Interviews

ADF’s Movies by Movers talks to filmmakers whose films are included in the 2017 festival as a way to invite people into the process and impetus behind making dance films! Stay tuned for new short interviews by several of our featured filmmakers and movers.

 

ADF’s Movies by Movers interviews filmmaker Justina Grayman about her film, Woman Versus. The film is being shown as part of the “Women’s Voices” screening at the 2017 festival at both the ADF and Appalachian State University.


MBM: What is Woman Versus about?

JG: Essentially, it is about the various forces in society that limit or constrain women.

MBM: Why did you create this work?

JG: I created it to simultaneously show the limitations and struggles of women, at the same time showing our power.

MBM: Tell us about the filming process – what was it like filming on the subway and in other public spaces? What challenges did this present?

JG: It was anxiety producing! Several cops approached us while filming (it is illegal!) and we tried to play it cool and simply pretend we were stopping when they notified us that we shouldn’t be filming. Filming in the grass near the highway was really fun and scary and very performance-like actually because the cars going by would shout things at us while we were filming. One comment was, “Is this a Kanye West video?” Really?! Ha. People in cars driving by also felt the need to honk continuously when they saw us dancing and filming.

MBM: What do you hope audiences will get from viewing the work?

JG: The feeling of breaking free.

MBM: What are some lessons you learned from making this film?

JG: Crowdfunding is harder than it looks. When you build community in the rehearsal process, the dancers will literally be able to stand in traffic and block a bridge (we actually did that, but the footage was pretty unpleasing to the eye so it was not included). Make things that you think are impossible. Make things that test your own limits.

MBM: Where can people see the work after ADF’s Movies by Movers?

JG: You can go to womanversus.com or facebook.com/womanversus to stay up to date!

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ADF’s Movies by Movers interviews filmmakers Kailee McMurran, Jess Evans (SubRosa Dance Collective) and Duke Stebbins (producer) about their film, Living the Room. The film is one of the feature films being screened at the 2017 festival at both the ADF and Appalachian State University.

MBM: Living the Room is a collection of vignettes that bring viewers through the rooms of an old house. You all bring the space to life! What is Living the Room about?

SRDC: Living the Room was created to show personal and inherently human stories. Our home is pretty much an extension of ourselves and can often amplify the relationship of self, or our relationships with others. Those relationships are often stuck in a cyclical story and this film explores the stories from the six rooms.

Kailee McMurran, Producer | Dancer | Choreographer

To me it’s about the individual’s relationships with their familiar: habits, things, places, self and fears. Each piece within the film has its own unique twist to this theme.

Duke Stebbins, Producer | Story Adaptation | Music Director

MBM: Why did you create this work?

SRDC: Living the Room ended up being a choreographic cyclical process! SubRosa Dance Collective was gearing up to produce our second evening length dance performance but we were hitting several hitches. The major one being the lack of affordable rehearsal space in Portland, OR. Portland was (and still is) going through a crises of an influx of people with limited living and working spaces. So several established rehearsal spaces were being torn down to build new apartment complexes creating a void for affordable rehearsal rentals. As a push back SubRosa decided to choreograph with what we had – our living spaces. We started creating movement using chairs, bathtubs, dining room tables, etc., because it was the space that was available for us. Living the Room was performed in the round for one weekend with our own furniture placed within a large warehouse space. After feeling a little dissatisfied with two years of work fading away quickly after one weekend, we felt the excitement of bringing the choreography back to its roots – back to the living spaces. We wanted to immortalize it! So for the most part a lot of the choreography was the same, because we used the same furniture and tight quarters when originally choreographing. Minor changes came when translating it to film with the options of cutting and focusing on details.

Kailee McMurran, Producer | Dancer | Choreographer

At the time, SubRosa was eager to make a dance for film and I was eager to be a part of it! We had made some zero-budget and more-vision-than-capability short films before this and I think we were ready to significantly raise the bar. Just previous to this momentum SubRosa had put on the full length show Living the Room which I think we all agreed was some of their best work to date, was solid thematically, and would work well translated into film.

Duke Stebbins, Producer | Story adaptation | Music Director

Originally, we created this work for stage. The idea was born from pure practicality as we had no studio space to create and rehearse in regularly, so moving around in our homes was all we had. Using the furniture became our way of using the space well and created a coherent thread for us all to explore and come together under. 

Jess Evans, Dancer | Choreographer

MBM: What was the process like, of creating each of the vignettes? Were they all choreographed by the same person, or were they created by individual members of the cast?

SRDC: The creation of the vignettes was a really intimate experience with each choreographer. SubRosa is really tight knit group but it’s a whole other experience going into someone’s home and learning their own personal story using their furniture with their choreography.

