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DFA and FSLC announce the 43rd Edition of Dance on Camera

DFA and FSLC announce the 43rd Edition of Dance on Camera


The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association


Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street, NYC


Friday, January 30, 2015 - 8:00pm
Monday, February 3, 2014 - 8:00pm



The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association



The opening-night selection is the U.S. Premiere of Girlchild Diary, spotlighting visionary artist Meredith Monk (who will appear in person), and the closing-night film is the British-made, Iran-set Desert Dancer. 

Other highlights include the spirited documentary American Cheerleader, festival-favorite Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, Dancing Is Living: Benjamin Millepied, a digital restoration of All That Jazz.

New York, NY (November 25, 2014) – The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Dance Films Association announced today the lineup for the 43rd edition of Dance on Camera. Taking place January 30 – February 3, the dance-centric film festival returns to the Film Society for the 19th consecutive year with a world-class array of narrative, documentary, and experimental features and shorts, including U.S. and New York premieres. The festival honors ballet and contemporary dance personalities in film, while also demonstrating dance’s capacity to change lives.

The festival opens with the U.S. Premiere of Girlchild Diary, which offers an intimate look at Meredith Monk, a daring composer, singer, filmmaker, choreographer, and director who this year is celebrating her 50th season of creating and performing work in New York. The festival closes with Richard Raymond’s searing Desert Dancer, a dramatic musical feature set against the 2009 riots against the Iranian regime, based on the true story of Afshin Ghaffarian, who dreamed of being a ballet dancer despite a government ban and formed an underground dance group. The film stars Freida Pinto, Reece Ritchie, and Tom Cullen and is choreographed by Akram Khan, who created the opening ceremonies of the recent London Olympic Games.

“It’s a festival with lots of surprise elements,” said Joanna Ney, co-curator of Dance on Camera. “We’ve got unsung ballerinas, dance pioneers, and a crossover virtuoso. We’re also exploring new genres—cheerleading and girls’ hand-clapping games that have an empowering effect on young women. There’s definitely an accent on youth this year, as well as an appreciation for dance’s staying power.”

A number of selections in this year’s festival spotlight the lives of children and teens and how movement and dance factor into their lives. James Pellerito and David Barba’s American Cheerleader is an in-depth look at how cheerleading has evolved into an athletic sport that combines physical prowess and musical routines. The engrossing documentary follows two high-school teams as they compete from regional competitions to the Nationals. Norwegian director Kenneth Elvebakk’s heartwarming documentary Ballet Boys follows teenage boys at the Norwegian Ballet School as they navigate the competitive world of dance. Irene Chagall’s Let’s Get the Rhythm: The Life and Times of Mary Mack pays homage to the hand-clapping games of inner-city playgrounds and beyond and follows its background and empowering impact by showcasing three charming 8-year-old girls engaged in the hand-clapping experience. Young Dancemakers (screening for free) spotlights New York–based teens in the Young Dancemakers Company who channel their personal struggles into choreographed works performed around the city.

“It is the year of the narrative dance film, with two new titles featured in this edition—Desert Dancer and Fall to Rise—and a reprise of the great All That Jazz,” says Liz Wolff, co-curator for Dance on Camera. “For so long dance has had the power to tell a story that words cannot. Using dance to tell narratives about experiences and the meanings they have in people’s lives is proving a powerful tool in filmmaking.”

Some of the films in the lineup spotlight the impact of contemporary dance companies creating eye-popping visual works: Catherine Gund’s Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, hot on the heels of Sheffield Doc Fest and SXSW, follows a motley troupe of dancers who defy the laws of physics to perform daredevil, breathtaking works. David Iverson’s Capturing Grace follows members of the established Mark Morris Dance Group as they join forces with Parkinson’s patients to demonstrate the power of dance to transform and heal. Louis Wallecan’s Dancing Is Living: Benjamin Millepied is an intimate portrait of the founder of L.A. Dance Project (and the newly appointed director of Paris Opera Ballet) as he works with his own company in L.A. and collaborates with a variety of artists, including Lil Buck and Nico Muhly. For opera lovers, there is also Wallecan’s delightful Little Opera, a valentine to the Italian American obsession with the enduring title art form. 

