ALIVE INSIDE is a joyous cinematic exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals around the country who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short. This stirring documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it. Rossato-Bennett visits family members who have witnessed the miraculous effects of personalized music on their loved ones, and offers illuminating interviews with experts including renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain) and musician Bobby McFerrin (“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”).
An uplifting cinematic exploration of music and the mind, ALIVE INSIDE’s inspirational and emotional story left audiences humming, clapping and cheering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.
In 1976, before “independent” films became a force at the box office, Neal Miller began his award-winning career as an “Indy” filmmaker. He ignored the prevailing wisdom that you have to live in Hollywood to make it, and it never hindered his ability to mount critically-acclaimed productions in Chicago with major stars and directors – including Alan Arkin, Susan Sarandon, Christopher Walken, Joanne Woodward, Fred Gwinn, Sean Young, Glenn Headley, Lauren Holly, Austin Pendleton and Jonathan Demme. Neal has produced an enduring body of work that has been hailed by many of the nation’s top critics and endorsed by many major film festivals around the world (including those in Venice, Munich, Barcelona, and the Sundance Film Festival).
In 2009, Neal formed The Shaggy Dog Project, a community consortium designed to guide aspiring filmmakers through the process of creating short, dramatic films using professional screenwriting and filmmaking techniques. Once the projects were Green-lighted by Neal, short (5 to 10 minute) films were produced with class members serving as the production crew. The goal was to provide a total filmmaking experience, from basic-idea-to-finished-film, and is based on the premise that learning is best accomplished by doing. Neal directed four films for the group, providing the opportunity to experience how a professional film production is organized. The films premiered at the Eugene (Oregon) International Film Festival.