Recent Press and Praise

Jun 12, 2009

Pulling Quotes from pullquote reviewing our doc!

Dear fans,

In case you didn't see this comment from a viewer of SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, I pulled a few quotes from pullquote for your reading pleasure. You can read the entire blog at

"A confession: I went into this doc with only the vaguest notion of what Up With People ( was, aside from shorthand for clean-scrubbed, conservative, and insipid, and the hope it might shed some insight on a very popular organization that appeals to clean-scrubbed do-gooder youths where I teach, FCA [ask your Christian friends]. Smile 'Til It Hurts, with its mix of talking-head interviews and epically cheesy archival performance footage [the 1986 Super Bowl halftime show!], did much more than deliver the goods. What I discovered about the history of these singing and dancing "radical moderates" was equal parts fascinating and fuuuuucked up."

"Cynical capitalism may have supplanted ideology, but despite it all, the members really believed in the Up mission. And they were like missionaries at first, impressively integrated from the get-go with African-, Asian-, and Native-American members singing and dancing with gusto everywhere from Watts to Washington D.C. alongside bright-eyed white go-getters [like a very young Glenn Close]. Over time, Up With People moved from a missionary to a tuition-based model, and escalating costs resulted in less racial and economic diversity."

"By the early 80s, reports a queeny former cast member, Up With People was a preserve for closet cases. His account drips with scorn, but it's balanced by passionate testimonies from other members, including one African-American woman who tells an amazing story of a Southern tour stop during the Freedom Riders summer. Ultimately, what's remarkable and endless engrossing about Smile is how many of the participants who appear in the doc still cite their time in the troupe as not simply life-changing but positive."

"A final word of warning if you manage to see Smile [and you should]: Good luck getting those earnest, catchy, campy songs--"Which Way, America?" "What Color Is God's Skin?"-- out of your head."

If you see any blogs on Up With People, please let us know. Also, please be sure to let others know about SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS and follow our tweets:

Enjoy the weekend!

Jun 11, 2009

Been tweeting...

It's a shame that I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been busy tweeting---or figuring out how to tweet facts about Up With People and the making of SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS. Right now I have about 300 followers---which is great! If you are one of them, thank you! If not, you can sign up to follow from the blog page. The thing about tweeting is sending short messages and sending them more often. I think I've tweeted over 200 times by now. But I'm not sure how to get the word out about the film, either in Twitterland or here on the blog. We are still getting 1000s of hits per week on the website and I need to be more diligent in putting up content. For example, I've been promising to put up the Q&A from Slamdance, Florida and now NewFest but haven't done it yet (bad girl!). The trick is cutting the clips down to YouTube length while keeping the visual interest. It just takes time.....anyone got a few minutes to spare?? :)

The other activity has been working with our sales agent, Films Transit, on the next steps toward distribution. We've been focusing on film festivals. I get requests to apply to various festivals every week. Most I haven't heard of before, not because they aren't important festivals, but because I simply don't know the festival circuit. It takes time to coordinate the festival application and materials and "Without A Box" is a big help. I've no idea how to approach the requests made in foreign languages though. :) I'm really enjoying the festivals we've had the priviledge to attend and I hope that we get to participate in many more. The audiences love the SMILE 'TIL IT HURTS and seems to learn a great deal by it. I always get a kick out of being there and expieriencing the laughter, joy, heartbreak and intellectual reactions first hand.

My next blog.....on NewFest!