Friday, April 03, 2020

Coronavirus Calendar

In case you read this in the new few days ... there are two online festivals sharing Renzi work.

begins Friday April 3 at 8:00
via YouTube Live Stream, time-sensitive, obviously.
Over the course of 3 days, its programming will include 3 Renzi films: 

Her Magnum Opus  (Saturday at 7:30 EST)
Where Love Leads 
Through Mabel's Eyes

It may seem like an odd way to "premiere" this newest film ... but then these times are nothing if not unprecedented.

Moving Body - Moving Image
Saturday April 4 at noon
two 45-minute programs plus added bonus films, including Her Magnum Opus.
May it bring some balm, since its synopsis begins: 

"A circle of friends gather..." - and not on Zoom.

Another laurel - again online - for Through Mabel's Eyes 
is from a festival in Bucharest, Romania called Film in Focus. It's not clear to me how this one works ... again, the usual rules are suspended, even for "Official Selections".

Friday, February 21, 2020

Just the facts, ma'am

Below, the trailer for Skybridge, the new videodance I made last month with students from Hunter College, in the glassed-in bridge that crosses Lexington Avenue. Creating screendance work with college students over an intensive week, often during their winter break, seems to be my new niche.  Luckily, I had the freedom to make whatever I wanted, and the support to make it in a killer location, not to mention access to music composed and performed by Martha Mooke and my current go-to, Emily Holden. 

I'm looking forward to the premiere of the full 9-minute piece at Hunter's Spring Concert April 23-25.  Meanwhile, another intensive college project made in 2018 with students at Slippery Rock University - Where Love Leads -  will screen in Poland at one of my favorite festivals: Dances for Camera during Short Waves Festival. Skybridge is just beginning to be submitted to festivals, where I'm afraid it will compete for attention with Through Mabel's Eyes, a longer work and perhaps a harder sell. If only my so-called "niche" was a more recognizable "brand."

For those of you who are free to combine a stay on beautiful Cape Cod with a chance to dance,  I'll be creating what's billed as a community dance - meaning come one, come all - at The Castle Hill Center for the Arts.  It runs June 8-13, and the pitch is: We are already dancing ... so please do come, all!

Finally, here's a story only an elder can tell. Thirty years ago, I made a dance called Ophelia with teenaged dancers from the Steffi Nossen School of Dance, including Anna Canoni, a 4th generation modern dancer (her grandmother was Marjorie Mazzia who was in Martha Graham's original company.) Apparently, the experience of making Ophelia was memorable enough that Anna, now on the Steffi board, invited me to return to work with the current group of 11 responsive and beautifully trained teenagers. At the moment it's entitled The Council of Living Beingswith its young cast embodying an active response to the climate emergency, with performances April 2-4 at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase, NY.

Meanwhile, I've joined Extinction Rebellion (XR), and last month proudly participated in occupying the NY Comptroller's building in Albany, urging him to divest in fossil fuels. 

It's coming, folks, and we are not ready.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2020, here we come!

A new year, same old me.
As we head into 2020, there's something life affirming about this old bird continuing her struggle to make dances, to make films, to make meaning. Upfront, here's the trailer for the latest which is just being launched into the world: Through Mabel's Eyes. 

Also upfront, a profound thank you to one faithful supporter who made a choice to donate $25 / month to support my ongoing work. What a big difference a small dollar amount makes in my daily outlook. Multiple film festival laurels are welcome - certainly better than rejection, which is the more frequent alternative. But you can be sure that's not what keeps me going. Some days what lifts me up when I get low is knowing that a specific human being sees and values my efforts.

Rather than listing laurels for foreign festivals neither of us will attend, here are opportunities where, depending upon where you live, you might actually get to see what I've made:

Her Magnum Opus
January 8th
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford Connecticut
January 12th
Dance Camera West, Los Angles, California

January 16th 
Motion State Dance Film Series
March 8
Midwest RAD Fest

Strategic Retreat
January 18
Screendance Miami

I'll be in attendance for the local shows in Hartford and Providence, because this spring I'm sticking around the northeast to develop two projects with student casts:

Hunter College  
For an intensive week in late January, I'll make a new dance film with about a dozen college-aged performers in the glassed-in Skybridge that crosses Lexington Avenue. I've collected costumes and music, and I'm actually praying for some precipitation since we're actually indoors this time. Can't wait!

Steffi Nossen Dance Company
For a season of Sunday rehearsals, I'll be making a new live dance with the teenaged students at a venerable school in Westchester which has offered modern dance training for 83 years ... and I thought I was an old bird! In fact, the last time I made a dance with Steffi Nossen students was Ophelia in 1994, so you do the math.

I have an idea that this one will be agitprop. But I am - for once - playing my cards close to the vest until I see what actually transpires.

Now it's your turn. Leave a comment, drop me a line, send me a donation. Or, if instead you're devoting your efforts to slowing the effects of climate change, I stand with you.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The existing state of affairs

Status quo = the existing state of affairs
These updates which used to be monthly, now seem to be more or less bi-monthly. But except for this change in frequency, you may have noticed that they follow a pattern.  Lucky for me,  the status quo is fairly predictable:

There's completed work appearing in festivals all around:

Terra Vermelha / Red Dirt Dances at VideoDanzaBA in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as Ribeiro Preto and Itabaiana in Brazil.

Tumult will screen on November 14 as part of Kicking + Screening Dance Film Festival at Jamestown Arts Center; also at InShadow in Lisbon, and at Midwest RAD Fest in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

There's a project I'm currently editing which is nearing completion:

What She Sees 

(a working title, formerly Through Mabel's Eyes, see post below)
It's pretty close to finished. And whaddaya know, it's just about the same length and the same structure as I proposed in my application to the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Despite all of the improvisation involved (again, see earlier post below) I'm getting better at achieving what I originally set out to do.

Happily, for this film I don't expect to be tortured with music licenses - a constant refrain in here, right? - because I finally had the good sense to select music for which don't have to hunt down some reluctant middle-man-moneymaker, because I actually know the artist. I'm getting better at that too. Next step is to commission a score for a new dance film, and I'm getting closer to that as well.

There's a project on the horizon:

(At the moment the 10HL dance film I was somewhat prematurely gearing up for is now on a back burner.) But there's another - a dance film for Hunter College students in January 2020 - that's simmering on a front burner. Fingers crossed that we get to shoot in a totally cool location ... site to be divulged if and when permission is granted.

And a few anomalies to enliven the status quo:

Her Magnum Opus will screen on January 8th at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Aileen Passloff, its star, has been invited to show a live dance related to the Atheneum's Ballets Russes exhibit, and to submit to an interview, as well as screening Opus. My first feature film has had a pretty long tail, but I expect this to be one of its last public screenings. And note the italics on first, meaning there may be more.

I'm toying with the idea of making a new live dance. Winter seems like a good time to do so. Will I also shoot it? Probably. Will it be outdoors? No.

Along with the unveiling of a sample of actual work:

This one a deleted scene from Where Love Leads, to wonderful music by Kamel Boutros, cinematography (and garden!) by Jennifer Keller, danced by members of the Slippery Rock University Dance Department.  I do hope you'll watch / donate / comment / ask a question if you've a mind to, though I simultaneously regret that we all spend too much time on these darn devices.  Sadly, that's also the existing state of affairs.