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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

‘Alive Inside’: Award-winning director to show film, talk about music, dementia

Michael Rossato-Bennett is a documentary filmmaker and he has changed lives.

It’s as simple as that.

That’s probably not at the top of his resume. His documentary, Alive Inside, won two awards, including the audience award for U.S. documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014, so that’s probably at the top. 

But ask him and it’s the changing lives part of his career that is key.

How has he changed lives? Just watch a clip of the documentary Alive Inside and you’ll know.

In the film, we meet a series of elderly people with serious dementia issues. Some have barely said a word in years. They don’t recognize their own children. But something happens and it often happens like a light switch has been turned on as these patients become, as the title suggests, alive.

What happens is music. The impact can be profound.

“Music creates connections in the brain,” Rossato-Bennett said during a TEDTalk available on YouTube. “And it creates connections to the past and it creates connections between people.”

Rossato-Bennett said music is a different way of communicating that hits people “way down in the lymphatic system not the thinking part of brain.”

Rossato-Bennett is making two appearances in Fort Worth recently, at the Rotary Club and at the Modern Museum of Fort Worth, where he will show his film and made director’s comments. That latter event is free, courtesy of, appropriately enough, the James L. West Center for Dementia Care.

“We are so delighted that Michael will join us for this special occasion,” Cheryl Harding, CEO of the West Center said before the event.

“You will be amazed how this film confirms the extremely powerful impact that music has on the quality of life and attitude of a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient. Music creates a deeply personal connection that can help expand the ‘aliveness’ of that loved one.”

The acclaimed director will make two high-profile appearances:

• Friday (November 15) at 11:30 a.m. as the featured speaker of the Downtown Fort Worth Rotary Club, which meets at the Fort Worth Club (306 West 7th Street, 12th floor), where he will show video clips and share his director’s comments

• Sunday (November 17) at 4 p.m. at the Modern Museum (3200 Darnell Street in the Fort Worth Cultural Arts District). He will share his director’s comments and participate in a Q&A session from the audience. Seating is limited.

To see a clip from ‘Alive Inside’: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HLEr-zP3fc

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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