The Bubble

Welcome to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown. THE BUBBLE explores senior citizen life within The Villages, America’s largest retirement community; a 32-square mile, sun-drenched, beautifully maintained, gated paradise standing in heartland Florida. Residence to over 150,000 retirees, The Villages have 96 recreation centres, 54 golf courses, 70 swimming pools, 3 old-fashioned town squares, and some 3000 social clubs. Alongside numerous cinemas, restaurants, entertainment venues, shopping complexes, a fire department, an acute care hospital, a newspaper, a television network, and a Fox News-affiliated, 24-hour radio station.

Community residents, leisurely driving customised golf carts across the green fairways and around the pleasant yet identical, small-town American neighbourhoods, are provided with every convenience to enjoy the twilight hours of their lives. And with every reason never to leave. Retired life beneath the year-round Floridian sunshine however, is not perhaps as idyllic, or as welcomed, as many ageing Villagers may imagine.

THE BUBBLE intimately examines the exclusive retirement experiences, beliefs and mindsets of six memorable Villages residents; Toni and Roger, Jeanie and John, Terry and Toni. Interweaving these satisfied retiree existences with the anxieties of several residents from surrounding counties, the documentary reveals how those beyond the community’s sealed gateways are being profoundly displaced by The Villages’ endless desire for land, water, and regional control.

Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, by welcoming senior citizens at the expense of nearby county residents, illustrates many of the nation’s most combative dialogues regarding class imbalance, racial inequality, healthcare privatisation, political affiliation, state responsibility, and civic obligation. The Bubble offers viewers an engaging, provocative yet compassionate contemplation of American ways of life, ageing, and death.



Country of Production
Switzerland, Austria

Year of Production


52 / 93 min

Valerie Blankenbyl

Catpics in co-production with Golden Girls Filmproduktion, SRF, ORF

Original Language

English, German, French

Festivals / Awards

Visions du Réel 2021
Sarasota IFF 2021
Diagonale 2021
Thessaloniki IDF 2021
Astra IFF 2021
Architecture FF Rotterdam 2021
edimotion 2021
Another Way FF 2021
DOC NYC 2021
Anthropological FF Jerusalem 2021
Kasseler Dokfest 2021
Festival dei Popoli 2021
MIDBO 2021
Tournai Ramdam 2022
Int. Filmwochenende Würzburg 2022
Antenna IDF 2022
Österreichische Filmwoche in Israel 2022
ZagrebDox 2022
BARQ - Barcelona Architecture FF 2022 (Best Feature Documentary)
DocEdge 2022
Vero Beach FF 2022