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, January 13. A pre-sale to Film Society and Dance Films Association members begins Thursday, January 8. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for FSLC and DFA members. See more and save with the $99 All Access Pass or the 3+ film discount package. Visit filmlinc.com for more information.



(Unless noted screenings are at Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street)


Opening Night

Girlchild Diary

Meredith Monk/The House Foundation for the Arts, USA, 2014,  HDCAM, 86m

In her 50th year of creating work that combines voice, movement, and image, Meredith Monk revisits her iconic piece Education of a Girlchild for this evocative documentary centering on the 1993 Joyce Theater reunion of that production’s brilliant cast. Girlchild Diary offers a unique look at Monk’s unconventional creative process, interweaving music, photographs, interviews, and performance footage to illuminate a crossover artist still radical after all these years. U.S. Premiere


Screening with:

Letting Go

Lori Petchers & Susan Jacobson, USA, 2014, HDCAM, 4m

Sifting through photos and memories, a woman revisits her past, saying goodbye to what was while contemplating what will be.

Friday, January 30, 8:00pm (Q&A with Meredith Monk and cast member Lanny Harrison)


Closing Night

Desert Dancer

Richard Raymond, UK, 2014, DCP, 104m

Set in Iran, this powerful, incredible yet true story follows the brave ambitions of Afshin Ghaffarian. During the volatile climate of the 2009 presidential election (when many cultural freedoms were threatened), Afshin and some friends (including Elaheh, played by Freida Pinto) risk their lives to form an underground dance company. Through banned online videos they learn from the likes of Michael Jackson and Rudolf Nureyev—icons of dance whose resonance crosses all cultural divides—while also teaching themselves, and in the process embracing their passion for dance and for one another. This special advance screening is courtesy of Relativity Media.

Tuesday, February 3, 8:15pm (Q&A with Richard Raymond)


All That Jazz

Bob Fosse, USA, 1979, DCP, 123m

“It’s showtime, folks!” That’s the refrain of anxiety-ridden and unhealthfully driven choreographer Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) at the center of Fosse’s semi-autobiographical musical extravaganza, also featuring star turns by Ann Reinking, Ben Vereen, and Jessica Lange. Scheider is never less than captivating in his portrayal of Gideon, a complicated figure not so secretly patterned after Fosse himself. Long out of circulation, the Oscar-winning tour de force is back on the big screen after a 15-year 4K digital restoration by The Film Foundation.

Sunday, February 1, 5:45pm (Preceded by a panel discussion featuring assistant choreographer Gene Foote, Fosse’s daughter Nicole, and several other Fosse dancers)


American Cheerleader

James Pellerito & David Barba, USA, 2014, DCP, 89m

An in-depth look at how cheerleading has evolved from a sideline activity preceding a football game to an athletic event that highlights physical skills and musical routines—synchronized tumbling, flips, pyramids—unimaginable in the past. This engrossing documentary follows the journey of two high-school teams from regional competitions to the Nationals as they compete for the coveted cheerleading championship. Twelve girls from New Jersey and 12 from Kentucky, empowered by families and devoted coaches, redefine what it means to be an American cheerleader today.

Saturday, January 31, 1:00pm (Q&A with James Pellerito and David Barba)


Ballet Boys

Kenneth Elvebakk, Norway, 2013, HDCAM, 75m

Norwegian with English subtitles

Lukas is a teenager dreaming of success in the rarified world of ballet. Together with pals Syvert and Torgeir he trains at the Norwegian Ballet School. In this heartwarming documentary, the trio navigate the competitive world of dance and their last years of high school, encountering a variety of new challenges and opportunities along the way. New York Premiere


Screening with:

Det Skal Danses Vaek

Maia Elisabeth Sørensen, Denmark, 2014, DCP, 5m

A high-school boy’s infatuation with dance erupts into a full-scale “performance,” in which his classmates become a chorus of movers who catch the fever.

