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Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

USA | 2014 | 74 minutes | Michael Rossato-Bennett

This emotional documentary shows the powerful effect that music can have on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Alive Inside touchingly presents an alternative method to awakening the memories of these patients when social worker Dan Cohen brings iPods to a nursing home.

May 17, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown Festival  
11:00 AM Date has passed
May 19, 2014
AMC Pacific Place 11  
7:00 PM Date has passed

Director Michael Rossato-Bennett scheduled to attend

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On a whim, New York-based social worker Dan Cohen decided to bring iPods to a nursing home and made a remarkable discovery: Many Alzheimer's and dementia-afflicted patients suffering from memory loss seem to “awaken” when they listen to music from their past. With great excitement, Cohen recruited first-time director Michael Rossato-Bennett, and the two embarked on a three-year investigation of the mysterious ways music reconnects patients with the memories and emotions of their youth. Rossato-Bennett explores the history of the elder care industry from the 19th century to the modern day, incorporating interviews with an array of medical and musical luminaries (including renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin) and examining how music functions inside our brains and our lives. In the end, though, it's the amazing footage of Cohen's method in action that earned this film the top audience award documentary prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. When a few minutes of gospel music compels the listless patient Henry to break into song, you'll know that you are witness to a landmark discovery that will make you a little more Alive Inside.

Director Biography

Michael Rossato-Bennett produces documentary films designed to change the world. He studied film at Temple University, and in 1982 began his film career with Street Dance, a documentary on the emerging breakdance scene in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was funded by the Ohio Arts Council. His second documentary, Victory House, is a low-budget feature that follows the fates of three young men returning to their hometown after WWII. After founding a photo studio and publishing a book, he returned to his documentary roots by starting Ximotion Media in 2009, a company dedicated to producing films for non-profits and good causes. 

Sponsored by EMP Museum, KEXP 90.3 FM

Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett
Country: USA
Year: 2014
Running Time: 74 minutes
Producer: Michael Rossato-Bennett
Screenplay: Michael Rosasto-Bennett
Cinematographers: Shachar Langlev
Editors: Michael Rosasto-Bennett, Mark Demolar, Manuel Tsingaris
Music: Itaal Shur
Website: Official Film Website
Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2014 (Audience Award for Documentary)
Filmography: Debut Feature Film
Language: English
Format: DCP
International Sales: The Film Sales Company
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