Sensei Fran Kicks Ass

 Demonstrating martial arts at the annual cherry blossom festival in Washington DC.

Demonstrating martial arts at the annual cherry blossom festival in Washington DC.

 Fran will be starting her 26th season of teaching skiing and snowboarding this winter.

Fran will be starting her 26th season of teaching skiing and snowboarding this winter.

 Free shiatsu massages for volunteers at the annual Washington DC Folklife Festival.

Free shiatsu massages for volunteers at the annual Washington DC Folklife Festival.

Logline:

After traveling the world with the foreign service, octogenarian Fran Vall still lives life fully and on her own terms.

Synopsis:

Sensei Fran Kicks Ass is the story of one woman’s pursuit to redefine what it means to age. Eighty year old Fran Vall is a master teacher of two Japanese martial arts, as well as skiing and snowboarding. She lives a very active life guided by her Jewish faith and quest to never stop learning.

In the film we spend time with Fran as she teaches Judo, Naginata (Japanese sword fighting), skiing and snowboarding. She also goes out dancing, volunteers for various community organizations, and gives Shiatsu massage. Sensei Fran became proficient in all of these during her years in the Foreign Service, living in places such as Japan, Afghanistan and the Sudan.

This documentary shows a woman continuing to lead a rich and meaningful life in her later years. Sharing stories like Sensei Fran’s can reduce the stigma towards aging, and show that it is never too late to learn new things and make new friends. It is hoped that Fran's story will be the first of a series that portrays a diverse array of older women whose inspiring lives refute the negative stereotypes of their ages and genders.

Status:

Currently in post-production at Downtown Dailies LLC. Release date Winter 2018.