Friday, January 30, 1:00pm


Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity

Catherine Gund, USA, 2014, DCP, 82m

The “Evel Knievel of dance,” Elizabeth Streb pushes her dancers to trade fear for “extreme action” as they walk on walls, spin from cables, and aim for the sky. Director Catherine Gund provides close access to Streb and her daredevil company, allowing viewers to share her life at home, in rehearsal, and on the road, including a breathtaking performance in London just prior to the 2012 Olympics.

Screening with:


Benjamin Epps, USA, 2014, HDCAM, 7m

A dance work exploring the anxieties of modern life, set in site-specific locations that incorporate large-scale sculptures and paintings in the Houston area.

Sunday, February 1, 3:20pm (Q&A with Catherine Gund and Elizabeth Streb)


Capturing Grace

David Iverson, USA, 2014, DCP, 60m

When the Mark Morris Dance Group joins forces with Parkinson’s patients, magic happens. Under the guidance of former Morris company dancers Daniel Leventhal and John Heginbotham, this film’s engaging subjects forge a close-knit community, demonstrating art’s power to transform and to heal.


Screening with:


Stacy Menchel Kussell, Israel, DCP, 40m

Renewal profiles a group of dancers—the Vertigo Dance Company—in their pioneering eco-arts village on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Under the imperative of becoming more sustainable forces, these dancers, many of them extended family, reconsider their art, their values, and their place in the world. U.S. Premiere

Sunday, February 1, 1:00pm (Q&A with David Iverson and cast members)


The Dance of the Sun

Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt, Japan/Sweden, 2013, DCP, 58m

Swedish and Japanese with English subtitles

Ami Skånberg Dahlstedt is a Swedish choreographer immersed in Japanese mythology. She is drawn to the haunting legend that serves as the basis for much of Japan’s dance and theater, both classical and contemporary: The Sun Goddess, who hides in a cave, plunging the word into darkness, until the Goddess of Laughter lures her out with “crazy dancing” and the world returns to light. Dahlstedt’s journey also takes her to Kyoto, where she practices alongside her teacher, the beautiful Nishikawa Senrei. We also meet shrine maidens, a flutist who plays a 600-year-old instrument, transgender artists, and many others. New York Premiere


Screening with:

The Realm of Nothingness

Kathy Rose, USA, 2013, DCP, 7m

A dance of puppet-like figures and mesmerizing forms accompanied by percussive rhythms. Kathy Rose, fascinated by Noh and Japanese theater, creates a magical spectacle in which figures flow and drip in a universe of their own.

*Monday, February 2, 3:30pm

*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street


Dancing Is Living: Benjamin Millepied

Louis Wallecan, France, 2014, digital projection, 57m

French and English with English subtitles

This engaging documentary chronicles Benjamin Millepied (choreographer of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan), the newly appointed director of the Paris Opera Ballet and founder of L.A. Dance Project, as a globe-trotting ambassador for dance: in rehearsal with his company in L.A., hanging out with Lil Buck, and sharing his ideas about life and dance. New York Premiere


Screening with:

Little Opera

Louis Wallecan, France, 2012, HDCAM, 53m

Italian, French, and English with English subtitles

An intimate look at the historical and cultural roots of the Italian and American kinships with grand opera, featuring profiles of numerous notable figures, from renowned tenor Roberto Alagna to legendary Amato Opera Theatre founder Tony Amato. With the generous support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York. New York Premiere

Saturday, January 31, 8:00pm (Q&A with Louis Wallecan)


Fall to Rise

Jayce Bartok, USA, 2014, DCP, 91m

A multilayered drama following a famous dancer as an injury forces her out of her company and into the uncomfortable role of a new mother. With her world turned upside down, a former company member with her own emotional issues unexpectedly provides her with support. The film stars former Martha Graham principal dancer Katherine Crockett and actress/dancer Daphne Rubin-Vega (the original Mimi in the Broadway musical hit Rent), and features a powerful performance by the charismatic Desmond Richardson (co-director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet). New York Premiere


Screening with:

Stella & Tom

John Resner, USA, 2014, HDCAM, 7m

Stella & Tom features two of American Ballet Theatre’s finest dancers—Stella Abrera and Tom Forster—in a specially choreographed dance on film.

