This year’s Frame x Frame Film Festival lineup of international and local screendance films are expansive, exciting, and thought-provoking. Below is a brief synopsis of each – see you at the festival!
HUMAN – NOVEMBER 1
Matkalla Scotty Hardwig | United States
Matkalla [On The Journey] is the first in the Mothers|Lands Series by dance filmmaker Scotty Hardwig, co-created and performed by Andrea Olsen and Eeva-Maria Mutka, June 2022. Shot on location in the Tornio Valley region of Lapland in northern Finland and Sweden, the film follows a suitcase, a basket, and two women on a midsummer’s journey from the sea to the river, dancing their way across the landscapes of the arctic circle along the axis of time and myth. Matkalla has had numerous screenings and it has won multiple awards and honourable mentions around the world – please see full list below.
11 Degrees of Freedom Jonathan Bachrach | United States
Constraints are a longstanding, liberating force in creativity as a means to focus options and create tension and drama. “Degrees of freedom” is a term in robotics corresponding to the number of moveable joints, and systems with a high degree of freedom are notoriously difficult to control. William Forsythe and the Frankfurt Ballet investigated using a system of constraints to inspire choreographic improvisation. This film goes beyond their work by adding a formal framework of geometry, physics, and computation. Eleven Degrees of Freedom was choreographed on a bespoke physical robot using custom software that allows the movements to be created on a computer using simulation with a digital twin. The constraints are modular components that can be easily authored, composed, and sequenced. The dynamic interplay between constraints and freedom resulted in surprising grace. Music by Les Stuck.
Not Another Ballet Story Emily R Packer | United States
A small contemporary dance company in San Francisco provides dancers with a unique opportunity to write the future of ballet, away from the ballet world’s entrenched ‘story ballet’ tradition.
Those Last Few Weeks Megan Chu | United States
This short blends aesthetics from silent films with a modern dance movement vocabulary for a unique maternity physical comedy.
Metaxu Ilana Goldman, Hannah McCarthy | Mexico
In this short dance film, a mysterious dancer graces the home of a woman whose spirit is unlocked by her presence. The barriers between them become portals to unconditional connection.
The film’s title, “Metaxu,” references a term used by philosopher Simone Weil to describe intermediaries (the in-between which connects), as well as the existence of simultaneous contradictions.
“This world is the closed door. It is a barrier. And at the same time it is the way through. Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is is also their means of communication….Every separation is a link.” – Simone Weil
TOGETHER – NOVEMBER 2
Together Sue Schroeder, Adam Larsen | United States
When Town Hall Seattle commissioned composer Judd Greenstein to write a piece for yMusic, there was no way of knowing how challenging 2020 would turn out to be. The isolating nature of the pandemic impacted everything – from rehearsal to recording – so Judd and yMusic quickly pivoted and turned these limitations into the structure and inspiration for “Together.” A live performance was out of the question so they reached out to me to create a visual poem as an accompaniment. Listening to Judd’s composition, I experimented with a variety of images to see which best supported the music. As I worked, I realized that the human form and gesture provided the feeling and intent I wanted to express so I invited my friend, choreographer, Sue Schroeder, to collaborate. My vision was to film 4-5 dancers in their homes and outdoors as they explored the idea of what togetherness/separateness has meant to them during this past year. Sue and I worked on movement concepts and ideas – considering at times incredibly calm energies like living portraits and at other times more dynamic action. As we filmed, we shifted from very personal solos to group movement. Through this process – and without touch – the dancers emphasized the distances between themselves and others (both near and far) eventually finding togetherness. – Adam Larsen
HIDE & SEEK – NOVEMBER 4
Herbarium Iwona Pasinkska | Poland
ZIELNIK/HERBARIUM is the fifth choreographic film directed by Iwona Pasinska. It is a fairy-tale episode, told with tenderness, gushing with the intense colours of flowers and élan vital. Choreography composed to a suite by Edward Grieg and presented by the artists-dancers of the Polish Dance Theatre takes the audience into the world of flora. It allows to explore a day in the life of a plant from the moment it blooms to the end, drowned in warm nostalgia. We invite you to immerse yourself in the beautiful world of flowers and leaves, in the greens, reds and purples transitioning to the greys and browns of the autumn. And all this told with movement to the rhythm of the dynamic sounds of the suite Peer Gynt op. 1 performed by Trondheim Symfoniorkester & Opera.
