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DIRECTED BY: Michael Rossato-Bennett



2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary

Post-film Q&A with director Michael Rossato-Bennett and featured subject, Dan Cohen

As dementia continues to affect millions of elderly Americans, Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory reveals a remarkable, music-based breakthrough that has already transformed lives. Spearheaded by social worker Dan Cohen and captured on camera over the course of three years by filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett, we learn that songs from a patient’s past can awaken memories and emotions that have been asleep for years, sometimes decades. Within a moment of hearing “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, Alzheimer’s patient Marylou jolts back to life, dancing around the living room and expressing a euphoria her husband hasn’t witnessed since her illness took effect. Countless instances in Alive Inside provide proof that music stimulates activity in dementia-affected parts of the brain and transforms the quality of life of those often left to languish in silence.

Through revealing conversations with renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin, as well as powerful firsthand experiments conducted by Cohen in nursing homes, this groundbreaking documentary demonstrates how connecting the elderly to the music they love not only combats memory loss but also supplements a broken health-care system often indifferent to interpersonal connections.

MICHAEL ROSSATO-BENNETT is the founder and executive producer of Projector Media, a documentary production company dedicated to inspiring conversations that interrogate issues related to our cultural consciousness. Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory is Rossato-Bennett’s first feature-length offering. Projector Media has several documentaries in various stages of production in addition to Alive Inside. Each of those projects is inspired by Rossato-Bennett's dedication to the collective well-being of society.

DAN COHEN, MSW, is founder and Executive Director of Music & Memory, a nonprofit organization, which promotes the use of digital music technology to improve the lives of the elderly and infirm. He has held training, sales, and support positions for 20 years in the technology industry, has served as a consultant/trainer for the US Department of Education, and as an administrator of volunteer and community service programs for a consortium of 17 colleges and universities on Long Island.




RUNNING TIME: 74 minutes






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