Kailee McMurran, Producer | Dancer | Choreographer

It started with the full length show that SubRosa performed before the idea for this film ever existed. That was 100% SubRosa’s vision so I can only speak to my involvement which was working with Dylan and Chris to cut and shape the hour-plus long show into a cohesive story for film… our living room rug was covered in sticky notes and random notes for about a week. Kudos to SubRosa for being accepting to the cuts and changes made by outsiders (I’m sure we broke some hearts) AND furthermore refining their existing choreography down to the essence of each piece. 

Duke Stebbins, Producer | Story adaptation | Music Director

They were all created by individuals or co-created with two members of the cast. We would work in our homes largely, clearing dining rooms and coffee tables to work.

Jess Evans, Dancer | Choreographer

MBM: What do you hope audiences will get from viewing the work?

SRDC: I hope that the audience is sucked into the emotion, sadness, humor, and drama of each piece and can do some self-reflection. We all have our routines of relationships…but we can break out of those cycles. 

Kailee McMurran, Producer | Dancer | Choreographer

I hope they’re overcome with beauty and melancholy and weep as they reflect upon their own lives.

Duke Stebbins, Producer | Story adaptation | Music Director

My hope is that the audience gets caught up in the stories and images as they appear, as they play out, and as they fade away as another room is brought to life.

Jess Evans, Dancer | Choreographer

MBM: What are some lessons you learned from making this film?

SRDC: OH man…a lot. Shooting a 30-minute film in three days is crazy, always use contracts, and people can do amazing things.

Kailee McMurran, Producer | Dancer | Choreographer

  1. When you work with good people good things happen! 
  2. If you have a vision, trust it, and do what you can to help others see it. But don’t be a jerk about it. Other people’s input is probably more valid than you initially think so make a strong effort to understand anyone who has an opinion.
  3. Money lets you hire good people and do more things, so probably get more money.

Duke Stebbins, Producer | Story adaptation | Music Director

Oof. So many! Mostly, making this film helped me start to think about what makes a dance for film intriguing and different. The camera work and post-production is SO MUCH of what this genre of film is all about. I have much respect and praise for the crew behind the cameras that truly make a dance film worth it.

Jess Evans, Dancer | Choreographer

MBM: Where can people see the work after ADF’s Movies by Movers?

SRDC: Eventually you will be able to find the film at subrosadance.com & livingtheroom.com

 

 

ADF’s Movies by Movers interviews filmmaker Uziel Perez about her film, Connection Lost. The film is being shown as part of the student film screening at the 2017 festival at both the ADF and Appalachian State University.

MBM: What is Connection Lost about?

UP: Connection Lost is a one shot dance short film that shows how devices are decreasing social connectivity and interfering with human interaction. There is no more intimacy nor closeness between people and glances and communication are being centered in an object, focusing on the ones who are not present and missing out on the ones who are.

MBM: Why did you create this work?

UP: We believe it is our duty as artists to reflect what is happening to humanity, what we see in society, and the ups and downs we live; to share our view of life and hope to be able to make the spectator connect with our work.

MBM: Tell us about the filming process – what was it like creating the work with the dancers?

UP: Creating a choreography for the camera gives you the tools to do the impossible possible. It was very pleasant to work with the dancers and explain to them how we would manipulate time (slow motion or fast motion), dance in real locations   that we frequented in our daily lives and manipulate the material in post-production. The dancers were very excited and committed to the project. We divided them into “teams” and told them the type of place we wanted for each of them, then the directors had a location scouting, and the location they chose was where each of those places were closer to each other to be able to make everything in a sequence shot. Pictures of the location were taken and a video that showed where the camera would travel through for dancers to be able to imagine everything. Thanks to this, the filming day went smoothly because each dancer knew where they would be performing. As the director/choreographer directed dancers, the cinematographer directed the filming team to be able to take bts footage.

MBM: What do you hope audiences will get from viewing the work?

UP: We hope the spectator will be able to identify themselves with what they see on screen and help them have a reflexive moment of how we look at when seen from the outside, and decide whether they want to keep on being a part of this phenomenon or not.

MBM: What are some lessons you learned from making this film?

UP: Sometimes less is more. We made a “simple” yet “impacting” screen dance with what we had within our hands. It is very important that the choreographer understands the filming art and for the cinematographer to have certain knowledge about dance. This way, it is easier to communicate and see all the endless possibilities there are.

We learned that planning is everything. From technical specs with regards to camera equipment, to the interpretation of every dancer, everything must be very well planned and sharp. That is a reason why Connection Lost came out so well, and we are happy that we learned that before the shooting day.

MBM: Where can people see the work after ADF’s Movies by Movers?

UP: Our Facebook page is “Dance in Motion”, there, you will be able to see behind the scenes material through a 360 video and an aerial shot. Also, you will be able to see other videos we have done and the new ones that are coming.