This week sees the opening of the 8th San Francisco Dance Film Festival – an annual celebration of dance on film, featuring over 90 films, on all forms of dance. As well as celebrating the finest dance films in the world, the purpose of the Dance Film Festival is to encourage and assist Bay Area choreographers and filmmakers in their endeavors to create new dance works for the screen, and it was greatly honored to receive a 2016 Isadora Duncan Dance Award earlier this year. Known affectionately as Izzies, these awards are an annual recognition of exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance.
The festival opening features a selection of exciting new Screendance Shorts, taken from an international range of films, such as SAMT (or Silence), about a dictatorship where dance is the secret code of silent resistance, a powerful sequence entitled Persecuta by the Lombard Twins, and Dancin’ the Camera – described as “a tap dancer’s adventure in the mechanical world of black-and-white film”, shot on an original 1920s 35mm camera.
Friday is crammed full of interesting presentations. Included in the program are a Filmmaker Forum which will hold a discussion – Directing the Eye – on how dance filmmakers guide the focus of the viewer. There’s a documentary entitled Fire and Ashes, Making the ballet RAkU, in which composer Shinji Eshima and Yuri Possokhov – resident choreographer San Francisco Ballet – relive the experience of creating this work with the original cast of RAkU, and Rebels on Pointe, which takes a close look at the all-male drag company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
A new feature this year will be a full day dedicated to Live Performance Capture films, in which important works from Europe will be introduced to a San Francisco audience for the first time. Included in these are Alexander Ekman’s A Swan Lake and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Dutch National Ballet’s production of Mata Hari, and Maurice Béjart’s visually stunning The Ninth Symphony.
Among the presentations on Sunday are a discussion by a panel of industry and creative professionals on the challenges and opportunities in creating Virtual Reality dance films, a program of international shorts entitled Dancing the World, The Co-Laboratory – a collaboration between two teams of choreographers and filmmakers who were charged with creating two short dance films in a week prior to the festival – and the annual Awards Presentation.
It’s a huge selection to pack into just four days – from October 19 to 22. For a full schedule, and details of venues and tickets, visit the San Francisco Dance Film Festival website.