Sunday, October 22, 2023

Is this some kind of journal?

Long-time readers of this blog may remember the days before internet when I would mail an actual "newsletter" to a collection of friends, fans and would-be funders. [If you're relatively new to this site, double click the b&w photo to the right of this post titled MARTA RENZI: Newsletters, which will give you an idea of the history you missed.]

Now in 2023, much like in the '80's, I keep in touch with 2/3 of those f's - friends and fans, not so much funders. Those of you on Facebook keep up to date with where my recent work is appearing. What a difference from the old days that recent work is never live. Rarely anymore do I even attend a festival in person. Blame the shifting expectations that remain a post-pandemic custom - and the fact that spending money / carbon to fly somewhere for a 5-10 minute digital appearance seems a waste of energy.

Of course on Facebook I tend to only share news of a completed, accepted dance film. It's not an appropriate platform for my candid self-inquiry (aka self-doubt). This platform is a bit more like a journal - albeit a semi-public one - in which I ask myself questions like:

what will I make next? 


is there a pattern or theme to what I work on next?

to what standards do I hold myself?

Like with a journal, it's illuminating to read back a few posts to see what had been on my mind. For example by December 2022, I had edited some video drafts documenting our time in Cork, Ireland:

  • self-portraits of the 3 dancers [3 Dancers with Bells
  • "rehearsal" footage [3 Windows and a Door
  • the outdoor "documentary" [Cork Journal]  
  • miscellaneous clips that never got shaped
It was on my mind to assemble them into some larger whole, at the same time as I submitted the "drafts" to festivals,  Will I still do that? Do I need more distance? Will it take me writing a script to assemble the bit with more reflection? Do I have the amour-propre to decide that anyone gives a shit what our process was? 

Meanwhile, Cork Journal is finding its way to festivals all around the world, including the 68th Cork International Film Festival itself - gratifying even if I don't attend. By the way, can you believe that I've made 4 dozen short films (a round 50 if you count the 2 PBS ones)? 

Interested in a mini-Renzi-fest? Check out this page which lists them all, the fests they've appeared at, and a link to a trailer.

My most recent completed project is the one I described in the last post, way back in August. Called Death & other Disguises, it's a departure for me in many ways: talking but no music, 4 disparate solos, me dancing. Doubtful that it will find a home even in - especially in? - the niche of dance film festivals, I may get creative about how to disseminate it.  For now, I'll share the trailer - in the post below, because I still can't figure out this wonky interface.  You'll see what I mean by a departure.

As for those questions: 
what will I make next? I'm toying with producing something new before the weather is impossibly cold ...  At any rate, for sure I'm scheduled to create my 5th dance film collaboration with Rhode Island College students in January 2024 (see the 4 posters of past projects).

Why? Because it's always a pleasure  to work with those students, and to collaborate with cinematographer Jennifer Keller for our 4th time together. 

Is there a pattern? It will definitely follow my "not-that-again" alternation between something risky (Death) and something more accessible. 

What standards?  We have only 5 days to design, develop and shoot something that we can all be proud of.  In such a short production process, the balance is between giving each student a creative experience and ending up with something that can screen at festivals. In fact, after a respectable festival run, Tumult was just selected to be part of a channel called Dancefilmmaking, where it can be seen "forever."

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