“Edith+Eddie” director Laura Checkoway was first drawn to telling the story of two recently married nonagenarians when a friend sent her a photo of the happy couple. “I just kept staring into their eyes in the picture and wanted to know more about them,” she explains. Particularly, she wanted to explore “what it would be like to find love at that time in your life.” Her film, an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Short, follows the titular pair, who at ages 96 and 95 are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. But their story becomes unexpectedly heartbreaking. Watch our exclusive video interview with Checkoway above.
Luckily for Checkoway, Edith and Eddie were more than happy to welcome cameras into their lives. “They were proud of the love they had found with each other,” the filmmaker recalls. That love “felt like something to cherish, and it was really special to be in their presence.”
However, a feud amongst Edith’s daughters threatens to tear the couple apart. “It took a really dark turn,” says Checkoway. Edith’s rights were eventually taken away and given to a legal guardian whom she had never met. As a journalist, Checkoway knew to keep her distance, acting as a fly-on-the-wall during the family dispute, but it was difficult to witness “their powerlessness in the situation.”
Those struggles make Checkoway all the more grateful to have documented their relationship. “Here’s the power of film,” she explains, “where now their story lives on and can really help other people who are going through the same thing.” Now she’s also thankful for the awards recognition, which is “incredibly meaningful” for a film “that was made independently, and with a whole lot of heart.”
Among those plaudits, “Edith+Eddie” has won awards at the Hamptons, Montclair, Palm Springs, Rhode Island and Virginia Film Festivals. It also contended at the Cinema Eye Honors for Best Nonfiction Short. And Checkoway previously won the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Award for her short “Wolffland” (2016). Will she add an Oscar to her list of honors?
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