“Ilona Upstairs” and “Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie”
These are two powerful documentaries about two very talented women. "Ilona Upstairs" documents Ilona Royce-Smithkin, a PBS pioneer who taped many of the first instructional painting programs at South Carolina ETV in the 1970s. She lives in a NYC apartment above filmmaker Melissa Hammel, who aspires to unearth some of Ilona's many skeletons in order to learn how one transitions from a place of great sorrow to a place of great joy. "Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie" tells the story of Edna Lewis, an African American chef and cookbook author who mentored a young chef named Scott Peacock early in his career. Their connection through food grew over the years into a strong working relationship and friendship. At age 89, Ms. Lewis developed early signs of dementia. Scott made a loving decision to become his best friend's caregiver.