EXECUTIVE PRODUCER BRADLEY COOPER IN PRODUCTION FOR CAREGIVING, THE NEW DOCUMENTARY ON THE STATE AND STAKES OF PROVIDING CARE IN AMERICA

PROJECT SLATED FOR SPRING 2025 PREMIERE ON PBS

Nationwide Well Beings Campaign from WETA Leverages Power of Public Media, Engagement Partners, and Extended Digital Series to Highlight Caregiving Challenges and Advances

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need the caregiver.” Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — WETA Washington, D.C. today announced that production is underway on Caregiving, a two-hour documentary by executive producer Bradley Cooper. Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and Chief Executive Officer of public media station WETA, a producer on the project, shared that the film will feature a diverse group of caregivers sharing their personal stories of challenge and triumph and is slated to premiere on PBS in Spring 2025. 


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In the U.S., more than 53 million family caregivers are unpaid, providing 34 billion hours of care annually, amounting to an estimated $67 billion in personal lost earnings.1 As caregiving in America faces the twin pressures of an aging baby boomer generation and rising life expectancy, the United States’ long-term care system threatens to tip into crisis. The film will personalize this urgent national issue through stories from caregivers and interviews with experts as they fight to give caregivers the security and support they provide for so many others. The project also includes a robust national engagement campaign.

The Caregiving sizzle reel is available HERE. Rockefeller’s announcement about the project funder and partners is HERE.

Well Beings, WETA’s award-winning multiplatform campaign addressing various health needs in America, will present Caregiving as its next feature film.  A production of Lea Pictures and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark media, Caregiving will reveal the vital impact of the caregiver’s role in the family, the workplace, and the country’s economy.

The series will examine caregiving from multiple perspectives: the creation and evolution of the care system; the social dynamics that shape our approach to caregiving today and the future possibilities; the lives of caregivers and their relationships with those in their care; the interpersonal and economic pressures faced by caregivers; and the broader societal context in which caregiving operates on the margins, yet affects everyone.

The caregiving experience is personal for Cooper, who was a caregiver for his late father, Charles J. Cooper, during his battle with lung cancer. Cooper’s dedication to elevating portrayals of caregiving across film and television inspired the Caregiving documentary — Cooper’s first project produced for PBS.

“When my father was diagnosed with cancer, that was a wake-up call for me, one that really opened my eyes to the world of caregiving,” remarked Bradley Cooper, actor, producer, director, and caregiver. “Everyone will end up caring for a loved one at some point in their life. The level of loneliness can overcome an individual going through this – it’s overwhelming. Raising this conversation on a national level will help, and together, I believe we can make a difference. I’m extremely proud to produce this documentary. Together, we can help raise the banner for caregivers.”

Rockefeller noted, “The act of giving and receiving care touches the lives of every American. Caregiving underscores the challenging and fulfilling work of individuals who are the bedrock of the nation’s long-term care system. The selfless act of caregiving is a most worthy cause to activate the power of public media to connect and galvanize providers and supporters to join forces and bring attention to the urgent support system needed to protect this often-overlooked population.”

“Caregiving is one of the most consequential issues affecting families today and, like most Americans, many of us on the production team at Ark media have been directly impacted, each in our own way. We are so proud to be working on this project and giving voice to the caregivers whose lives, work and struggles have for too long gone unrecognized,” commented Chris Durrance, Caregiving‘s director. 

The project will include a national outreach, engagement, education and digital campaign to help audiences better understand the issues caregivers face and build awareness for programs available in their communities. This effort will build a resource network between local PBS stations, community organizations, national sponsors, and partners, including the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers, Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, Grantmakers In Aging, Global Coalition on Aging, and National Alliance for Caregiving to immerse audiences into the world of caregiving and build communities to sustain caregivers during an unprecedented moment in which there is an opportunity to transform our country’s caregiving system into one that works for us all.

Generous underwriters committed to greater education about health and wellness have made this ambitious project possible. Support for Caregiving is made possible by Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc.; Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation; Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation; Care.com; and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Support for the engagement and outreach for Caregiving is made possible by the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Documentary Profiles the Experiences of Caregivers and Perspectives of Advocates

The community of available caregivers, already insufficient, threatens to remain stagnant due to a lack of financial support and resources. The median annual pay for a professional caregiver is less than $24,000, and almost half of professional caregivers rely on public assistance.2 The series will intimately explore the lived experiences of families and professional caregivers, including people such as Matt, a young father who became both his wife and son’s primary caregiver overnight after his wife was treated for a debilitating stroke, and cancer. In her late 20s, Jessica put a successful career on pause when her mother, herself a successful businesswoman, received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Zulma, a home health aide, faces a grueling three-hour commute to work three night shifts in a row for a client with multiple sclerosis.

Weaving in history and context, the series will follow people at the forefront of the caregiving movement. Ai-jen Poo — the preeminent American voice on caregiving, and the president of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and director of Caring Across Generations — will share the broad-based social and political effort it takes to create caregiving policy, protections and to build a “culture of care.”

Caregiving Project Extends Impact as Newest Initiative from Well Beings Campaign

The Caregiving launch will include a national and local audience engagement campaign to explore how caregiving impacts everyone in America. The engagement campaign will develop relationships with a large network of committed partners and PBS member stations to produce in-person and virtual engagement events and provide resource guides, among other resources, tailored to the specific needs of their unique communities.

