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!

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