Friday, September 08, 2017

Calendars out, please!

A month (!) of east coast events will follow the west coast premiere of Her Magnum Opus at the Port Townsend Film Festival September 14-17. Here's hoping you can join me at some or all.  

Saturday, October 7 @ 8:30
Teatro Latea 
New York, NY 

Honeymoon will screen in the "Las Jefas" block of the 3rd Annual Official Latino Film Festival on the lower east side.  Block 8 looks like a great line-up of films, all directed by women.  And check out the great page Danny Hastings made just for Honeymoon.  I'll be attending, and I hope Carlos Gonzalez will too, since he and Tina Vasquez are the two Latinos who lend me cred.  To join me, get your tickets here.

Sunday, October 22 @ 3:00
the Bronx

This will be a special multi-media event sharing with the public the completed 2 volumes of MARTA RENZI: NEWSLETTERS, created by Arthur Aviles with photographs and newsletters spanning 3 decades.  Arthur will present a live dance performed by Jonathan Gonzalez, along with another book he created to archive that dance. All 3 books will be shared as both hard copies and projected on screen. Click on the newsletter image above right because you might be in there! If you are, I hope you can make it up to the Bronx to join in the reminiscing.  And lest we get stuck in the past, there'll also be a sneak preview of my latest short film, 
In a night sky, featuring Aislinn MacMaster and David Thomson.
 Free admission. RSVP here.

Sunday, October 29 @ 2:00 
Upstate Films
Rhinebeck, New York 

A screening of Her Magnum Opus held in conjunction with 
Upstate Films and Bard College to celebrate the 86th birthday of our leading lady Aileen Passloff.  Arthur & Aileen will join me for a Q & A after, with cake to follow.  Follow us on Facebook to see who else will be attending.

November 3-8, details TBA
Yonkers, New York 

The east coast premiere of Her Magnum Opuspresented by the coolest film festival in the Hudson Valley.  If you can't make Aileen's October birthday party, join us in Yonkers where there'll be a red carpet and a whole lot of other great films. 

And for those of you who live between the two coasts, stay tuned because we're concocting plenty of opportunities to see Opus in the future.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Long Ago and Far Away

Long Ago:

VOL I - 1983-1992
VOL II - 1993-2006

Thanks to the magic of technology, these two "books" can now be viewed online. Enjoy them now until August 12th when the hosting subscription expires.  Simply click the b&w photo at right and wander back in time.  Previous posts have given a bit more information about how a simple archiving project grew into these 2 beautiful books, chockfull of photos, many by Robert Flynt. Huge thanks to Arthur Aviles who has organized a live celebration of the books - and one documenting his own work - on Sunday October 22.

If I hear lots of comments from y'all about how I should pay to keep the newsletters accessible longer, I may do so. Of course a donation of any size never hurts.

Far away:

October 7
A Thousand Miles from the Sea
l'art difficile de filmer la danse
Brussels, Belgium

November 15-19
Her Children Mourn
Family Film Festival
Porto, Portugal

Her Children Mourn
Migrations Dance Film Festival
Llanwrst, Conwy, Wales

Closer to home:

Plow Plant Reap
Saturday August 19th at 7:00
Dobbs Ferry, New York

Official Latino Film Festival
showing Saturday September 16 8:30-10:30
Block 8 - "Jefas" (women directors)
Harlem, New York

But my little heart is aching for follow-up screenings for 
Her Magnum Opus after its premiere September 15-17 at the 
Port Townsend Film Festival.  Though there are several submissions pending, right now its acceptance/rejection ratio is about 1/6.

So to hell with the film festival circuit. Let me know if you have a school, theater, festival, backyard gathering where I can share it.

Back to my old-school ways, like in the early days of the Project Co - for free, outdoors, in unlikely places, for regular people not the cognoscenti. 

I'm serious.

Meanwhile, enjoy this Bonus Extra, which doesn't appear in Opus because it's even looser than my usual improvised shooting, and doesn't further the narrative. Dedicated to the worldwide fans of Lorenzo Wolff.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lucky Me

The definition of a lucky life: as I drive north to begin shooting something new, I get word that Her Magnum Opus will premiere at the Port Townsend Film Festival September 15-17, 2018. All reports are that Port Townsend is the perfect community to welcome Opus into the world. Very satisfying to be launching a new project as the previous one finds its home.

Music in the above trailer composed by Lorenzo Wolff with Kate Steinberg who also sings it.

Also lucky to be housed in a beautiful place in Vermont with a cabin at our disposal where we created a surreal interior location for 4 days of shooting, while sharing good company and delicious food with our host Marta Miller.

And the cast! Both Aislinn MacMaster and David Thomson had danced with me many times before on stage and on camera - she in Her Children Mourn and Opus, he in Considering an Exhibition - but they'd never met before. What a pleasure to watch them connect immediately and deeply off screen and on. 

Hard to believe since the guy is only 25 years old, but this is the 6th time Charles Caster-Dudzick and I have collaborated since 2010 - starting with Aqua-booty and continuing through 890 Broadway, Honeymoon, On the way to Work, and Opus.  For this one, his multiple credits will read: camera, gaffer, grip and fellow art director.

And as if this weren't enough proof of my lucky life, there's more:

You'll remember that March's post described the process of creating Marta Renzi: Newsletters Vol I & II with Arthur Avil├ęs

Starting with scans of the newsletters spanning the years from 1992-2006, our task gradually expanded to include additional photographs and occasional text. Thanks to Arthur's heartfelt generosity, creative spirit and hours of labor over several months of Sundays, we now have hard copies - 

yes Virginia, actual books- and they are gorgeous.

Because the printed set is prohibitively expensive there are only a few copies in circulation - at my house and Marta Miller's, in the Bronx at BAAD! and probably at Jacob's Pillow and the Lincoln Center Library. But thanks to modern technology, the Newsletters will soon be available online - for free.

   David Thomson, Marta Miller & Aislinn MacMaster perusing the Newsletters.

Marta Renzi Newsletters memorializes countless dancers. who joined the Project Co - among them my frequent muses Peter Stathas, Marta Miller, Anka Sedlackova - as well as a lifetime of commitment to making dance accessible, outdoors and usually for free, at venues such as Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Summerstage and Jacob's Pillow.

Thank you, Arthur.
Thank you, all.

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.