I make short documentary films in the verite style about individuals. My films are shot by me over long periods of time, usually from 2-5 years. I shoot a lot of footage and like distilling it down with editors into a dense, intense, humorous, story filled film. Behind the camera I like being invisible and gaining access to the intimate events in my subjects lives. I like my work to be seen by a large audience in mainstream situations. I like films that are easily accessible to viewers with story arcs that take the audience on a journey into a life they would not ordinarily enter. My films are not political, but I use them in an activist ways to make social change. They are both works of art and activist tools because the stories lure the audience into an empathetic relationship with the characters.
Alice was the director, co-producer, and the principal vérité cinematographer on her film Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy which aired on PBS for National Disability Awareness Month. She was invited by the US State Department to screen Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy in Uzbekistan through The American Documentary Showcase, sponsored by the University Film and Video Association. Alice is a full time faculty member at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has been producing documentaries for almost twenty years.
Her writing includes the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark?. A published and produced playwright of both adult and children’s plays, her work includes the book for Wide Awake Jake, co-authoring The Magic Fishbone with music and lyrics by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark. Her other plays, Willing to be Lucky and The Incredible Shrinking Family, premiered in New York City at the Joseph Campbell/Jean Erdman Open Eye: New Stagings series.
As a performer, she appeared on ABC’s daytime drama LOVING for ten years and her feature films include Four Friends, directed by Arthur Penn. She has recorded English as a Second Language programs for major New York publishers and was one of the speakers on the TOEFL English Standard audio tests. In addition, she has produced or performed in over 200 commercials. She is a member of Actors Equity, American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Screen Actors Guild, and New York Women in Film and Television (former board member and secretary).
Films by Alice Elliott
Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy, directed by Academy Award-nominee Alice Elliott, is a look at an unusual, symbiotic relationship between two people some would call profoundly disabled. Two of the country's most remarkable advocates for people with disabilities, Diana Braun, who has Down Syndrome, and Kathy Conour, who has cerebral palsy, met three decades ago and vowed to fight to live independent lives. Told in an intimate vérité style, the film is a story of a compelling and creative friendship, as Diana and Kathy model a grand experiment in independent living.
The Collector of Bedford Street is an Academy Award® nominated short documentary that follows the filmmaker's 60 year old neighbor, Larry Selman, a community activist and fundraiser who has an intellectual disability. Every year, Larry collects thousands of dollars for charities while living at the poverty line. When Larry’s primary caregiver becomes unable to care for him, his New York City neighborhood community rallies together to protect his independent lifestyle by establishing an adult trust fund in his behalf.