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Downside Up captures the beginnings of America's largest museum of contemporary art, MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) and the rebirth of its host-city, North Adams, Massachusetts. Through the eyes of filmmaker Nancy Kelly and her family, most of who worked in the former capacitor factory before it closed, the film renders the subtle changes in the spirit of a region. Downside Up is about hope: the tentative, dangerous notion of hope in a town widely viewed as hopeless.
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"Kelly shot the film over a three-year period, and in this first-person documentary, she has beautifully captured a shift from hopelessness to hope, that took place in her hometown. With a glimpse of a brighter future, those that live and work in North Adams have a new sense of pride and empowerment. This film has many audiences; in an educational setting it may be viewed by students in art, urban planning, sociology, and museum studies. Highly recommended for academic libraries and medium-large size public libraries."
Joan Stahl, University of Maryland, Educational Media Reviews Online
"This fascinating video chronicles the decline and eventual rise of North Adams, a Massachusetts town suffering from 'post industrial decay'...This story of hope is also an enticing introduction to contemporary art."
Nancy McCray, Booklist
"Downside Up is a marvelous testament to the power of community builders to restore hope in seemingly hopeless situations."
Jody Krestzmann, Asset Based Community Development Initiative, Northwestern University
"North Adams and MASS MoCA present a unique story worth celebrating. This gem of film does just that."
Barry Bluestone, Director, Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University
"With humor and historical perspective, and utterly without condescension or artistic pretension, she lets both the old city and the new museum speak for themselves...It's a simple, memorable vision of what art can do."
Louise Kennedy, Boston Globe
AWARDS / SCREENINGS
* National PBS Independent Lens series
* WGBH Greater Boston Arts series
* Cleveland International Film Festival
* Film Arts Festival of Independent Cinema
* First Person Cinema Series, Seattle, WA
* Hot Springs International Film Festival, AK
* Northampton Film Festival
* South by Southwest Film Festival, Austin, TX
* Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)
* Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
* Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
* Institute of Contemporary Art, Chicago
* The Point, Bronx, NY
* Wing Luke Asian Museum, Seattle, WA
* The Light Factory, Charlotte, NC
* Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA
* Bangor Opera House, Bangor, ME
* Center for Arts Policy, Chicago
Nancy Kelly For more than 25 years, Nancy Kelly has produced and directed independent documentary and narrative films. Her documentary Smitten, about Rene di Rosa and his collection of contemporary art by Northern California artists, premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October 2005 and aired nationally on PBS in 2006. It won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Film at the DC Independent Film Festival and shared the Audience Award at the Aspen Shortsfest. It screened at the Santa Fe Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival (San Jose, CA), International Festival of Films on Art (Montreal), Ashland (OR) Film Festival, and at Copia in Napa, California.She wrote, produced and directed Downside Up, an hour-long documentary about America's largest museum of contemporary art, MASS MoCA, which opened as an economic development move in the abandoned Massachusetts factory where her family once worked. She directed and co-produced the critically acclaimed American Playhouse Theatrical film Thousand Pieces of Gold, which was in many international film festivals, played in theaters in the US and Europe, and was broadcast worldwide. Ms. Kelly also produced and directed the documentaries Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women; A Cowhand's Song: Crisis on the Range; and Sweeping Ocean Views. Cowgirls was broadcast by the National Geographic Explorer Program and in the United Kingdom and won many film festival awards. She directed a number of segments - including the pilot - for SPARK , KQED San Francisco's documentary art series. She is also in development on The Work of Art, the story of Chicago's Albany Park Theater Project, an immigrant youth theater company. Nancy is also writing, with Gwendolyn Clancy, a work of creative non-fiction called When We Were Cowgirls. She is a native of North Adams, Massachusetts. She is married to the film editor Kenji Yamamoto.
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Raananah is an intimate look at one remarkable community and its independent people as they gracefully age. Fifty years ago, a group of idealistic Jewish immigrants formed a summer refuge, Raananah. Through home movies, we see the founders as young people and hear of their lives and dreams. Today we meet these same people at Raananah as they reflect on their lives, their children, and aging together with dignity.
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