Sunday, February 1, 8:45pm (Q&A with Jayce Bartok and cast members)


Ghost Line and Other Celluloid Antics

A program that features the world premiere of Shona Masarin and Cori Orlinghouse’s new experimental dance short Ghost Line (USA, 2013, DCP, 15m), which merges the rhythmic and comedic timings of silent film and vaudeville with the absurdist impulses of Dada and Surrealism in a kinetic spectacle of light and shadow. This 78-minute program will also include films that illustrate Ghost Line’s affinity with cinema’s past: two early Buster Keaton shorts, The Playhouse (USA, 1921, 35mm, 20m) and Back Stage (USA, 1919, 35mm, 19m); Hans Richter’s Ghosts Before Breakfast (Germany, 1928, digital projection, 9m); and James Broughton’s Four in the Afternoon (USA, 1951, 16mm, 15m). This program will be moderated by former MoMA curator Jon Gartenberg of Gartenberg Media, a film archivist, distributor, and programmer with a special interest in silent and experimental film and film preservation.

*Monday, February 2, 6:00pm (Followed by a discussion with Shona Masarin and Cori Orlinghouse)

*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street


Here Now with Sally Gross

Douglas Rosenberg, USA, 2014, DCP, 46m

Here Now with Sally Gross documents the achievements of dynamic New York choreographer Sally Gross as she creates a site-specific work with a group of students for an exhibition by the renowned digital artist Leo Villareal. An original member of the Judson Dance Theater in the 1960s, Gross remains a powerful presence as she engages with her young performers and reflects on her enduring career in dance. New York Premiere


Screening with:

Ze’eva Cohen: Creating a Life in Dance

Sharon Kaufman, USA, 2013, HDCAM, 32m

This documentary spans some 70 years in the career of the noted title dancer/choreographer, virtually encompassing all phases of her richly creative life. World Premiere

Tuesday, February 3, 3:00pm


Jiri Kylian: Forgotten Memories

Don Kent & Christian Dumais-Lvowski, France, 2011, HDCAM, 52m

World-renowned Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian, always a reluctant subject, finally agreed to participate in this film, the only record of his personal history and artistic life. Narrated by Kylian, it covers his school days in Prague, as well as his apprenticeship in London and Stuttgart, where he began his choreographic life. Through interviews shot largely in the Netherlands, home of the Nederlands Dans Theater, which he guided for more than 30 years, and gorgeous excerpts of some of his best-known works, a picture emerges of a singular artist whose vision has inspired dancers and choreographers around the globe. U.S. Premiere


Screening with:

Memory House

Ryan Fielding & Loughlan Prior, New Zealand, 2013, DCP, 17m

A number of New Zealand Ballet’s prominent dancers create dramatic solos and duets that evoke memories of the past. U.S. Premiere

Friday, January 30, 6:00pm


Let’s Get the Rhythm: The Life and Times of Mary Mack

Irene Chagall, USA, 2014, DCP, 55m

The wondrous hand-clapping games of inner-city playgrounds in New York City and the remote corners of the world alike become a music genre and a fertile subject for exploration in this delightful homage to the beauty of the beat. Three 8-year-old girls charm with personal insights of the hand-clapping experience, while archival footage collected by Alan Lomax and choice observations by ethnomusicologists, folklorists, and just plain folks stress the empowering impact of the practice on the lives of women.


Screening with:


John Kirkscey, USA, 2013, HDCAM, 17m

Bookin’ explores the idea of dance fusion with two jookers (urban street dancers) and two ballet dancers who merge their styles to a soundtrack that mixes hip-hop beats and cello at a famous Memphis juke joint.

