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San Francisco Dance Film Festival

San Francisco Dance Film Festival


San Francisco Dance Film Festival




Sunday, October 18, 2020 - 8:00pm daily through October 25, 2020



San Francisco Dance Film Festival

2020 - the year of such disruption, challenges, introspection and provocative exhortations also gives us new perspectives and fresh appreciation of what stories are being told and whose voices are being heard. The 11thannual San Francisco Dance Film Festival presents a lineup that reflects this unique moment as well as providing new insights to stories about people and places we thought we knew. 

Dance Film SF announces programming for its 11th annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival (SFDFF). The complete festival lineup of 12 programs will be presented on Marquee TV, an international performing-arts streaming service along with Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco which will provide an opportunity, over an extended period during the festival, to experience two of the programs as live screening events. 

The festival opens with UPROOTED - THE JOURNEY OF JAZZ featuring Debbie Allen. The film by Khadifa Wong presents a colorful and rich examination of jazz dance and of America itself and sets up the other documentaries that trace the history and trajectory of jazz dance, from African tribal dances in BEYOND MY STEPS and into the lives of two prolific and influential dancer/choreographers Gwen Verdon and Maurice Hines. SFDFF Founder/Director of Programming Greta Schoenberg says, “These films launch an important conversation about the pressing need for us all to rethink our collective understanding of dance history.” 

Other feature length works include a full live performance capture of Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young’s new stage work REVISOR and the soul-searching poetic film TOM by Wilkie Branson who blends dance, animation and cutting-edge technologies to poignantly reflect today’s mood. Six unique, engaging and provocative shorts programs, including SFDFF’s third edition of RAISING VOICES, a collection of dance films creatively exploring and illuminating racial and social justice issues through dance, music and poetry, will round out the festival. 

Four signature talks will be made available to the public in advance of the festival opening, including a discussion with REVISOR director/actor Jonathon Young and dancer Tiffany Tregarthen. The festival then kicks off on Sunday October 18 with a live-streamed red carpet opening, featuring international filmmakers and celebrity guests. Additional bonus content for attendees during the run of the festival includes live celebrations featuring mixologists and DJs and additional Q&As with festival filmmakers. The festival concludes with on Monday October 26, when our distinguished jury members announce Festival awards for best films. 

For the first time, the festival’s full curation of 75 dance-based films from 45 countries will be made available to a global audience through Marquee TV. Kathleya Afanador, co-founder and head of content for Marquee TV, stated, “We’ve long been admirers of the San Francisco Dance Film Festival and the curatorial voice that it contributes to the field, both nationally and internationally. We’re proud to partner with SFDFF on this year’s digital festival to bring these films together, showcase these talented artists and ensure that their work reaches its widest possible audience.” 



Program 1 UPROOTED: THE JOURNEY OF JAZZ DANCE Director: Khadifa Wong US, 2019 (94 minutes) *Available for US streaming only. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities for actresses of color, London-trained, NY-based dancer/actress Khadifa Wong turned to filmmaking, eventually forming her own production company “to help increase diversity on both sides of the camera.” UPROOTED is her feature-length film directorial debut, which deftly guides audiences through the true history, lineage and future progressions of jazz dance. Ms. Wong says, “The story of jazz dance is a complex one, it goes to the very heart of humanity. It is a story of triumph over adversity, oppression and privilege as well as a celebration, because ultimately, what all people have in common is rhythm and a basic human need to get down.” 

Program 2 Shorts Program - DANCE GOES ON (62 minutes) Packed with fabulous dance and music, these eclectic short films were chosen out of entries from 45 countries. From Argentina to Senegal, Costa Rica to French Polynesia, these films remind us that dance is a thriving universal language that cannot be silenced. An engaging and accessible introduction to dance on camera, or to dance in general. Appropriate for all ages. 

Program 3 BEYOND MY STEPS Directors: Kamy Lara, Paula Agostinho Angola, 2019 (72 minutes) At the root of jazz is traditional African dance. BEYOND MY STEPS goes behind the scenes with the Contemporary Dance Company of Angola as they work with choreographer Mónica Anapaz to explore concepts of Angolan tradition, culture, memory, and identity. Through diligent research of rare archival footage, five dancers interpret tribal dances and costumes, transforming them into contemporary forms and bridging time through movement. Most of the dancers - coming from other provinces of the country - bring memories and traditions with them when moving to the bustling, erratic and frantic reality of the capital city. In Portuguese with English subtitles. 

Program 4 MERELY MARVELOUS: THE DANCING GENIUS OF GWEN VERDON Directors: Chris Johnson, Ken Bloom US, 2019 (83 minutes) Although she is often remembered as the partner of famed jazz choreographer Bob Fosse, Gwen Verdon was herself a luminary who changed the face of Broadway choreography over forty years. Through rare footage of Verdon performing in iconic stage musicals, modern audiences can see Gwen at her best and learn the unexpected and surprising true story behind her success and career. She was a powerhouse of creativity, talent, and determination whose legacy can still be seen in dancers on Broadway today. Full of celebrity interviews, film critic Leonard Maltin calls the film, “A welcome celebration of a great, great talent, filled with rare footage of Verdon in her prime." 

