Downside Up
Independent Lens Season 4

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Episode Info

Author, filmmaker, and cowgirl Nancy Kelly returned to her hometown of North Adams, MA, to make the documentary Downside Up. While many other U.S. factories were closing down in the '80s, the Sprague Electric Company quit manufacturing capacitors in its North Adams plant. This left thousands of residents unemployed and the town started down an economic decline. In order to revitalize the city, the mayor teamed up with the director of neighboring Williams College to propose that an abandoned mill be used as the site of a contemporary art museum. In 1999, the MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) was opened. Part of the Independent Lens series on PBS, Downside Up has been screened at film festivals, schools, and community groups across the U.S.