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World Premiere

FEATURE | United States | 87 MINUTES | English, Spanish | English subtitles


New York, Dance, Documentary, Art

Homeless shelters may seem like an unlikely place to discover classical ballet dancers, but that’s exactly what the New York Theatre Ballet’s Project LIFT program has been doing for the past 30 years. Offering scholarships to homeless, home insecure and at-risk children, LIFT exposes participants to the beauty and discipline of ballet, often for the first time, and helps them develop talent they never knew they had. Serving as mentor to these impressionable young dancers is Steven Melendez, an international ballet star who was himself plucked from a Bronx homeless shelter at age 7 through the LIFT program. Using his own personal experiences to connect with the kids, Steven’s guidance inspires them to reach for bigger dreams than they ever thought possible.

Spanning the course of 10 years, this moving film follows Steven and his hand-picked students as they traverse the ups and downs of their journeys from shelter to stage, culminating in a remarkable performance that speaks to the often unseen struggles of homelessness in America.--Andrea Passafiume

Co-hosted by:


Directed by David Petersen

Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker, David Petersen, has films in the permanent collections of several museums including MoMA. His films include Fine Food, Fine Pastries, Open 6 to 9, If You Lived Here You Would Be Home Now, Let the Church Say Amen, Journey of the Bonesetter’s Daughter, and The Witmans

David Petersen
Mary Recine, David Petersen
Gary Griffin, Alan Jacobsen, David Petersen
Kathryn Bostic
M. Watanabe Milmore, David Petersen
Executive Producer
Jody Allen, Sam Pollard, Jannat Gargi, Ruth Johnson, Rocky Collins
Associate Producer
Laura Pilloni
Martha Southgate, Laura Pilloni
Principal Advisor
Misty Copeland
Lourdes Lopez, Wendall Harrington, David Lansky, Nan Roman
Steven Melendez, Diana Byer, Victor Abreu, Yolanssie Cardona, Sharia Blockwood


Print Source
Mary Recine
Beaufort 9 Films
Phone: 917 686 0305
Press Contact
Susan Norget
Susan Norget Film Promotion
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 917-833-3056
International Sales Contact
Andrew Herwitz
The Film Sales Company
New York, NY 10028
Phone: 212 481 5020
US Sales Contact
Andrew Herwitz
The Film Sales Company
New York, NY 10028
Phone: 212 481 5020