Written by Omari ‘Motion’ Carter
23rd April 2018
So, here I am 4 hours early for my flight, in the hope of creating my blog for one of the most caring festivals I have ever experienced. I wont be reviewing everything that has happened at this festival this year, but what I would like to do is give you a snapshot of some of the best moments, films and results of this one time only Dance/Image edition of this dope festival! I wont be reviewing everything, as there was so much happening at this festival and anything I do review I will keep short. The films speak for themselves and if you have a chance, please look them up and continue to support these amazing artists!
IN OUT FESTIVAL 2018 | TANIEC/OBRAZ
I have yet to be at a festival that has taken so much care for it’s competition candidates. With accommodation and 2 to 3 square meals provided each day, it didn’t take much for me to agree to book my tickets to the beautiful city of Gdańsk in Poland to experience what the festival had to offer.
On arrival, I couldn’t help but be a little weary about being the only black person in the City. Orienteering my way through the streets – basking in the gaze of puzzled locals – to the amazing Hotel Musyka (A beautifully orchestrated hotel situated within a music school close to the festival location). To my surprise, on arrival at the festival location I was made to feel nothing but welcome.
Fresh, hand-picked mint tea in hand, I was introduced not only to the organisers of the festival itself but to each and every competitor that had attended. Now, I have to stress, this isn’t often done at Screendance festivals that I have attended in the past. To have the pleasure of meeting, eating, living and socialising with the makers of the films we have yet to watch. Most of the time, little effort is made to facilitate the initial connection between the makers of films, leaving it up to the makers themselves to mingle with one another at their own discretion. Or even having to wait until individual screenings before getting to learn who made what; perhaps even judging on whether networking is even required in relation to whether you like the film or not (ha). To be honest, I’ve always found the art of networking quite difficult – my nerves have always gotten the best of me – however we were introduced so quickly to one another in such a natural and carefree manner, so all of the filmmakers and festival producers became a strong unit almost immediately. It almost felt like we were on tour together as one dance-film production collective!
Then came the opening performance premiere, the first and only event of the evening, which presented a slap-in-the-face performance-art presentation by Anna Steller, Krzysztof Leon Dziemaszkiewicz and Maciek Salamon. An astonishing combination of live performance, flashing bike lights, scissor-cut plastic bottles, poured-uncooked-rice, grotesque-vocal-soundscapes, both live and pre-recorded camera projection and a lot of duct-tape. Nothing more really needs to be said other than I was ready for whatever was to be thrown towards my senses next. #OKPOLAND #ISEE YOU
OMARI’S TOP 5
Eva Sjerps, DANCERS
This is a very important documentary for Parkinson’s dance! Having had experience working with filming and directing Parkinson’s Dance within the UK, this really spoke to me as a piece that didn’t focus on just informing us about Parkinson’s disease, but allows us to feel the joy and the strength that a person with Parkinson’s can attain – through dance. A beautiful insight into a weekly Parkinson’s dance class, based in Netherlands, Eva presents and filmic tactility that I am nothing but inspired by. So seamless, the piece itself feel like its all filmed within one day (filmed over 15 visits to the classes) and I am so in awe of how she managed to sync our emotions to the dancers, through purposeful, subtle colour corrections in correlation to thoughtful music and sound design. Not many filmmakers can invite such a connection to people on camera, and I thank Eva for doing so! This film is still resonating in me days later.
Rosa Beiroa, IN OUR SKIN
I always revelled in those animations with morphed-transitions however this was a little different. A homage to the body of which we inhabit: nipples and tongues turn into multiple bodies, quick lines and fuzzy shading – of which at first may seem irrelevant shapes – mould into hip curves and halves and wholes of beautifully transitioned female bodies/body-parts. Rosa’s 4 MONTHS OF DRAWING… takes us on a journey with a thoughtfully animated choreography that explores laban movement analysis, animation and movement of the everyday.
Cléophée Moser, FAUVES
Set in Cameroon, this piece challenges the status-quo and documents the black joy (and pain) amidst a challenging environment. Flirting with urban west-African culture and underground LGBT scene with something that is “not choreographed, but danced” (Mos) With this in mind, there is a tactility with the environments topography in Cléo’s filmmaking, which gives the viewer such a strong sense of place and depicts a society so far beyond my own. The bravery of this film within the social-politcal climate of which it inhabits is unfathomable. And it was only after speaking to the Paris-based Cléo herself that you realise the power of what was screened. Nothing more can really be said about this piece other than it made me want to move, it took me outside of myself and into a new realm of discovery, and it spoke to many voices that have been unwillingly doused in under-representation. Until Now…
Dara Friedman, PLAY (PART 2)
This film wasn’t actually part of the competition. However Jury Member, Dara Friedman, presented 3 of her works at the festival. This one was my favourite. An explorative screening on intimacy. Naked, raw, and close (sometimes almost too close), the camera plunges us into the lives of several different couples. one of the most interesting things for me about this piece was Dara’s use of both film and digital as different brushes to paint her picture. Juxtaposing the pixelated image of film reel with the sharp, high saturated, digital video kept my gaze engaged, while also in flux. I became sensitive to the digital image and felt that I myself couldn’t handle the intimacy presented to me, unless it was safely behind the low-resolution wall that the film look provided.
