Screen Deep: The beginning of something new?

by lovedancemoreguest

So, recently Ashley Anderson and I put on a little show. It was the inauguration of  a new film series here in Salt Lake City and that will bring together two of the most important art communities in Utah– film and experimental dance. We playfully called it Screen Deep. It was an evening of dance films and videos. In putting it together, the goal was to show people how choreographic and cinematic thinking might interact, in a variety of contexts. We wanted to show dance viewers/makers that there are a million ways to make a film, just like there are millions of ways to make a dance. The films we presented were nothing if not diverse. That said, you could see a dancer’s mind at work in each of the films, even in Karinne Keithley-Syers piece which had no live performers.

Several of the pieces were from established filmmakers and dance artists. Director Julie Dash is best known for 1991 feature Daughters of the Dust, which made her the first black woman director ever to have a general theatrical release in the United States. We screened Relatives, in which New York improviser Ishmael Houston-Jones explores his past in a cathartic duet with his mother. Issac Julien is know for documentary efforts including Looking for Langston and Derek, a renowned portait of fellow British filmmaker Derek Jarman. We showed his work Three, produced with dancers Ralph Lemon and Bebe Miller in response to their seminal duet Two. Jason Akira Somma gave us Frances Wessels: A Portrait of 92 Years. This beautiful short is a blend of video art and documentary, showing it’s subject in her home practicing the art form that has defined her life for over seventy years. David Rousseve lent us Bittersweet, the film verision of an acclaimed piece he shared with Ririe Woodbury a few years ago. And last but not least, screendance guru Ellen Bromberg gave us her seminal Black Dress, one of the defining early American screendances.

Emerging artists from around the world also brought us a lot of surprises. Jo Cairns’ work took us all to task for our artistic pretension though the fictitious high-art phenomenon Vera Rauschenberg. Carolina Tabares Mendoza brought a screendance portrait of Puebla, the city where she lives and works, that reminded audience members of Peter Greenaway’s youthful exploration of Venice. The screening was well attended by cinephiles and dance-lovers alike.We also had several of the artists there in person, including myself, Ellen Bromberg and Carolina Tabares Mendoza who was visiting us from  Mexico.

We’d like to continue making events like this that connect the film and dance communities and foster artistic dialogue. And so I have a few questions for everyone, whether or not you were there at Screen Deep. What kind of work would you like to see? Who and what would you like to see here that you aren’t seeing? Why? What kind of media-dance projects do you think would improve the scene here? And finally, how do you feel about the name “Screen Deep”?

Samuel Hanson coordinates and curates new media projects for loveDANCEmore in addition to freelance choreography and performance about town

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