Directed by Nancy Kelly
What happens when an impoverished, working-class town decides that its only hope for survival lies within the world of contemporary art? Can these two disparate worlds possibly benefit each other? And why would they even try?
Downside UP captures the beginnings of America’s largest museum of contemporary art, MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), and the re-birth of its host-city, North Adams. Told through the eyes of filmmaker Nancy Kelly and her family, who worked in the factory before it closed, Downside UP renders the subtle changes in the spirit of a region from the intimate view of the kitchen table.
Downside UP aired on the PBS Independent Lens series and in over 125 countries. The Ford Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts supported an extensive Downside UP community engagement campaign.
THE FILMMAKER: Nancy Kelly wrote, produced and directed Smitten, which aired as a PBS Prime Time Special (1675 plays) and won the Audience Awards at the DC Independent Film Festival and Aspen Shortsfest. Smitten was included in over twenty-five film festivals and is on iTunes in four countries. Kelly directed and produced the critically-acclaimed dramatic feature film Thousand Pieces of Gold, which stars Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper. It was in over twenty-five film festivals, released theatrically in the United States, aired on the PBS American Playhouse series, Showtime, Sundance, Starz and Encore, and was broadcast widely internationally. She also made the award-winning documentary shorts: Cowgirls, Sweeping Ocean Views and A Cowhand’s Song. Kelly has two films in production: Trust: Second Acts in Young Lives. She has been a fellow at the Sundance Institute June Lab and is a member of New Day Films, a successful independent filmmakers’ self-distribution cooperative.