Friday, January 30, 3:15pm (Q&A with Irene Chagall)


Mia, A Dancer’s Journey

Maria Ramas & Kate Johnson, USA, 2013, DCP, 55m

A daughter’s promise to tell her mother’s story serves as the starting point for this documentary on the life of the celebrated Croatian ballerina Mia Slavenska, which becomes a fascinating and moving reflection on historical memory, national identity, and the power of dance. The film retraces Mia’s journey from tumultuous prewar Europe through her emergence as a glamorous ballerina of the Ballets Russes and a star attraction on stages across America, culminating with her return to her homeland. New York Premiere


Screening with:


Nancy Allison & Paul Allman, USA, 2014, DCP, 8m

Jean Erdman came up with the choreography for “Hamadryad,” a vision of a passionate wood nymph, in 1948 while walking through a forest and hearing a lone flutist practicing Debussy’s “Syrinx.” The filmmakers creatively re-create the Erdman piece using Martha Graham dancer Miki Orihara, taking her from the Manhattan streets to her studio where she rehearses the solo conjuring herself into the very forest where the dance was first imagined.

Saturday, January 31, 3:30pm (Q&A with Maria Ramas and Kate Johnson)


Perpetual Motion: The History of Dance in Catalonia

Isaki Lacuesta, Catalonia, 2013, DCP, 57m

Catalan with English subtitles

A living history of dance in Catalonia—home to legends like Carmen Amaya, the repository of many dance genres, and a region where dance has flourished since the early 19th century. Archival images, interviews, and reconstructions of works bring this rich heritage into the present. Thanks to La Termita Films and Televisió de Catalunya TV3, in collaboration with Arts Santa Monica, Institut Ramon Llull, and Mercat de les Flors. U.S. Premiere


Screening with:


Frédérique Cournoyer Lessard, Canada, 2014, DCP, 15m

An imaginative exploration of one woman’s relationship to dance through close encounters of the third kind. World Premiere

Tuesday, February 3, 6:00pm (Introduction by Perpetual Motion: The History of Dance in Catalonia choreographer Cesc Gelabert)



Blanca Li, France, 2015, DCP, 61m

This radical vision from choreographer/director Blanca Li involves eight dancers whose extraordinary flexibility and expressivity are demonstrated as they explore the relationship between humans and machines. They are aided by mechanized instruments shaped like musical notes (created by Maywa Denki, a Japanese artist group), and witty movement by NAO, a playful, highly developed humanoid robot capable of interactivity. A performance that will surprise and amuse anyone interested in how the future of dance might look. U.S. Premiere


Screening with:


Tom Rowland, UK, 2013, DCP, 29m

Choreographed and performed by acclaimed contemporary dancer Dane Hurst, this narrative, told entirely through dance, explores creativity, violence, and loss via one man’s intense spiritual journey, cast against the moody backdrop of nocturnal London. U.S. Premiere

*Monday, February 2, 8:30pm (Q&A with Tom Rowland and Dane Hurst)

*Venue: Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street



Walter Reade Theater, 165 West 65th Street


This year’s crop of short films is particularly diverse: from dances inspired by Stephen Sondheim and created for the iPhone, to complex stories that unfold through choreography designed to heighten narrative tension. This program demonstrates that there is no shortage of imagination among the filmmakers who seek to explore dance’s relationship to film.


A Juice Box Afternoon

Lily Baldwin, USA, 2014, DCP, 8m

Through her own writing, Anne Morrow Lindbergh comes of age, meets Charles Lindbergh, and experiences flight in more ways than one. The first in a new series entitled “The Paperback Movie Project.” New York Premiere


A Tap Dance on the Pier

Geoffrey Goldberg, USA, 2014, DCP, 2m    

A Tap Dance on the Pier introduces the “tap stalker,” a man who finds unsuspecting people and dances with them. World Premiere



Daphna Mero, Israel, 2012, DCP, 13m    

A female laundry worker desperately attempts to abort the fruit of a violent encounter. When the consequences of her action are revealed, her repressed memories reemerge. U.S. Premiere


Dancing Sondheim (selections “Children and Art” & “Every Day a Little Death”)

