Based On A True Story – My Green Folder

ABOUT THE FILM

The Story of Richard Schiffer and Christopher MacLellan was chronicled in a three-part series entitled "In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2014.

Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 and read by over 500,000 people worldwide, In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey told the story of love, care, and commitment of two people from different backgrounds and beliefs and the real-life struggles of couples managing a terminal diagnosis.

In Its True Essence, My Green Folder Is A Love Story

Because Love, Care, Commitment, and Caregiving Have No Boundaries!

LOG LINE

Photo Credit:  Towfiqu Barbhuiya via Canva Pro
Photo Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya via Canva Pro

When opposites attract, a gay couple's May-December romance proves to be just what was missing in both their lives and then shows the importance of family – and being someone's one and only – until one of them is diagnosed with a fatal illness and the struggle of caring for each other is exacerbated by the challenges society puts on them as a gay couple – based on a true story: My Green Folder.

THE ISSUE

Photo Credit: Vetre Studio  via Canva Pro
Photo Credit: Vetre Studio via Canva Pro

The Supreme Court case Obergefell vs. Hodges made same-sex marriage legal throughout the United States in 2015, the year after Richard Schiffer died. From that point forward, same-sex couples were treated equally under the law. However, there are now efforts underway to overturn that ruling. Many states, including Florida, still have anti-marriage amendments on the books. If Obergefell was to be overturned, same-sex couples would again lose all the rights, privileges, and benefits they worked so hard to obtain that heterosexual couples take for granted with marriage.

THE PROTAGONISTS

Personal Photo by Christopher MacLellan
Personal Photo by Christopher MacLellan

"My Green Folder" is a feature film based on the true story of Richard Schiffer and Chris MacLellan's life experiences as a same-sex couple navigating the American health care and legal system before marriage equality became law. Richard and Chris had been partners for eight years when, in 2011, Richard was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which propelled Chris into end-of-life care for his long-term partner. Their story was first documented in a 3-Part Pulitzer Prize-nominated (and finalist in 2015), "In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey," for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper by journalist Diane Lade and photojournalist Carline Jean.

WHY MY GREEN FOLDER?

LIFE AS A PAPER TRAIL

Photos Credit: Canva Pro
Photos Credit: Canva Pro

The paper trail of life begins with our birth certificate on the day we are born. There are many more forms to fill out as we move through the stages of life that help tell our story in an impersonal way.

While our lives are more than a paper trail, in times of trial and tribulations, in sickness and health, in good times and in bad, our important life documents are the essential paper trail each one of us needs to receive the care we choose to have when faced with a life-threatening crisis.

THE ISSUE

Photo Credit: Carline Jean South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Photo Credit: Carline Jean South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Same-sex couples have always known the rules were different for them.

With the real-life concern of being denied access to each other at a time of crisis, Richard and Chris carried their living wills, health-care surrogate forms, and power of attorney documents with them wherever they went in a bright "Green Folder" to prove to any unaccepting staffer their legal rights to each other.

While marriage equality will never remove one's bigotry, marriage equality and having "My Green Folder" levels the playing field for everyone.

THE ANTAGONISTS

Photo Credit: Shironosov via Canva Pro
Photo Credit: Shironosov via Canva Pro

While "My Green Folder" closely follows Richard and Chris's true story, a few areas are fictionalized. The primary change is the fictional characters of Burt and Madge; an older married straight couple whose caregiving journey cross paths with Richard and Chris.

Transforming their understanding of the LGBT community while enlightening them about the struggles same-sex couples often experience without the protection of marriage, Burt and Madge's characters play a critical role in grabbing the audience's attention to the importance of marriage equality and why we must ensure this law remains intact while affirming everyone needs a "Green Folder.

Personal Photo by Christopher MacLellan
Personal Photo by Christopher MacLellan

In its true essence, "My Green Folder" is a love story. The macro factors of society, prejudices, and injustice lend to the added features of dealing with these factors before marriage equality became law. Given our current political and societal environment, Richard and Chris' story resonates even more today.

