From Ageism to Empowerment: An Intergenerational Conversation with Mother-Son Duo of Acclaimed Film ‘Duty Free’

Scene from the Duty Free film.

CABHI’s Community of Innovation podcast is proud to continue our series of episodes featuring conversations from the CABHI Summit 2022. This episode is the series’ fourth installment.

After 75-year-old immigrant mother, Rebecca Danigelis was fired without cause from her lifelong job as a hotel housekeeper, her son Sian-Pierre Regis took her on a bucket list adventure to reclaim her life. As Rebecca struggled to find work, Sian-Pierre lovingly documented her journey in his celebrated film Duty Free – uncovering the economic insecurity shaping not only his mother’s future but that of an entire generation.

In this episode, Rebecca and Sian-Pierre join moderator Felicia Brown as they talk about the film and how their own personal life journeys intersect with the issues near and dear to their hearts: ageism, caregiving, and economic insecurity for older adults.

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Learn more about our guests

Sian-Pierre Regis is filmmaker who directed, produced, and self-distributed his debut feature documentary Duty Free. Released in

Rebecca Danigelis is the 80-year-old star of the critically acclaimed and award-nominated documentary Duty Free. After being fired from her long-time career as a hotel housekeeper at 75, Rebecca has become an activist against ageism in both workplaces and communities. The upbeat mother of three uses her lived experience to educate employers and employees on the values of being age-inclusive, underlining the essentiality of including age in diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) initiatives. Since Duty Free’s premiere, she has inspired thousands via notable live discussions with organizations including AARP, World Health Organization, National Council on Aging, SouthArts, American Society on Aging, Cirkel, and more.

Felicia Brown manages AARP’s Small Business Initiative which promotes and amplifies entrepreneurship for older adults. She directs the development of educational programming, leads national convenings, and advises on the value of older entrepreneurs. In her work, she elevates the experiences and lessons of entrepreneurs. She plays a crucial role in establishing solutions that increase outcomes for women and businesses of colour. Felicia has over 20 years of experience developing and managing programs that address the needs of consumers and the community.

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