Georgetown Village to Launch ‘Conversations’ Program to Honor Bill Plante

The Georgetown Village is holding its annual spring gala on Wednesday June 14 at the stunning multi-terraced Waterfront penthouse of philanthropist Nancy Taylor Bubes. They have a lot to celebrate. There’s the growth of their members and volunteers’ continual service since 2011 when the Georgetown Village was founded as one of the seventeen aging-in-place “village” services in the Washington area.

In addition, they’re celebrating their “game changing” recent move and re-invention as a friendly and accessible, isolation-busting gathering place at their spacious and beautifully decorated new headquarters at the former Filmore School on 35th street. Even more, the Georgetown Village members, volunteers and supporters will celebrate Wednesday the launching of several new and expanded popular programs and services provided by the Village to meet the needs of Georgetowners 55 years and older. “The programs are part of our mission to help you stay in your home for as long as you wish to remain there and to prevent social isolation,” according to Village Director Lynn Golub-Rofrano.

Lynn Golub-Rofrano, founding Executive Director of Georgetown Village. Twitter photo.

“The gala also will feature the launch of a uniquely intimate quarterly interview and conversation program of current events in honor of Georgetown Village founding member, Q St. resident and well-known CBS/NPR political commentator and journalist Bill Plante. Plante died September 28, 2022. “We envision the programs as a series of conversations, depicting Bill’s interview style that often turned his long news interviews into deep conversations revealing what drove the viewpoints and perspectives of his guests,” Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robin Smith explained to The Georgetowner. Smith is director of Video/Action, a not-for-profit film production enterprise that she founded in 1990 when she left network news. She’ll be hosting the new quarterly series live to be broadcast and archived on YouTube.

Filmmaker Robin Smith. Courtesy Entertainment.DC.Gov.

Smith began her film career when the rights to her first documentary “He’s Only  Missing”  — an account of the impact on her family and others when her father, a Marine Corps fighter pilot was declared missing in action when his plane was shot down over Vietnam in 1969. She produced the documentary as a student at Ohio University (BFA, 1972) and a grad student at Boston University (MS, 1978).  It was bought by CBS and Smith went on to work with Charles Kuralt on his Sunday Morning show from 1978-1985 and with Roger Mudd and Connie Chung at NBC news in Washington, D.C.

Her documentary was expanded to incorporate the agonies and tragedies of MIAs and their families in conflicts throughout the world. In April 1995, she traveled with Dan Rather, Plante and a crew of TV filmmakers to Vietnam to follow-up on sightings of possible remains of her fathers’ co-pilot. “Our Vietnamese friend and well-known Georgetown restaurateer Germaine accompanied us and she was crucial in engaging an old Vietnamese farmer they met on location who turned out to be the villager who had cut the co-pilot’s body down from a tree where it was lodged. He led the film crew into the jungle to the crash and burial sight that has now been officially identified and excavated. Smith was able to find closure for her and her family there as well as sympathy for the sufferings of the Vietnamese families in the area who suffered terrible personal losses,” Smith told The Georgetowner. It was all revealed in a sensitive composite documentary made by Smith and the TV producers that was shown nationwide. In May, Smith presented it at the Georgetown Village.  It’s on the web site. A box of tissues at the ready is recommended when viewing.

Smith founded Video/Action to create educational films and multi-media programs on issues affecting women and at-risk children. Their first film was “Shooting Back: Photography by Homeless Children” that’s been widely viewed on PBS.  Over 20 documentaries and films have followed including award winners: “Walk In Jy Shoes,” featuring civil rights activist John Lewis; “Women of Substance,” about drug addiction among women narrated by Joanne Woodward; “A Call to Care” about a religious order of Catholic Women who helped establish health care in America; and “One Block at a Time” on community-based efforts to combat substance abuse in Washington, D.C. “Since its founding in 1990, Video/Action has completed more than 230 productions, according to Smith.

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