Starting in Fall 2024, the multiplatform online strategy will launch with a preview of Caregiving and provide additional film details and video content on the Well Beings digital platform, including the website and social media accounts. The campaign will feature original short-form content and an interactive digital series focused on family caregivers.

Since the launch of Well Beings in May 2020, the campaign has featured impactful local and national conversations through engagement events; produced original digital-first content ranging from feature-length and short-form documentaries to animated explainer shorts; and created signature broadcast content, including Ken Burns Presents Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental Illness A film by Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers. Components of the Well Beings campaign have reached millions of Americans through over 1.9 billion media impressions from major media outlets; 125 million impressions using #WellBeings; and the Well Beings Tour of virtual events produced in 30 public media markets, generating an audience of more than 2 million virtual viewers.

Well Beings is a multiplatform, multi-year campaign from public media to address the critical health needs in America through original broadcast and digital content, engagement campaigns, and impactful local events. Well Beings was created by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public media station in the nation’s capital, and brings together partners from across the country, including youth with experience of mental health challenges, families, caregivers, educators, medical and mental health professionals, social service agencies, private foundations, filmmakers, corporations and media sponsors, to create awareness and resources for better health and well-being. The public can join the conversation by using #WellBeings, visiting WellBeings.org, or following @WellBeingsOrg on Instagram, Facebook, or X.

Caregiving Film Production Team
Caregiving is a production of Lea Pictures and WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Ark media. Chris Durrance serves as Director for Ark media. Barak Goodman is Series Producer, Chris Durrance is Senior Producer and Ruth Fertig is Producer for Ark media. Executive Producers for Lea Pictures are Bradley Cooper and Weston Middleton. Executive Producers for WETA are John F. Wilson and Tom Chiodo. Producer for WETA is Kate Kelly. Production is managed for WETA by Jim Corbley.

ABOUT LEA PICTURES
Bradley Cooper created Lea Pictures in 2020 to create stories that inspire, motivate, and resonate as a producer, writer, actor and director.  Building off the critical and financial success of his producorial work on the Oscar-nominated films Nightmare Alley, A Star Is Born, American Sniper and Joker, Lea Pictures was formed to develop and produce commercially entertaining and transformational feature films, television, documentary films and digital content. Cooper’s first film under Lea Pictures was Maestro, which he co-wrote, produced, directed, and starred in.  Maestro was nominated for seven Oscars and the film was released by Netflix in December 2023.  Cooper is currently co-writing, producing and will direct Is This Thing On? for Searchlight Pictures. The film will star Will Arnett and will go into production this fall. Cooper is a 12-time Oscar nominee whose passion for unique and personal storytelling has made him one of the most influential producers at this time. Additional projects under the Lea Pictures banner include Warner Bros’ Bullitt with Steven Spielberg, Hyperion, also with Warner Bros’ and Graham King, the History Channel’s miniseries FDR, and the podcasts The Good Stuff and Finally! A Show currently on iHeartMedia. Lea Pictures executives include Weston Middleton, who heads up the film division, Kristen Barnett in television and Anneliese Barron in social impact.

ABOUT WETA
WETA is the leading public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, serving Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on television, radio, and digital. WETA Washington, D.C., is the second-largest producing station for public television, with news and public affairs programs including PBS NewsHour, PBS News Weekend, and Washington Week with The Atlantic; films by Ken Burns and Florentine Films, such as The American Buffalo and the forthcoming Leonardo da Vinci; series and documentaries by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., including Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and GOSPEL; performance specials including National Memorial Day Concert and A Capitol Fourth; and health content from Well Beings, a multiplatform campaign. More information on WETA and its programs and services are available at weta.org. Visit facebook.com/wetatvfm on Facebook. 

ABOUT ARK MEDIA
Ark media is one of the most prolific and honored non-fiction production companies in America, with over 25 years of experience producing premium documentary series that speak to a wide array of social, historical and political themes. Founded in 1996 by filmmakers Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin and joined by fellow partner and filmmaker John Maggio in 2003, Ark produces both feature documentaries, and over 30 hours of television/streaming content a year for such outlets as PBS, Participant, HBO, Netflix, MSNBC, and more. Ark’s films have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, DocNYC, and other major film festivals, the company’s productions have been honored with five Emmy Awards, an Academy Award nomination, three DuPont Columbia batons, three George H. Foster Peabody Awards, among many other awards and accolades.

Contacts:
Lameka Lucas, WETA / [email protected] 

For additional up-to-date information on this and other WETA productions, visit Pressroom | WETA.

1 Statistics sourced from American Association of Retired People (AARP) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC). Caregiving in the United States in 2020 (June 18, 2020)  and AARP. Valuing the Invaluable 2023 Update: Strengthening Supports for Family Caregivers (March 8, 2023) https://www.aarp.org/pri/topics/ltss/family-caregiving/valuing-the-invaluable-2015-update/
2
 IPUMS; Ruggles, Steven, Sarah Flood, Ronald Goeken, Megan Schoulweiler, and Matthew Sobek. Smerican Community Survey, 2021 (Septtember 11, 2023) https://www.phinational.org/resource/direct-care-workers-in-the-united-states-key-facts-2023/

SOURCE WETA Washington, D.C.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER BRADLEY COOPER IN PRODUCTION FOR CAREGIVING, THE NEW DOCUMENTARY ON THE STATE AND STAKES OF PROVIDING CARE IN AMERICA



Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/executive-producer-bradley-cooper-in-production-for-caregiving-the-new-documentary-on-the-state-and-stakes-of-providing-care-in-america-302139961.html

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