get them through retirement age. With Duty Free, we hope to engage in an intergenerational conversation around aging, financial security, and, most importantly, the power of love.

 

TECHNOLOGY

PEW RESEARCH

"For example, just 26% of internet users ages 65 and over say they feel very confident when using computers, smartphones or other electronic devices to do the things they need to do online, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey. Roughly one-third describe themselves as only a little (23%) or not at all (11%) confident in their ability to use electronic devices to do necessary online activities.”

UNEMPLOYMENT

PRO PUBLICA

“Between the time older workers enter the study and when they leave paid employment, 56 percent are laid off at least once or leave jobs under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily. Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did before their employment setbacks, analysis showed.”

FINANCIAL INSECURITY

THE ATLANTIC

“A 2016 survey by GOBankingRates, for example, showed that about 3 in 10 adults over the age of 55 had not one penny saved for retirement. For low-income older adults struggling to meet their basic needs, Social Security is often the only source of retirement income, if they’re able to retire at all — and many discover that the average monthly benefit of just $1,369 is simply not enough.”