See Through View Rosie Trump | United States
Like looking in a viewfinder, hand-crafted windows reveal dance vignettes as “See Through View” presents a frame within a frame. “See Through View” embraces the pairing of analog/digital, 2D/3D, and tactile/embodied.
Greyhound Lauren Edson | United States
Two friends living in an abandoned bus station get an unexpected call.
Gifted Mark Freeman | Portugal
A static sculpture — steps without a destination — is transformed by dance asking: What is this place? Why are we here? Where are we going? Filmed on location Almada, Portugal
HOME GROWN HITS – NOVEMBER 7
Inside Out Sue Schroeder | United States
inside:out reconstructs the dancing body via screen techniques – at times a construction of an impossible body, one not encumbered by gravity, temporal restraints. inside:out invites investigation of movement and its permutations on a very intimate level via the very nature of the camera, with its capacity to zoom in and out and to focus tightly in a very small area. A site-specific practice, inside:out is a hybrid form in which the camera may be thought of as the site, constantly shifting and creating an ever fluid definition of place and time. The moving body is the architecture against and through which the audience perceives the work.
To Your Constant Embrace Michele Brangwen | United States
“To Your Constant Embrace, The Cloud Stream Sways” is a dance and music film from the Michele Brangwen Dance & Music Ensemble that explores the idea of being alone together. The film invites us into an inspiring and overlapping world of interaction across 5 cities in 4 different countries. The short features choreography, editing and costumes by Michele Brangwen and music composed and arranged by Danielle Reich. Performed by Robin Gilbert, Yuritzi Govea, Cristian Laverde König, Michele Brangwen, dancers; Danielle Reich, voice; Tim Hagans, trumpet; Thomas Helton, bass; Anders Mogensen, drums.
There is a famous song by Cuban composer Silvio Rodriguez called “Rabo de Nube,” which describes a cloud that comes down to earth and collects up all the sadness and returns it to the sky. In the choreography there are a movements that suggest a collecting and releasing, most noticeably in what the hands do as the body is moving through space. The performers had this image in mind of the cloud that sweeps up these feelings of sadness, of anxiety, and releases them.
Allure Angela Wang, Jeromy Barber | United States
Project “Allure”, 2023, is a collaborative project with music, choreography and film, exploring the ideas about having obsessions in our lives. The project is created and led by artistic director/music composer Angela Wang, joined by choreographer and dancer Lindsey McGill, and videographer Jeromy Barber. The music/dance/film is shot at Houston iconic – SITE Gallery (the silos) at Sawyer Yards in April 2023.
The video contains several stages of a journey of obsession: At the beginning, the dancer is lured into a mysterious tunnel with a flowing fabric. Then she starts to feel the pull of the fabric and dancing with the dragging force. In the next stage, the fabric becomes a cocoon that traps and captivates the dancer. At the end of the story, the dancer is dressed in the fabric like wearing a wedding gown, she has become one with her dreams, and with all the experiences and journey of chasing her dreams it has somehow brought her satisfaction.
The film was shoot in 6 installations, which are designed with 30 yards of fabric, lighting and industrial fans, in Houston Silos – the Site Gallery. The fabric in the film represents a longing, the callings that made us follow down to the rabbit hole.
Airs Above the Ground Jane Weiner | United States
“Airs Above the Ground” is visions of stables, indoor riding rings, fields of dancers and horses, sharing the space, mounted police and dancers in a very different duet—all caught on film.
As Equine therapist Nancy Jarrell states, “The interaction between horse and client often unlocks blocked emotions, allowing them to be processed and healed. I continue to marvel at how a horse can behave in a certain way that results in the presentation of a crucial issue for a client. It is as though the horse already knows the history.” Our dream is to tell this story.
