Vail Film Festival: ‘A Year by the Sea’ is a delight on pages, stages and screens |

Vail Film Festival: ‘A Year by the Sea’ is a delight on pages, stages and screens

Joan Anderson’s memoir "A Year By the Sea" spent 32 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and has been translated into 17 languages.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go

What: New York Times Bestselling Author Joan Anderson signs her memoir, “A Year by the Sea.”

When: 4-6 p.m. today

Where: The Bookworm in the Edwards Riverwalk

Information: Joan Anderson’s memoir spent 32 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list, and has been translated into 17 languages. The film version will be screened Saturday (3:30 p.m. in the Cascade Theater) and Sunday (2:30 p.m. in the CineBistro in the Solaris) during this weekend’s Vail Film Festival.

VAIL — Lives in progress. A thing to behold. Behold Joan Anderson, who has helped an entire generation of women and men grasp a basic truth: “It’s never too late to reclaim your life.”

We are all works in progress, said Anderson, author of the sensation “A Year by the Sea.”

Anderson will be at the The Bookworm of Edwards from 4 to 6 p.m. today to read, sign her book and meet with fans, some of whom are traveling from across the country for the event.

All about a year

The movie, based on her memoir, will be screened twice during this weekend’s Vail Film Festival. In attendance to tell you all about it will be Anderson, star Karen Allen and writer, director and composer Alexander Janko.

The familiar and inspiring story goes like this:

After 30 years as a wife and mother, an empty-nester retreats to Cape Cod rather than follow her relocated husband to Kansas. Amid the sea breezes and salt water, she is intent to rediscover herself. She’s racked with guilt and questions her decision until she finally stumbles upon a mentor.

She learns to embrace the ebb and flow of life, ultimately discovering the balance between self and sacrifice, obligation and desire.

The book stuck to the heart of baby boomers, especially women, who have embraced it. “A Year by the Sea” was on the New York Times best-seller list for 32 weeks, has been translated into 17 languages and has earned the support of Oprah Winfrey and many others. Anderson has four other books.

All star cast

The film features a Golden Globe, Emmy, Tony and Pulitzer Prize award-winning cast — Allen, Yannick Bisson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Michael Cristofer and Celia Imrie. For Janko, the book landed in his life at just the right time.

“When Joan’s book magically appeared on my kitchen counter, I was at a crossroads,” Janko said.

He’d had enough of Hollywood and was looking for purpose in his life. The book’s opening line, “The decision to separate seemed to happen overnight,” struck a chord in his very soul, he said.

Digging a little deeper, he figured out that Anderson’s quest for authenticity is universal.

“Her courage to embark on a journey of self-discovery became a story I needed to share with the world on the big screen,” Janko said. “No one should ever be made to feel they’ve outlived their usefulness. Why should life suddenly stop just because we reach a certain age?”

While the book and film are wildly popular with women, men also deal with similar issues — usefulness, duty, physical and emotional changes. The book and film incorporate those as well.

Allen brings her long and distinguished resume to the project. She starred in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Animal House,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Scrooged,” “The Sandlot,” “The Perfect Storm” and many others.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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