The Eden Alternative

Written, Produced & Directed by Jason Goodman

I first encounted The Eden Alternative when I was working for Day & Date, a daily magazine-format tv series. The first piece was filmed in a small town outside of Rochester, NY, and was just one of those production days when everything went perfectly – I knew it would be a really good piece. But while I was waiting for my plane home, I realized how much the day had affected me emotionally – and began thinking about making a longer documentary about The Eden Alternative.

The path was not easy. No one wanted to fund a film about old people. But Bill Thomas, the creator of the Eden Alternative, was supportive – and in the fall of 2007, just outside Indianapolis, Indiana, I began filming the transition of an institutional nursing home into an Edenized one.

Click here to see what happened.

The Road To Eden • Written Produced & Directed by Jason Goodman

The Eden Alternative Documentary, The Road To Eden, is one of my great disappointments. The idea was to follow one nursing home as they turned their facility from a conventional approach to long-term care into an Edenized facility. I looked at institutions who were beginning the Eden process in Nova Scotia and Delaware, before deciding that critics would dismiss them as Canadian or East Coast elitists. Ultimately I decided on the a nursing home in the middle of the country – Westminister Village North – in Indianapolis, Indiana.

At first, the process seemed to be magical, and I saw great progress among the patients. But it soon became clear that the staff was less than enthusiastic about The Eden Alternative.
And in one sense, I couldn’t blame them. They had $7.35 an hour jobs with no health care, and they were responsible for people who were very fragile and often needy. The Eden Program added the burden of animal care to their daily grind, and that resistance was hard to overcome. To make matters worse for me, Behind The Music had taken off, and i was constantly traversing between the nursing home and Madonna‘s home, which was a little disconcerting. It fell apart when the Eden-trained executive who was instituting the Eden Policy at Westminister left to take another job. What was left is this fragment of the intended film.

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