Behind Closed Doors Adolfo Paz Guzman, Daniela Del Nogal | United States
STRATIFIED – NOVEMBER 8
Joy Katrina May Rank | Australia
JOY considers experiences of living through a pandemic and how great works of Art or minor miracles, can provide sustenance. This poetic work quietly evokes the feelings experienced during lock down and the joy in reconnection.
And We Rest Jordan Fuchs | United States
Recontextualizing a moment in the stage dance Held, and we rest explores the relationship between place and meaning by placing movement in a new location outside of the theatre space it was created for. Directed by Jordan Fuchs with editing by Christina McKinney and an evocative sound score by the composer Andy Russ, in and we rest the dancers, Annalise Boydston and Irving Maldonado, skin luminous against a subdued palette of fallen leaves, stir and then settle, as subtle details of breathe and motion come to the forefront.
Lapsúlyos Bernadett Jobbágy | Hungary
‘Lapsúlyos’ is a Hungarian word, naming the fixed weight machines in the gym.
Being in a gym. Running on a treadmill. Letting the perception shift, in which shift you may notice the choreography of the space around.
Being inspired by the persistence of muscles, by the body-fluids, the sweat, and the skin, the film oscillates between “everyday movement” and “dance”. Contemplation and action. Contemplation in action. Sensing and feeling the space. Touching the space. How do we let ourselves been touched by the material, by the space, or by each other? How our eyes as beholders touch the screen while meeting with the images, and what the images may touch in ourselves? Skin and metal. Warm and cold. Inside and outside. A pause. Longing. Certain Solitude.
The Dance After the last Dance Candice Holdorf | United States
One night during the pandemic, the director was dancing blindfolded with her partner and had a vision that she was dancing with his ghost. The Dance After the Last Dance emerged from that vision and explores the healing power of movement, darkness, and private grief witnessed collectively. thedanceafter.com
Cesar Ulloa Cuéllar | Peru
A woman is locked up in her mind. Her mind is transformed into a closed space. The closed space is transformed into silences. The silence is transformed into music and the music into movement. Silence.
What’s Bred in Blood and Bone Robin M Gee | United States
Inspired by the work of Ida Bell Wells, whose writing documented the episodic period of lynching’s in the 1890’s, What’s Bred in the Blood and Bone is a study of space and place, girded by the collective experiences of brown bodies. “Blood” explores “blood memory” as body memory and the ways in which our collective experiences bind and fortify us as African Americans.
CONTOUR – NOVEMBER 9
Once Upon a Common Ground Anja Neukomm, Laetitia Kohler, Naomi Kamihigashi | Switzerland
Three individuals search for balance with care, delicacy, struggle and humour within the walls of Castle Kyburg in Switzerland. Their goal is to find their personal balance, as well as a stable ground within their trio. It is a zoom in and out from the individual into a bigger picture. They are finding, defining and redefining their identity and needs, through interactions and common activities.
Words Like Violence Arjan Gebraad | Netherlands
Three dancers are in the same room, but each in their own space. Each character shows glimpses of who she is and how they relate to a monologue-soundtrack that can be heard throughout the movie. For everyone the relationship with the text and the words are different. Gradually the voice breaks down, words tumble and meanings are lost. This has an impact on the dancers and the way they move. The tensions within the relationship with the voice come to a climax and something breaks. The dancers are free to move, free from words and semantic meaning. They breath and move as one organism and find ways to communicate in chaos and disharmony. The language moves to the background and loses its presence and impact. What remains is pure movement.
How to Outline Grief Kym McDaniel | United States
Different water worlds – sea, snow, tears, bodies – collide as grief is poetically explored through movement and landscape.
Hands Across the Ocean Alison Ferrao | United Kingdom
Tiwala Jieziao Chen | Singapore
A young woman is alone at crossroads. Seemingly heavily burdened, she dare not contemplate even stepping into church to seek penance. But when she finally relents, it is faith, not only in seraphic counsel, but more importantly, herself, that she brings back to light.