Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2001
Country: United States
Run Time: 57 minutes

In DOWNSIDE UP filmmaker Nancy Kelly records the remarkable metamorphosis of her hard-luck hometown, North Adams, Massachusetts. Once a factory town, the place was left so bereft and boarded-up when jobs went overseas that the New York Times travel section helpfully advised what routes to take to avoid it. But this community of "post industrial decay" began to recover in the 1990s when colonies of artists and alternative businesses rented out the empty storefronts and abandoned homes. At the fore in North Adams' tentative turnaround: the reinvention of the sprawling Sprague Electric plant as the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a mighty indoor/outdoor space lent to large scale (and often very weird) art installations and performances. After MASSMoCA opens in 1999, North Adams appears on the comeback trail, Bohemian-style. But then a new recession hits, and the filmmaker asks, "How can something as ephemeral as art be good for North Adams, when `real things' [such as steel manufacturing] weren't?" Watch DOWNSIDE UP for an answer that rings even truer in the Rust Belt.

Nancy Kelly

Nancy Kelly

Tomas Tucker, Lou Weinert, Mark Lipman

Kenji Yamamoto

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