Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory
U.S. Documentary


2013, 74 minutes, color & b/w, U.S.A.

Audience Award: U.S. Documentary presented by Acura

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.

Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett

Screenwriter: Michael Rossato-Bennett

Executive Producers: The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, Projector Media, Eric J. Bertrand, Limore Shur, Ben Spivak

Producer: Michael Rossato-Bennett

Co-producers: Alexandra McDougald, Barry Cole, Jonathan Clasberry

Editors: Michael Rossato-Bennett, Mark Demolar, Manuel Tsingaris

Composer: Itaal Shur

Cinematographer: Shachar Langlev

About the Director

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.


1/18/2014 2:30 pm
Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
1/19/2014 12:30 pm
Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
1/21/2014 9:15 pm
Temple Theatre, Park City
1/24/2014 9:45 pm
Broadway Centre Cinema 3, SLC
1/25/2014 11:30 am
Library Center Theatre, Park City