Personal Photo: Richard and Chris at an Easter Hat Parade for SunServe
Personal Photo: Richard and Chris at an Easter Hat Parade for SunServe
Personal Photo by Christopher MacLellan
Personal Photo by Christopher MacLellan

"My Green Folder" is far from being simply an LGBT story or an ‘illness story.’ Still, this film reveals the devotion between persons of the same gender and the enduring adoration between people of different generations, spiritual beliefs, educations, and backgrounds...

Personal Photo: Chris and Richard in France
Personal Photo: Chris and Richard in France

"My Green Folder"  explores the space we inhabit, the people we meet, and the bureaucracy we must negotiate during the experience of caring for a terminally ill family member or friend...

BRS-CJM

"My Green Folder" chronicles the many moments of sacrifice and acts of love that culminate in the enormous emotional impact of losing a loved one that will forever change the lives of those left behind.

The age gap between Richard and Chris allows for the study of gay individuals from different generations.

Richard was a Stonewall activist spurned from his family who spoke fondly of the community created by bathhouses while expressing his suffering through the loss of friends from the AIDS crisis.

Chris is the younger of the couple who struggled with potentially joining the clergy and having a supportive family while he navigated his search for love in a changing world. 

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PENTAX Image
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our Pitch To Tim Daly, President of The Creative Coalition

The Creative Coalition and AARP Entertainment have joined forces to bring care stories to film.

  • Since our working script was completed in September of 2022, I've gone the traditional way to get our project in front of decision-makers in the entertainment industry.
  • Now, I am on a mission to obtain 100,000 (and more) testimonials to demonstrate to Actors, Directors, Investors, and Producers to bring my Green Folder Film Project to production.
  • Watch my pitch to Tim Daly, president of The Creative Coalition.
  • #therightstobeararts

 

Read and Watch Our Pulitzer Prize Nominated LGBT Caregiving Story

In September of 2014, Chris and Richard were approached by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Diane Lade from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the prospects of doing a story on same sex couples involved in caregiving.  At first, the proposal was to do a simple pictorial story to be published in December of 2014. Soon after Diane and award-winning photojournalist, Carline Jean started to follow us on our routine doctor visits and social outings, Richard’s esophageal cancer returned and the two of us found ourselves in the emergency room of a local hospital where the focus of the story suddenly changed.   You can read all the stories and see the video of Richard and Chris (you’ll want to have a Kleenex) by simply clicking on all the graphics below.

 

2015 Pulitzer Prize Finalist  - "In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey"

The story of Richard Schiffer and Chris MacLellan was chronicled in a 2015 Pulitzer Prize-nominated 3-part story, "In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey," which told the journey of caregiving through the lens of a same-sex couple before marriage equality.

The story told of the challenges LGBT partners have in dealing with the medical and legal system, but it also told the story of love and joy in Richard's last years of this beautiful relationship.

In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey story has been read over 500,000 times worldwide since it was published in April of 2014.

The story is successful because readers can place themselves in Richard and Chris' shoes, dealing with the health care and legal system, balancing work and life while facing the reality that their time together is short.

It was an afterthought that the story just happened to be about two men who could have easily been your next-door neighbor.

READ ALL THE STORIES AND SEE AND LISTEN TO RICHARD AND CHRIS IN THEIR OWN WORDS ABOUT THEIR LIFE TOGETHER SIMPLY BY CLICKING ON THE PHOTOS IN THIS SECTION!

AWARDS

  • Pulitzer Prize-nominated in 2015
  • Two First Place awards in the Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine State Award for Best Feature Reporting and Best Online Video
  • Two Florida First Place Awards from the Florida Press Club for Feature Writing and the Lucy Morgan Award for In-depth Reporting
  • First Place Society of News Design Award of Excellence for Photography and Featured Page Design
  • First Place, Society of Features Journalism, Narrative Writing

ABOUT THE audience - It's MASSIVE

AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving estimate there are over 53 million caregivers of all sexual orientations in the United States. Aging, Caregiving, and Marriage Equality are not local issues alone in the United States but are global issues that impact all families.

