10th edition CIFF – 10-14 April 2024

Alive Inside (2015 Feature Film)

Michael Rossato-Bennett | USA | 2014 | 78 min | English

Heart-warming documentary about the restorative power of music for Alzheimer sufferers. For three years, the filmmaker followed social worker Dan Cohen who revives care-home residents by playing them their favourite music. A confrontational appraisal of how we in the West treat the elderly.

The video of an entirely introverted man coming to life after hearing his favourite music was a worldwide hit. He was one of the Alzheimer sufferers visited by social worker Dan Cohen whose Music & Memory project managed to give them some of their humanity back.

For this heart-warming documentary, Michael Rossato-Bennett followed Cohen for three years to see how he discovers the musical tastes of these care-home residents and how hearing music revives them and sometimes even brings back memories. For some, the key is Schubert, for others it’s salsa or Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. Using interviews with scientists, care staff and family members, Rossato-Bennett confronts us with how we in the West treat the elderly, drugging them and hiding them away. Alive Inside, about music’s restorative power shows how very different things could be.

Place: The Cinemas 3

Date: 11 April 2019

Time: 22:15

Duration: 1:05

Year in



Michael Rossato-Bennett




Mark Demolar
Michael Rossato-Bennett
Manuel Tsingaris
David Zieff




78 min


Itaal Shur


Alexandra McDougald
Regina Kulik Scully
Michael Rossato-Bennett

Production Company

Projector Media

Production Design

Limore Shur
Sound Design
Eli Cohn


Michael Rossato-Bennett

Year of Production



Michael ROSSATO-BENNETT (USA) studied directing at Temple University in Philadelphia. He worked as a co-scriptwriter and cameraman on a number of documentaries and went on to found a photography studio. He later worked as an editor and producer of films for charities. Alive Inside (2014), winner of the U.S. Documentary Audience Award at Sundance is his directorial debut.