Saturday, May 20, 2017

Update for Spring ? Summer?

You sure can't tell by the weather.  
Wait, wait, wait - why are we talking about the weather !!?!

Her Magnum Opus is finished, completed, wrapped, exported, sweetened, you name it. It's being submitted to festivals left and right. If you have recommendations of venues that need to present this highly unusual first feature of mine, bring 'em on!

After almost 2 years in the making, I'm very very proud - also relieved that it's done. And I'm excited to be moving on to something new next month with two wonderful performers - David Thomson and Aislinn MacMaster. Both have worked with me often over the years, though never at the same time - nor have they met Charles Caster-Dudzick a frequent collaborating cinematographer (890 Broadway, Aqua-booty, Honeymoon). Since we'll be dancing, shooting, eating and drinking together 24/7 at Marta Miller's place in Vermont, I bet we'll know each other pretty well by the time it's over.

And the narrative? 
For this project, I intend to pay a lot of attention to composing, to creating a lovely palette of shots to play with in the edit, to welcoming any abstraction, non-sequitur or felicitous image that might waylay us. Sounds like a summer vacation, right? And my preparation is just to look at a lot of films to inspire me. Yeah, ok, to steal from.

The first clip below is one I viewed several times after stumbling on it and filing it away in my someday list. In January of 2014 I made A Thousand Miles from the Sea for Rhode Island College students. Wonderful performers, memorable music by Judy Henske, a rewarding collaboration with cinematographer Devon Catucci - and a pillow fight.

Miles didn't get enough exposure, so recently I submitted it to one of my favorite festivals: L'Art difficile de filmer la danse, in Brussels.  Last week I got a text from Wolfgang Kolb who'd seen it, and said:

I adore your film. The music, the point of view you chose, the dancers, the reference to Jean Vigo, the lady with the robe, the way you filmed and cut it.

Jean Vigo, Jean Vigo, I says to myself, why do I recognize that name? (I'm not as schooled as I should be in cinema history, except now via You.niversityTube.) Sure enough, as soon as I saw the title Zero for Conduct, I remembered. Check them both out below.

In conclusion:

a. Wolfgang Kolb is very observant and has exquisite taste
b. this is how influence works, and is then forgotten (I swear, Your Honor)

Courage, I says to myself. If I had only a week for Miles,  I should be ok with a bit less for As Yet Untitled. 

Meanwhile,  other work is getting exposure.

Plow Plant Reap
Braga International Screendance Festival, Portugal
Festival Dolhar Itinerante, Brazil

Ibiza Shortfilm Festival & Market

Festival Dollar Itinerante, Brazil

890 Broadway
Iowa International Screendance Festival

This spring a lot of time was also spent updating the Burt Supree website, which compiles the dance reviews Burt wrote for The Village Voice  from 1976 until his death in 1992. 

Do yourself a favor.  Read anything Burt wrote and you'll be delighted by his observations, his references beyond the world of dance, his sense of humor. And like Wolfgang Kolb, he has exquisite taste:

You get a marvelous and unusual sense of weight in the dancing - through the force of the movement, through the way the dancing is contrasted against ordinary people moving or hanging around in ordinary time. Sometimes it's the slowness of a gesture, the physical resistance, that allows you to sense the quality of the contact, so you infer the weight.

But one of the wonders of You Little Wild Heart is the way everything dances, not just people. The life of the streets fuses with the music. At the beginning the timing of a taxi, a bus, a silver oil truck passing across the screen is extraordinarily satisfying in relation to the music. You know that nobody was out there telling those cars and buses when to go. But somebody saw it and left it and got the music to synchronize with it.

Editor's Note: 
Lots of the credit for what Burt enjoys in the second paragraph is down to the talents of cinematographer Robin Doty and editor Susan Dowling.

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