For Immediate Release
Los Angeles – June 04, 2015 – Producer Miles Maker has optioned motion picture and television rights to the life stories of Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the cook and the janitor who stayed without pay to care for abandoned elderly residents when their assisted living home was shut down. Their selfless act of heroism led to the 2014 Residential Care For the Elderly Reform Act.
When the California Department of Social Services issued a suspension order in 2013 to temporarily shut down Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley over a lengthy list of violations, there was a lapse in proper agency protocol that instructs its staff to work with the home and local agencies to ensure everyone is transitioned. Many of its elderly residents were left behind, with nowhere to go. The staff at Valley Springs Manor left when they stopped getting paid — except for cook Maurice Rowland and Miguel Alvarez, the janitor. “We had a conversation in the kitchen, 'What are we going to do?'” Rowland says. Neither of them were scheduled to work or asked by management to stay. “If we left, they wouldn't have nobody,” the 34-year-old Alvarez says. Their roles quickly transformed for the elderly residents, who needed round-the-clock care. They cooked, cleaned and bathed the elderly—giving them their medications and helping them in and out of their beds and wheelchairs. Overwhelmed, Maurice and Miguel were in over their heads. With medication foul-ups and residents becoming ill, They called 911 several times over the course of several days before emergency responders finally evacuated the last of the residents by ambulance. In light of their heroics, the duo received an award from the American Veterans Association, a certificate of special recognition from Rep. Eric Swalwell's office and a commendation from the California Legislature.
Maker heard about Maurice and Miguel on StoryCorps presented by NPR and was moved by their thankless act of caring and responsibility. "I followed the story for about a year before contacting these amazing men to discuss my creative vision and present my offer to adapt their heroic experience into a movie," he recalls. Their life story rights deal may be the first of its kind: any profit Maker makes as producer will be evenly split with Rowland and Alvarez. "The potential breakout success of this movie and its ability to increase their financial independence is intrinsically linked, and I'm motivated by that," Maker says. "My next step is to hire a screenwriter, then attach a director, or approach name talent. Even without a first draft of the script, I'll be in early talks with distributors and streaming media platforms because the story is already a known commodity." To finance production at IfWeLeft.com, Maker will seek crowd-sourced donations on Indiegogo, a global fundraising site to help individuals, businesses, and non-profits raise money online.
This is Maker's first feature film based on a true story. It is also the first movie he will produce from script to screen that is not a producer-for-hire project or based on an existing screenplay. The working title IF WE LEFT is a feature length dramatization about friendship, heroism and the plight of our beleaguered elderly care system. "I call them the people that people forgot," Maker says of the elderly. "Almost everybody you ask wants to live to see the ripe old age of one hundred years old, but nobody stops to think about what their quality of life might be at that age. Half of assisted living and nursing home residents don't have any close relatives or children to help them." In 2050, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million, almost double its estimated population of 43.1 million in 2012. More than 32 million Americans will be over the age of 80, and the share of the 80-plus generation will have doubled to 7.4 percent.
Miles Maker, Director