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'Cyber-Seniors' is fun look at seniors bridging digital divide

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Affable and optimistic, the Canadian documentary "Cyber-Seniors" depicts the efforts of enterprising teenagers to get a technology-averse older generation to sign on, log in and start friending.

Filmmaker Saffron Cassaday has more than an observer's interest in capturing the retirement crowd getting better in touch with loved ones: The Cyber-Seniors program was started by her teenage sisters, Macaulee and Kascha, as a high school project inspired by how learning the ways of the Web changed the lives of the girls' grandparents. (That's for the better, incidentally, all you curmudgeons.)

There's readily available humor, naturally, in seeing social media-savvy kids patiently — save a few eye rolls — educating older, bemused-then-hooked computer newbies in all things clickable. ("I need more hits!" 88-year-old Shura exclaims at one point over a short video she filmed for an online contest run by the project.)

Sure, passwords might be quickly forgotten. But even for the most techno-wary at the Toronto assisted living centers where the movie was primarily filmed, the lure of virtual visitation seems to go a good way toward bridging what's been a large and digitally contoured generation gap. The ubiquitously represented Facebook and YouTube, meanwhile, can go ahead and write their checks to the Cassadays.

"Cyber-Seniors." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes. At Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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