DIRECTOR’S NAME: MELISSA HAMMEL / PRODUCTION COMPANY: BECOMING PICTURES / COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA / DURATION: 24’27 / MUSIC: ORIGINAL SCORE BY LOW, ONE TRACK BY ADMUSIC / CAST: ILONA R. SMITHKIN / DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: MELISSA HAMMEL
“Ilona, Upstairs” is a portrait of an artist; a glimpse at a butterfly who wants no association with her life as a caterpillar. In this mixed format documentary, deftly filmed in part by Albert Maysles, Ilona sings, dances, orates, paints, swims, and smells the roses, but will not, under any circumstances, face the specifics of her painful past.
Melissa Hammel received her MFA in filmmaking from New York University. “Ilona, Upstairs” is the winner of multiple awards including HBO’s “Audience Award for Best Short” at the Provincetown Int’l Film Festival, and currently airs across the US on Public Television and Plum TV. Melissa is now making a new documentary in Madagascar and New York.