In the past 3 years (of the 30 that I've been a choreographer) my focus has been making videos that include some element of dance. The short dances performed by 10 dancers in RED at Gaga Arts Festival a month ago were a great hit with the live audience. But the idea to develop those site-specific bits was primarily an excuse to shoot some footage of a wonderful location. Happily, the long hours spent organizing dancers, rehearsals, costumes, and sundry logistics to make the shoot/performance possible are doubled in the time I now get to spend editing on my computer at home. And I'm glad to report that re-inventing myself as a maker of dance videos seems to be bearing fruit, as you can see from the assortment of activities below:
PORCH STORIES is being screened Saturday, July 21 at 1:00, as part of the Rural Route Festival at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. The excerpt to be shown features Arthur Aviles and the Boys on Bikes, as part of an afternoon entitled "Young 'Uns"
THAW (the newest) showed in June at Rockland Shorts, as part of the Gaga Arts Festival in Garnerville, New York. Audience response at that event has encouraged me to re-consider the soundtrack to THAW: this re-invention is an ongoing learning process (see below).
TENDERNESS is a semi-finalist in the Moondance International Film Festival in Los Angeles, coming in September.
THE WELCOME TABLE was shown recently in a worship service in New Jersey, by a pastor who found word of it on line, and asked for permission to share it with his "diverse, suburban congregation." His statement in the church bulletin encouraged parishioners to "make a special invitation to people who might feel like outsiders to come and sit at the welcome table with us. If you want a vision of what God intends, check out Marta Renzi's film."
It gratifies me that the videos I make find audiences not necessarily in dance film festivals, but in a wider world, including churches, arts festivals and at non-dance short film fests. Of course, I've gotten the usual slew of rejections, including one distributor who wrote a great letter regretting that there is no market for THAW or PORCH STORIES, though he quite enjoyed watching them. Truthfully, I couldn't agree more!
Undaunted, I am soon to fly to Vancouver Island for a Dance for the Camera workshop to learn how to make more of them. Under the direction of Ellen Bromberg, and with the support of an SOS grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, I will spend two weeks immersing myself in the language of videodance. Thus far, I admit I have been largely self-taught, so that my grammar and syntax leave something to be desired. Presumably, when I learn to speak more fluently, I'll still want to talk about something that appeals to an audience that's wider than dance aficionados.