Benjamin Skop, TEMPORAL LINEATION
A tutted-meditation to say the least. UV lines drawn across the arms of dancer and filmmaker Benjamin Skop, create magical formations with the help of smartly constructed trailing effects. This almost animalistic transformation of tuttin’ sequences, break the formations of the urban dance form and present an immensely hypnotic and choreographic edit that. Ben’s arms literally brings the dance to light with isolated repetitions. It was nice to see a hip-hop form explored in such a way, shifting away from the technique itself with the aid of the editing process. Bring to life a new being that dares to be explored further. To the Skopmeister, I applaud thee!
THE IN OUT OFFICIAL FESTIVAL AWARDS
(DRUM ROLL PLEASE!)
Eva Sjerps, DANCERS
Kim Shon, BOOKANIMA
Tanin Torabi, THE DÉRIVE
2nd Place Prize Winner
Pavlo Kovach, MAM NA IMIĘ ZOJA
1st Place Prize Winner
Cléophée Moser, FAUVES
Check out Cléo’s final speech below (Btw Cléo was coming up with gems of knowledge at every second of this festival that yearned for a pen to be in my hand, so this footage just gives you a taste of the beautiful complexity this amazing human being possesses. Love to you Cléo wherever you may be right now).
EASE ON DOWN SCREENING
On the second day, it was The Motion Dance Collective’s turn to take the screen! It was great to get the reaction of so many different artists, hearing laugher in unexpected places and even getting the only round of applause that occurred before the credits even had a chance to start rolling. (I always have a small panic attack about applause etiquette at festivals. Some applaud after every single film however the little gap between screenings resulted in applause happening after all the screenings had finished.)
After the screening I was given the chance to participate in a question and answer session. It was nice to be able to pass down my knowledge of Screendance to an audience that were very new to the form, more so than at most Screendance related festivals. So, I felt that my knowledge was welcomed and I was able to provide a discourse that can from a place of experience. However, when asked to perform something, I couldn’t resist to turn this little Q&A into and C&A (Call and Answer):
MOMENTS TO MENTION
DR KATARZYNA PASUSZAK’S LECTURE – MORE THAN AN IMAGE, MORE THAN A DANCE, MORE THAN A FILM, OR 9 VARIATIONS OF DANCEFILM
Having had to transcribe this lecture from Polish into English in less than an hour, DR Pasuszak raised some very interesting points on feminism and the male gaze within dance on screen. Highlighting that over 300 of the total entries for the festival came from female filmmakers.
Starting, of course, with a look into the biography of Maya Deren, we analysed how Deren created her own way of distributing herself and developing her strategy to best represent herself through her field. I feel we are all doing this in some-way as screendance makers. With a multitude of filmic and choreographic possibilities to voice our narratives, screendance-makers can always feel in a state of flux at the very beginning of their journey in the industry. I find that using narrative to lead your production decisions helps you narrow down your choices to what correlates to your story.
After the short but informative lecture, we were invited to an open discourse about the condition of dance-film as an art form. However with no one to really lead the conversation, discussions were lost as other questions were cascaded towards the group. I didn’t feel I had enough time to formulate my answers as subjects moved on so quickly, and I had so many things to say about the questions being asked. However, it was interesting to sit back and see the questions that were being briefly discussed – most of which were questions that I was also asking myself in 2011. Funnily, enough I was entirely sure if I had any answers, if anything I had more questions to feed the group as most were experiencing screendance for the first time.
MARTA ZIÓŁEK’S PERFORMATIVE LECTURE – 5 THINGS OR SEVERAL STATEMENTS ABOUT CHOREOGRAPHY.
A dissection of choreography. Just what we needed to round up our experience of the many variants of choreography on screen that this festival had to offer. Marta took us through the terms of choreography, all while performing a repetitive sequence that seems to combine elements of dancehall and contemporary dance. This sequence was performed in an almost Verfremdungseffect manner; alienating us from the movement itself and allowing the audience to really focus on what was being said. Marta too had to transcribe her lecture from Polish to English and this may have explained for her slow paced delivery of her lecture, however I enjoyed this as it allowed enough time for us to engage and digest the questions and facts that she brought forward about choreography itself. This piece culminated in the provocation of dance being separate from choreography in Marta’s performative declaration of the death of choreography. #OKPOLAND #ISEEYOU
The IN OUT Festival is one that houses a different theme each year, and it’s such a shame to think that this particular version of the the festival won’t ever exist again. As I would be applying year after year just to relive the experience that I was so privileged to have received this time round. However, I hope that the success of this year has brought light to the power of dance on film work in any category and has fuelled the dancers, filmmakers and visual artists within Gdańsk to continue making works that push the boundaries of the form.
I can’t thank everyone who I had the pleasure of meeting for their words, advice, care and critiques and I am returning to London today with a more daring attitude and with inspiration that I know will last me a lifetime and beyond. So on that note, all that is left to say is #OKPOLAND #ISEEYOU.
- Unless otherwise stated, all photos and videos are from my trusty Samsung S7 Edge 🙂
- Call and answer video, filmed by Clêophêe Moser.