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Film festival hosts dance-focused shorts

BY CLAIRE DIETZ | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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Showcasing both intricate choreography and shots of snails, rolling green hills, and broken glass, the second Iowa Screendance Festival will feature short films by Australian, French, Hungarian, and local artists.

As a part of the upcoming Mission Creek Festival, FilmScene, 118 E. College St., will host the Screendance Festival at 6:30 and 8 p.m. March 31.  

The films feature a variety of dance-related topics. Filmmaker and curator for the event Tori Lawrence said the event will focus primarily on women filmmakers as well as dance.

“Iowa Screendance is a[n] … event that will screen approximately seven to nine films created by female choreographers and/or filmmakers that Elizabeth and I personally know from other festivals, residencies, and academic settings,” Lawrence said. “Elizabeth and I will be screening a few of our own films as well.”

Lawrence’s 10-minute film “Muirín” — an Irish name denoting born of the sea — filmed last summer in west County Cork, Ireland, features dancer Amy Lynne Barr, original music by Vicki Brown and Thøger Lund, and photography by Christopher Landy.

“The film, set in the vast green hills and mystical sea caves of western Ireland, closely follows the adventures of a young woman and her small companion, a sea snail,” Lawrence said.

Hers isn’t the only short film directed by and starring a woman.

“Most of the films that the festival will screen are works that have been made by a female’s point of view either as a choreographer or cinematographer,” Lawrence said. “Film [and sometimes in the world of choreography] can be a male-dominated field, so we’re trying to offer an evening of work around female perspectives.”

The filmmakers featured include those from the local, national, and international level, including Jeremy Moos and Pamela Vail of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sébastien Farges and Violeta Rodriquez of Bordeaux, France, Judit Szamosi of Budapest, Hungary, and Luther Bangert, Pippa Samaya, and Tara Samaya of Melbourne, Australia. 

Some of the films will première at the festival, including co-curator Elizabeth Bergman’s short “Introspect,” a collaboration with local filmmaker Kaitlyn Busbee and Chicago-based composer and artist Josh Dumas.

“ ‘Introspect’ is a nine-minute dance for the camera we filmed in the Englert last winter,” Bergman said. “It grapples with concepts from film studies, feminism, and dance theory in a poetic, cinematographic way.”

Busbee said the film is a fictional “solo piece” performed by Bergman. It was filmed in two days at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., where the staff “let [them] crash the place and simply play.” 

“I would still consider [‘Introspect’] a fictional narrative, but it’s more of a concept piece,” Busbee said. “It certainly has a story arc that centers on our depiction and a representation of what is known in film and other art forms as ‘the gaze.’ [It] refers to a psychological effect in which a subject loses a degree of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object … I like to view this as an entrance into [Bergman’s] mind, a peek into her psyche.”

Busbee said Iowa Screendance is a great opportunity for both filmmakers and Mission Creek Festival audiences.

“I believe that exposing oneself to any art form, especially those out of the mainstream such as this, is an important experience,” she said. “All I can hope for out of those who attend this leave changed in some way. If the experience of watching these films sparks a thought that gets them thinking in a different way than when they walked into the movie theater, then our responsibility as artists, ushering in to the conscious and subconscious minds various forms of perspective on the world and life, is complete.”


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