"My Green Folder" could be the catalyst to ensure marriage equality will continue to be the law of our land by generating discussion and drawing attention to issues that affect all involved with caregiving, healthcare, employers, and the legal system across the United States and beyond.

"My Green Folder" will significantly raise awareness about caregiving's personal, community, and national implications - bringing problems and needs out of the shadows of individual homes and into the spotlight where economic, policy, social, and legislative forces can engage and find solutions to combat the caregiving crisis in America.

"My Green Folder" will immediately appeal to caregivers and their family members, employers, professional care providers, doctors - especially geriatric specialists and palliative care specialists, nurses, hospice practitioners, elder care lawyers, and many others because, at some point in our lives, each one of us will need a caregiver.

"In my 30+ years of working in Social Service, including the past 14 years as a caregiver advocate, I have never seen a social issue like caregiving that brings people together from diverse backgrounds.  That's because caregiving is in every boardroom and every neighborhood; caregiving has no gender, ethnic, economic, or ordination boundaries.  Everyone is impacted by caregiving, which is why it is through story-sharing where diversity meets the road to collaborating on a common cause." Christopher MacLellan

MEET THE SCREENWRITERS

Gary White

600 Gary

Gary White is a well-known writer and producer living in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the lead screenwriter for "My Green Folder."

Gary recently completed the writer-for-hire script for the summer romance movie, "From Paradise With Love." The film was shot in early 2022 in St. Lucia and is currently in final edits.

His holiday romance script "Mistletoe and Bourbon" is being shopped for sale by a producer.

Gary has several TV pilots (The Bourbon Boys Mysteries, Lake Shore Harbor, The House On Lavender Lane, Saugatuck, Life In Podunk) and movie scripts (Contact High, News: The Musical, Death In A Small Town, Friendsgiving, Off Key) currently available for sale.

Additionally, Gary is working on his scripts with Max Timm of The Story Farm Screenwriting Project and the International Screenwriters Association.

For Over 25 years, Gary worked in local television, and his experience in front of and behind the camera has helped shape his writing style.

Jack Tatar

600 Jack

Jack Tatar is the author of numerous books, including "Safe4Retirement: The Four Keys to Your Safe Retirement", "Having the Talk: The Four Keys to Your Parents' Safe Retirement," and the best-selling "Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond."

Jack has supported and produced numerous film and documentary productions, including the award-winning "Counting the Daze," which told the story of a dying man's time gaining friendship at a hospice center.

Jack has written for numerous publications, including Marketwatch, USA Today, and About.com. Jack is Founding Editor for Forbes Magazine's "Cryptoasset and Blockchain Advisor" premium newsletter.

Jack lives in New Jersey with his wife, Maude, and they travel throughout the country in their RV, meeting and learning from people of all ages and backgrounds.

Christopher MacLellan

600 CJM Portrait

After Richard was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, Chris and Richard started a blog together called "The Purple Jacket."

The Purple Jacket became a symbol of Richard and Chris' caregiving experience. It was where they shared their stories and were comforted by the people they met during their caregiving journey.

Since Richard made his life transition in March of 2014, Chris has stayed in the Caregiving space as an advocate, author, public speaker, and podcaster. He founded the Whole Care Network, a podcasting network for family caregivers, in 2017 as a tribute to Richard.

Chris is famous for his bowties and believes wearing a bowtie is like wearing two smiles.

Chris lives in Lake Worth, FL., and is embarking on his new project AgingGayfully™

 

How You Can Get Involved

Tell us why this important film project should be made. We would love to hear from you - Actors, Directors, Investors, Producers Request a Preview Our Working Script.

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"It Is Through Story Sharing Where Diversity Meets The Road To Collaborate On A Common Cause" - Christopher MacLellan