An internationally acclaimed new documentary features Rockland’s own Amazing Grace Circus.
Have you ever dreamt of running away with the circus? Of leaving behind an ordinary life to live amongst clowns, acrobats, jugglers, and elephants? While it might seem like a distant fantasy, there’s a talented group of performers right here in our county who live the high-flying, risk-taking circus life 365 days a year. The Amazing Grace Circus, a nonprofit youth circus organization founded in 2002 by performer Carlo Pellegrini and occupational therapist Janet Hayes, is a point of pride for Rockland residents, and the rest of the country is about to be introduced via a new documentary, Runaway Circus.
In 2009, world traveler and filmmaker Angela Snow was searching for her next film subject when she caught wind of the next big thing in Rockland—the Amazing Grace Circus was about to put on its first Big Circus in the Park summer extravaganza in Nyack’s Memorial Park, and Snow decided to document the event. Over the course of the three-month filming period, Snow stationed her camera in the corner of the big-top tent and let the circus’s colorful characters take center stage. While she first sought to chronicle the circus experience, the end result was a coming-of-age tale about local teenagers that shows the positive influence the arts can have on a community.
The film has received international acclaim since debuting earlier this year. It was selected for both the Kids First Film Festival, the world’s largest kids’ film festival, and Hollywood’s International Family Film Festival. Snow and Pellegrini say they aim to get the documentary on as many screens as possible, not only to show off the film itself, but also to help revive circus arts in our culture. They also hope viewers walk away with the sense that anything is possible—not just in the circus, but in life.
For more information on Runaway Circus, visit tothemoonproductions.com/runawaycircus. To learn more about the Amazing Grace Circus, visit amazinggracecircus.org.