Photo on right by Steve Shay
"Old Goats" is an indie film shot on Bainbridge Island about three men of retirement age. They are not, however, crotchety, like those in other "old men movies" say its stars and creators. Pictured on stage at the Tin Theater in Burien on opening night is Benita Staadecker, an on-screen love interest of one of the men in the film, and theater owner Dan House, a fan of the film, and of Benita. They spoke opening night.

Local indie film "Old Goats" stars seniors, connects with youth

During opening night of the independent film, "Old Goats" at the Tin Theater in Burien Nov. 17, owner Dan House took the stage and kvelled (Yiddish for 'bursted with pride, and then some') about one of the film's stars, Benita Staadecker. He then introduced her.

House explained how he met Benita, 65. "Two weeks ago at the Uptown Cinema I came in with my wife, and there were only two seats left, in the very back row, and I look over and start talking to Benita and Charlie." Charlie is her husband. "She asked me, 'Do you have a theater? You do? You should show my movie, "Old Goats.'" I go, 'We're showing it in two weeks.'"

Benita and Dan hit it off. When introduced, she told Dan and the audience, which included Dan's mother, Chirlee, "You should all be proud with what you have done with the theater, the restaurant next door, with Burien."

She said, "This has been an experience that is almost out-of-body. It has led to a path that I never thought I would see, and I have to say I don't come on for 37 minutes but I am worth waiting for. My name (in the film) is Cynthia Reilly and I play a wealthy widow."

The Staadeckers live in downtown Seattle. The film was shot on Bainbridge Island for just $5,000, plus an additional $8,000 which, she said, was donated by an "angel" to help with their sound production. She wore her own clothes and did her own makeup she said. "Old Goats" was written and directed by Taylor Guterson, a local industrial filmmaker, and Johnathan Boyer, also from this area. David Skinner of ShadowCatcher Entertainment LLC handles "Old Goats" marketing.

Benita, and the three male leads, Bob Burkholder, David Vanderwal, and Britton Crosley, were first-timers on the silver screen. The men even kept their real names. They will all be returning in a second film now in production. However, it is not a sequel.

In "Old Goats" the three men are retiring or near retirement.

According to FilmThreat.com, the male stars are "...real goddamned men with desires both recreational and romantic. They know they’re old because their environment won’t let them forget it. But they are still the same people they always were."

The film promises to depart from the stereotypical "grouchy old men" formula, and seems to have resonated with all ages. AMC Theatres is interested in taking this movie nationwide.

Staadecker told the Highline Times, "These are three older gentlemen in retirement, or facing retirement, but are wanting to do more. They are very positive.They're not crotchety like other 'old men movies'. They have quirks, but are warm and wonderful."

At SIFF in 2011 it won Audience Top 10, the only non-foreign film to do so. In Cinequest, the San Jose film festival, it won a jury award for best narrative this year.

At the Palm Springs International Film Festival "Old Goats" was slated for three showings, sold out immediately, and offered a forth showing in a high school auditorium for 500 and sold out there, too. It was voted "Best in the Fest", also in 2012. It made a splash at fests from Atlanta to Calgary.

Benita, named after her grandfather Benjamin, was assistant for 10 years to five-term Seattle City Councilmember George Benson, the "Father of the Waterfront Streetcar". He served from 1974 to 1994, and became Council President.

Her husband is running for mayor of Seattle. Charlie Staadecker has operated Staadecker Real Estate, a locally-based, commercial real estate company, since 1984. But at the Tin Theatre it was all about Benita.

Said Charlie of his movie star wife of 28 years, "She's an actress. She's a partner. She's a bright light. She walks into the room and things happen. She is my Gracie Allen. She's brainy and zany all at the same time."

"Old Goats" plays nightly at 7:30 through Nov. 22 at the Tin Theater, 923 SW 152nd St.

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