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One World Cinema

Sharon Abella and her blog 1worldcinema report on the industry from New York and th emany festivals she is attending, she is a regular contributor to


“Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory”




Starts on Friday, July 18, 2014 at the Landmark Sunshine Theater in New York City, and on 80 screens throughout the United States.

Producer, Regina Scully, refers to “Alive Inside” as “the little film that could.”

The film demonstrates how music connects, heals, and restores lives.

“Alive Inside” starts out with the founder of Music and Memory, Dan Cohen, interviewing a 90 year old woman sitting in a wheelchair explaining how she can’t remember anything anymore.

Dementia is a loss of brain function that affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior. People with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or wandering out of their neighborhood.

As people age, it is not uncommon for them to loose their independence, loose their dignity, and may even be dealing with loss of loved ones as well.

Over the course of three years, Dan visited many Nursing Homes in the NYC area including, Cobble Hill, Patterson Extended Care Nassau University, LI State Veterans Home, and North Shore University Hospital-LIJ, and placed headphones connected to nano-sized ipods downloaded with songs from their past, on those diagnosed with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis and Schizophrenia.  As we all know music takes you back in time. When you listen to a song from a certain time in your life, you reflect back on where you were, who you were associating with, and the memories that you shared. When the elders listened to songs that they were familiar with, songs that they had grown up with, and maybe even their favorite song of all time, the results were astonishing.

Their faces lit up, they started dancing and singing along, and even became emotional. It was as if a new person was awakened. The music had meaning, and connected them to memories from the past and who they are as human beings. They were able to leave the daily routine and their illnesses behind and go into a world that they were familiar with on their own terms. By getting to know the person first, and helping people find that song, the nursing home population was able to sing and live again.

“Music and Memory” has grown from 56 nursing homes to 650 locations and has a core belief that as the population ages, they will need to do so healthily.

“It takes me back to my school days.”

“I like Cab Calloway.”

“It reminds me of riding a bike, which is how I used to earn my living.”

“Music and Memory” is a non-profit, and the nano and headphones cost approximately $50.00 each. Old ipods or financial donations are appreciated.

Article by Sharon Abella
One World Cinema



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