‘dance screen 2013 with San Francisco Dance Film Festival’


‘Aloft’ – Director Kate Duhamel and choreographer Yuri Zhukov create an original 3D dance video overlooking San Francisco Bay
© Sandy Lee

The fourth annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival opens in the city on September 12th, and this year, for the first time, the Festival will be produced in collaboration with world-renowned European media arts organization, IMZ – International Music + Media Center.

IMZ is the global association for all those involved in any aspect of audio-visual music and dance, and its dance screen competition and festival – celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Europe.  Founded in 1961, under the aegis of UNESCO, IMZ is dedicated to the development and promotion of music and dance through audio-visual media, with a membership which ranges from international brands such as the BBC, Metropolitan Opera New York and Universal Music, to individual composers, choreographers, musicians and directors.

dance screen 2013 with San Francisco Dance Film Festival marks IMZ’s first such partnership outside Europe, enabling participants to meet the European distributors who support, create and distribute dance content to audiences worldwide.  Co-presenters of this international celebration of dance on camera are San Francisco Ballet and San Francisco Film Society.


‘Dervishes’ – A study of movement and physical architecture based on the characteristics of circular movement, directed by R J Muna, with choreography by Katherine Helen Fisher
© R J Muna

The San Francisco Dance Film Festival was established in 2010, to provide a platform for the presentation and further development of dance-based films in the Bay Area.  The programme, which includes a diverse range of dance styles, showcases the work of both local and international directors, and is presented through a wide selection of shortscreen films, as well as full-length productions.

Nearly 50 shorts will be shown over the four-day festival, and the collaboration with IMZ will present an opportunity for 21 full-length productions and long-form documentaries to be screened as well.  These include Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, San Francisco Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake in 3D, and Alexander Ekman’s 40m Under featuring the Cullberg Ballet.  Ballet Boyz: The Next Generation follows the meteoric rise of the all-male company, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:  The Making Of – traces the creative process behind Christopher Wheeldon’s production for The Royal Ballet, and Budding Stars profiles the aspiring young students of the Paris Opera School.


‘Passage’ – Short documentary by Carla Körbes, Principal with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle, on the process of becoming a professional ballerina – directed by Patrick Fraser
© Patrick Fraser

All 70 films will participate in a competition to select the dance screen winner of the best overall film, and the best student film.  Jury members include Balletboyz founders Michael Nunn and William Trevitt;  choreographer, filmmaker and educator Ellen Bromberg;  Lynette Kessler, Artistic and Executive Director of Dance Camera West;  and Muriel Maffre, former dancer with Hamburg Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and San Francisco Ballet, and currently director of the Museum of Performance and Design (MP+D) in San Francisco.

The programme also includes a public forum of panel presentations with professionals from the world of dance, music, filmmaking, technology/media, education and visual arts – during which industry leaders will present and discuss topics ranging from the evolution of dance on screen, and the ways in which science and technology influence dance, to effective pitching techniques for filmmakers.  The forum will also explore the dynamics involved in creating and distributing the art of screendance – dance choreographed specifically for the camera.


Parcour artist Ryan Doyle and members of world champion breakdance crew, Flying Steps, demonstrate remarkable power moves in stereo 3D and super-slow-motion – directed by Peter Clausen, with choreography by Vartan Bassil

The San Francisco Festival will also present the first Co-Laboratory project – a collaboration between three choreographers and filmmakers who will create three short dance films a week before the Festival opens.  The intention is for this project to become an annual event, to inspire and support local artists of different disciplines to collaborate in the creation of dance films, for both local and international audiences.

San Francisco Ballet, America’s oldest professional ballet company, is also one of the three largest in the United States.  Since its founding in 1933, it has enjoyed a long tradition of artistic ‘firsts’ – including the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th century performance of Coppelia in America.  Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson for the past 20 years, San Francisco Ballet has built a reputation as one of the foremost ballet companies in the world, presenting more than 100 performances annually, both in the United States and internationally.  In 2005 the Company was awarded the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Dance’, and the following year, became the first non-European ‘Company of the Year’ in Dance Europe magazine’s annual readers’ poll.


San Francisco Ballet principal, Sarah Van Patten, in ‘White’, showing how visual art can be created through dance. Direction by Tiit Helimets (SF Ballet) and Austin Forbord, with choreography by Helimets
© Austin Forbord

San Francisco Film Society, recognised as a national leader in exhibition, education and filmmaking services, has been bringing to the Bay Area the best in world cinema for the past 50 years.  Headed by Executive Director Ted Hope, the Society reaches an audience of over 100,000 people each year, with more than 100 days of exhibition.  Its acclaimed education programme introduces international, independent and documentary cinema literacy to over 10,000 teachers and students annually, and through its filmmaker services programme – Filmmaker 360 –  it provides essential creative and business services, professional development classes, and funding totalling millions of dollars, to deserving filmmakers at all levels.


‘Outside In’ – Tove Skeidsvoll as Cecilia dances in a forest, in front of a film crew who direct her movements. Directed by Tove Skeidsvoll, Petrus Sjövik and Tyrandora, with choreography by Tove Skeidsvoll
© Petrus-Sjövik

For more information on dance screen 2013 with San Francisco Dance Film Festival and the organisations involved, please follow these links:


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