Richard Daniels, USA, 2014, DCP, 7m

Charting new territory in bringing dance to a wider audience, choreographer Richard Daniels, the creator and producer of “Dances for an iPhone,” continues his pioneering work for the small screen with a new collection of dances created for his iPhone and iPad app. We present two selections from the Dancing Sondheim series : “Children and Art” with Carmen de Lavallade and “Every Day a Little Death” with Deborah Jowitt. World Premiere


Well Contested Sites

Amie Dowling, USA, 2012, DCP, 13m

Developed and shot on Alcatraz Island, this film explores the issue of mass incarceration and the complex experience faced by the incarcerated. New York Premiere



Thomas Pollard & Nathan Smith, Australia, 2013, DCP, 6m

A man sits alone in a room. Three boys entertain each other with scary stories during a sleepover. The narrative gains momentum as a link becomes apparent between a fictional man’s life in solitude and the future of one boy’s reality. New York Premiere


Vanishing Points

Marites Carino, Canada, 2014, DCP, 9m

Like two molecules unknowingly affecting each other in space and briefly crossing paths, conceptual hip-hop dancers collide and share fleeting moments of intimate synchronicity on the streets of Montreal. New York Premiere



Danielle Kipnis, USA, 2014, DCP, 6m    

Graffiti-painted dancers move through the private and public domains of New York City. New York Premiere



Martin & Facundo Lombard, USA, 2014, DCP, 4m

A powerful new piece from the Lombard Twins, a “Dance Scene” set to music by Astor Piazzolla. World Premiere



Joey De Guzman, New Zealand, 2014, DCP, 6m

A dark, poetic dance film depicting a girl’s obsession with a butterfly. U.S. Premiere



Shantala Pèpe, Belgium/UK, 2014, DCP, 7m    

A man and a woman share a suspended moment of intimacy sitting before a vast ocean. U.S. Premiere

Saturday, January 31, 6:00pm



Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater, 144 West 65th Street


Black Ballerina

Black Ballerina is a documentary-in-progress that uses the overwhelmingly white world of classical ballet to take a fresh look at race, diversity, and inclusion. Narrated by black women of different generations but united in their passion for ballet, the film asks if anything has changed and why diversity in dance matters.

Tuesday, February 3, 4:30pm (Followed by a panel featuring producer/director Frances McElroy, Dance Theater of Harlem artistic director Virginia Johnson, and former Ballets Russes ballerina Raven Wilkinson)


Capturing Motion NYC

For a fourth year, Dance Films Association invites high-school students throughout the five boroughs to submit dance films between one to five minutes in length for Capturing Motion NYC, a student film competition. This program will feature the top juried films and a panel discussion about the students’ processes. The winning work will be screened on closing night of Dance on Camera.

Friday, January 30, 4:00pm


Filmmaker Services Panel

Invited organizations dedicated to providing filmmaker services, including Fractured Atlas, AbelCine, DCTV, and VHX, will join Dance on Camera to engage in a lively discussion focused on getting a film made—sharing tactics from pre-production to distribution, and all the important steps in between. In addition to the panel, we are offering a free field trip to AbelCine (609 Greenwich St.) on Monday, February 2, from 12:00pm-2:00pm. RSVP required, open to attending filmmakers and DFA community.

Friday, January 30, 5:00pm


Meet the Artist

Critically acclaimed immersive theater company Third Rail Projects, creators of the award-winning production Then She Fell, will join Dance on Camera to offer audiences the opportunity to learn about the influence of dance film on their large body of work. Artistic directors Zach Morris, Tom Pearson, and Jennine Willett will be joined by filmmaker Lucas Smith to discuss their recent collaborative film project produced by Dance Films Association with funding received from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Monday, February 2, 5:00pm


Young Dancemakers

Young Dancemakers Company, founded by Alice Teirstein, is a unique summer dance ensemble of NYC teens dedicated to creating their own original choreography and performing it in concerts citywide. Young Dancemakers (USA, 2014, 28m) follows three members of the company, mentored by Teirstein, as they deal with their personal struggle

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