Program 5 Shorts Program - RAISING VOICES (66 minutes) Dance Film SF’s ongoing platform Raising Voices returns for the 2020 festival with more provocative activism-based films that will stimulate conversation and open eyes through the uplifting power of music and dance. The collection was curated in collaboration with Manjula Varghese (SF Chronicle) and Laura Elaine Ellis (Founder, Black Choreographers Festival and lecturer at Cal State East Bay). Also featured in the program is Dance Film SF’s 2020 commissioned film by Yoram Savion of YAK Films. His collaborative film with young East Bay activist/dancers Shayla Avery and Isha Clark artistically conveys the heart of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Program 6 MAURICE HINES: BRING THEM BACK Director: John Carluccio US, 2019 (94 minutes) * Available only for 48 hours from release date. An intimate portrait of an outspoken showman who has navigated the highs and lows of a seven- decade career and a complex relationship with his superstar brother, Gregory Hines. MAURICE HINES: BRING THEM BACK is a portrait of the charismatic song-and-dance man from his tap- dancing childhood to today. Maurice and friends—Chita Rivera, Mercedes Ellington, and Debbie Allen—tell tales from his seven-decade career, including Broadway shows and Hollywood films like Francis Ford Coppola’s THE COTTON CLUB. Ever battling the challenges of being a gay, black man in showbiz, Maurice shares his story with humor and grace 

Program 7 Shorts Program AFTER DARK (62 minutes) Sexy. Cool. Creepy. Cult. A treat for the late-night crowd, this quirky collection of dance films spans the world from Korean vogue dancers to Parisian hairy hip hop creatures. 

Program 8 Shorts Program FINDING ME (62 minutes) What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What does it mean to be trans? What does it mean to be American? Or Chinese? Or African? What if I don’t fit into these boxes? Sometimes when there are no clear answers, art-making is the way to connect with who we really are. 

Program 9 TOM Director: Wilkie Branson UK, 2020 (56 minutes) Award-winning choreographer and filmmaker takes the viewer on a dark and affecting journey of self-discovery, touching on issues of loneliness, isolation, mental health and the perseverance of the human spirit. The poetic film combines the hip hop language of b-boying with cutting edge technologies, animation, photogrammetry and chroma-key capture. Set in a hinterland between the civilized world and the wilderness, TOM tells the story of one man’s journey to rediscover who he really is. 

Program 10 BAY AREA SHORTS - Parts 1 & 2 (53 minutes & 55 minutes) The festival presents its annual showcase of films by Bay Area artists, with new work from veteran community leaders and by newcomers venturing behind the camera for the first time. 

Program 11 SERIOUSLY SCREENDANCE (61 minutes) Eight beautiful, contemplative screendance films selected for the true fan of this century-old genre. From stunning natural settings to the quiet simplicity of the studio, contemporary dance finds new expressions as artists explore their places in the world, and with each other. 

Program 12 REVISOR Director: Jeff Tudor UK, 2020 (90 minutes) From the creators of the internationally acclaimed Betroffenheit (winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production and SFDFF’S 2019 award for Best Live Capture), Jonathon Young and Crystal Pite’s newest collaboration is based on Nikolai Gogol’s play, “The Government Inspector”. In REVISOR, eight Kidd Pivot dancers embody the recorded dialogue of some of Canada’s finest actors, exploring conflict, comedy and corruption in the potent relationship between language and the body. REVISOR was recorded during its run at Sadler’s Wells, London in March 2020, just days before the production’s world tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 


FINDING ME Saturday October 24 at 7pm Featuring an exclusive live performance by San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Benjamin Freemantle. 



Tickets for individual programs are $9. See more and save with a $50 All-Access Festival Pass (does not include admission to Catharine Clark Gallery screenings). Tickets may be purchased at sfdancefilmfest.org/tickets. For additional information please visit dancefilmsf.org. Catharine Clark Gallery Tickets: $10 per ticket for “Tom” and $50 per ticket for “Finding Me.” 


Founded in 2010, Dance Film SF is a nonprofit organization that brings dance to new audiences through the presentation and development of dance-based media. In addition to presenting the award-winning San Francisco Dance Film Festival, DFSF’s year-round activities include special screenings, panels, and filmmaking workshops. Through our touring and outreach programs, we send highlight reels to international screens and dance media into local schools. DFSF also produces original dance films through our commissioning program, the Co-Laboratory which pairs local and guest choreographers and dancers with professional filmmakers to collaborate and create short dance films. 


Launched in 2018, Marquee TV (www.marquee.tv) is an on-demand streaming platform dedicated to global arts and culture. Serving up a world-class catalogue of contemporary and classic masterpieces, including dance, opera, music, theatre, and documentaries, Marquee TV has been designed for a growing digital audience of determined culture lovers and the arts-curious.


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