Brattleboro native's documentary reveals beauty, art of the circus industry


BRATTLEBORO -- There is an old cliché about children deciding to run away with the circus. Well, Brattleboro native Angela Snow did just that years after graduating from college.

She earned a bachelor's degree in film and video from Columbia College Chicago in 2006 and soon moved to Los Angeles before transplanting to New York, where she freelances to make a living. She has freelanced for the National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel but always dreamed about making a documentary about circus arts around the globe. After three years of hard work and travel, Snow premiered "World Circus" at the Sedona International Film Festival in Arizona and will now bring the film home.

"World Circus" will be screened at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with a question-and-answer period to follow. It will be shown on the second floor, in a hall that sits 80. Tickets are not being sold in advance.

"I'm really excited to bring it to my hometown and show it to people who have known me since before I can remember," Snow told the Reformer. "I'm someone who's been interested in circus arts for a long time. I grew up going to Circus Smirkus."

She said her film follows five top circus acts from around the world to the Monte-Carlo Circus Festival, which she described as the industry's equivalent of The Sundance Film Festival or the Olympics. She said it lifts the veil on the history, culture and behind-the-scenes life of the circus on an international scale through interviews with the founder of the Big Apple Circus, the owner of Ringling Bros. Circus, and the artistic director of Cirque du Soleil.

During filming, she and cinematographer Ian Issitt traveled to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Monaco and England over the course of two months. She said she was in Europe from December 2009 to January 2010.

"The whole thing was pretty amazing because it was a dream of mine," she said.

Snow said the circus is a more respected artform in Europe, where people don't buy into the freak show antics that Americans sometimes seem to associate with the industry. She said she is looking forward to Saturday's screening because she knows Brattleboro has a more enlightened understanding of what circus arts should look like.

Serenity Fochion, an award-winning circus performer and the founder of NECCA, said the screening will be part of one of four workshops her organization hosts every year for beginner, moderate and professional circus artists around the world.

"It just seemed appropriate," she said, adding that she recommends people get to the screening as early as possible. "It's beautifully filmed and has gorgeous footage."

Snow said the film got a great reception at the Sedona International Film Festival in March as well as the Sarasota, RiverRun International and Coney Island film festivals. The documentary is also being screened at circus schools in Los Angeles and will be available in the United States this winter.

The "World Circus" movie website is There are also Facebook and Twitter accounts set up for it and an official trailer can be found on YouTube.

Domenic Poli can be reached at, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions