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Published : 09/Dec/2022


When two acclaimed Californian film-makers decided to make a movie this year, they didn’t start by approaching big Hollywood stars to take on the top roles.

Instead it was Shropshire people they wanted to put up there on the silver screen.

And they wanted to shine the spotlight especially on what they see as “the growing pandemic” of loneliness and isolation.

The result is that Individuals and families from across Shropshire are featured in the new thought-provoking documentary film ‘All The Lonely People’ – set to have its UK premiere in Shrewsbury, followed by four public screenings in the town in December.

The film, that also features several American families, emphasising that the challenges of loneliness and isolation are universal, is the latest work from renowned producer Joe Applebaum and award-winning writer/director Stu Maddux.

Joe and Stu first became aware of loneliness experienced in the largely rural county of Shropshire when – through their contacts in England – they heard of the help offered by Age UK Shropshire Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Council.

“We felt Shropshire had people from many different walks of life challenged by this hidden pandemic of loneliness, but also many organisations that are discovering solutions,” said Joe.

“We are discovering that many audiences around the world see this unique area of Shropshire as actually very similar to their own neck of the woods in many ways.”

There will be public screenings of the film on December 5, 6, 7 and 8 from 11am at the OMH (Old Market Hall) cinema in The Square, Shrewsbury, following its UK premiere at the venue on December 4. Book tickets here.

Researchers say loneliness can be as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, says Heather Osborne, Chief Executive of Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin.

“It’s believed the added stress of feeling alone can increase the risk of heart disease and the onset of dementia,” she said.

‘All The Lonely People’ highlights personal stories about the challenges of living in a remote area, and the practical and psychological impacts of a lack of transport options.

It also explores the paths people are taking to alleviate loneliness, what organisations and professionals have to offer, and how communities are responding.

Heather added: “It’s been a privilege to work with renowned film-makers to shine a light on the enduring problem of isolation and loneliness in our society – and to have so much of the film shot in Shropshire has been a real thrill.”

The premiere at the OMH will be attended by cast and crew as well as staff, volunteers and clients of Age UK STW along with representatives of partner organisations and local dignitaries.

The film has been produced through Joe Applebaum’s social impact organisation, The Clowder Group, which seeks to change the world through the medium of film, and is being screened at events around the world.