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2023 Pilot Awards for Global Brain Health Leaders (GBHI)

“Land of the Young”: Changing dementia narratives in Hollywood

Can a film help reduce stigma surrounding dementia?

Zach Bandler
Global Brain Health Institute
Dublin, Ireland


According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2023 Facts and Figures Report, there are an estimated 6.7 million individuals in the United States who are living with dementia, making dementia awareness a public health priority. This involves increasing awareness and understanding of overall brain health and aging, as well as reducing the stigma surrounding dementia. Studies have shown that forms of media such as television and film, can be useful tools for dementia awareness and education. However, most films portray negative attitudes towards dementia and do not represent the lived experiences of individuals with dementia and their care partners.

Research Plan

For their studies, Zach Brandler proposes a pilot project to produce a short film called “Land of the Young” that will engage individuals living with dementia in the filmmaking process. First, the researchers will develop a screenplay in consultation with individuals with lived experiences of dementia. The team will then organize the film’s production by hiring a cast, crew members, and identifying filming locations. The film will be a modern family drama taking place in Ireland and will focus largely on family and dementia care. The team will promote the short film at international film festivals to generate the support to make a future full-length version of the film.


If successful, the film created during this study will improve representation of individuals living with dementia in media. It could also promote dementia awareness and reduce negative attitudes and stigma surrounding dementia.

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