Dancer Nicole Vaughan-Diaz. Film still from Red Road Study.

Film: a fresh frontier

Film is a fresh frontier for me. Alongside everyone, I’m experiencing the quick-shifting sands of our times and, in turn, my priorities. Since 2019, I’ve been climbing a steep, exciting learning curve in filmmaking.

I always felt impressed - as a maker of live performance - by certain potent qualities of film: control over the eye; producing something that lasts; the seductive feel of the final product, almost an object, seemingly effortless.

I made films in art school, answering my choreographer’s urge to choose what a viewer sees: only the hands, only the feet, only a mouth swallowing fruit. That was fun. Yet it felt like another medium, and I was still working hard to become a choreographer.

Turns out film and dance have much in common. Both frame what happens before the eye, organize and ignite a flow of information within a temporal journey, depend on eliciting the right performance at the right moment, and rely on our fascination with motion and emotion. The act of editing feels like choreography: puzzle-piecing, rearranging, splicing; gauging rhythm, structure and story. This is deeply familiar terrain for me.

I found a lively collaborator in photographer and filmmaker, Jack Flame Sorokin. Our experiments in filmmaking have been a galvanizing source for me in exploring a new medium.

Our first film, Landfall, was recently awarded “Best Experimental Short” by the Paris Short Film Festival and “Best Cinematography” by the Experimental Dance & Music Film Festival. To date, Landfall has been selected by The Maryland Film Festival, The Montreal Independent Film Festival, The Austin Dance on Film Festival, The Jacksonville Dance Film Festival, The Boden International Film Festival (Sweden), The Fastnet Film Festival (Ireland), and American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers

Film has allowed me to explore the meaning in movement no matter how life lurches and shifts. I’m fascinated by a fresh frontier that asks me to perceive and process movement in a different way. I want to thank Nicole Vaughan-Diaz, for encouraging me in this direction, and KWCo’s Executive Director Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang and the KWCo Dancers for venturing forward with me. Finally, my deep gratitude to Lucia Kellar, for her impactful and ongoing support of my work.

I invite you to join in our unfolding adventure in filmmaking, and read about the creative process behind Landfall in our new blog series!

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Dancer Nicole Vaughan-Diaz. Film still from Red Road Study.