Countdown Begins

Our 2014 Countdown begins today:
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SFDFF Countdown 15 DaysOutside In

(SWEDEN, 2011) 10min
Director: Tove Skeidsvoll, Petrus Sjövik, Tyrandora
Choreography: Tove Skeidsvoll

Faces of SFDFF: Sarah Hartman

Hey there! I’m Sarah Elizabeth Hartman, and like Tiit Helimets, this is my first season working with the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. I’m a San Francisco native and have been dancing since I was three, bouncing around several ballet companies all over the country before coming back home to work on my own ballet ventures!

Photo by Eric Hiss

Photo by Eric Hiss

I’m excited–and so thankful to Saint Mary’s LEAP program–to have the opportunity to work with the Festival. I’ve never been one to be satisfied with watching from behind the scenes, and working with SFDFF has put my ambition and creative juices to work! Only a few weeks in, I’ve already learned so much, and cannot wait to develop my blossoming relationship with not only SFDFF, but the very exciting dance film community emerging from it. Of course, I also intend to use my knowledge to create films someday too! I currently reside in the Bay Area with three cats, all of whom enjoy sitting on my notes for upcoming meetings.


Note from Tiit Helimets

Tiit Helimets

Photo by Quinn Wharton

I am very exited to be working with the San Francisco Dance Film Festival this year. I started in early January and it has been a great learning experience thus far. My title is Associate Manager. Although I am currently working very hard as a principal dancer in the San Francisco Ballet, I like the added challenge and see it as a chance to further test my capabilities. I am a firm believer in personal growth and learning more about the nonprofit world is a fun new experience for me.  As with any organization the first two weeks feel like “oh my god, what did I got myself into,” but after about five weeks of meeting with everyone on a regular basis I am totally on top of tasks and beginning to grasping the concept of arts management much better than I think I ever did before. This is a real hands-on experience and I am having the time of my life doing it.  Being busy is the only way I want to live my life.


Five-Minute Interview with Mitchell Rose

Just five-minutes with Mitchell Rose and Staff Writer Erin Malley gives us a little insight into Rose’s recent work Contact.

Regularly featured at SFDFF, Film Director Mitchell Rose was a NY-based choreographer prior to becoming a filmmaker. Since attending The American Film Institute as a Directing Fellow, his films have won 61 awards. The New York Times calls him: “A rare and wonderful talent.” Mr. Rose is a professor of dance-filmmaking at Ohio State University.

Mitchell Rose Portrait
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And The Winner Is…

If you saw even a fraction of the films at the Festival you will appreciate that choosing a winner is truly a challenge. But the Jury took on this difficult job and now we have our winners:

Best Film Award ($5,000)
Best Documentary


282_The Six Seasons (c) Gilles DelmasThe Six Seasons

(FRANCE, 2012) 51min
Director: Gilles Delamas
Choreographer: Akram Khan

The Six Seasons successfully integrates the dance and narrative content highlighting personal, cultural geographical and artistic worlds. The use of original music and digital effects completes the vision.
View Trailer

Best Student Film Award ($2,000)
Best Category C2 — Screendance Films Up To 15 Minutes



166_Momentum (c) Aline ReinsbachMomentum

(GERMANY, 2012) 7min
Director: Boris Seewald
Choreography: Boris Seewald

Inventive, original, honest, and witty, Momentum has great energy and refreshes the genre with youthful vigor. Seewald demonstrates a confident use of the film medium to convey the power and depth of the dance experience. View Film

Best Category A — Live Performance Relay



003_C(H)OEURS (c) Javier del RealC(H)OEURS

(GERMANY/SPAIN, 2012) 100min
Director: Andreas Morell
Choreographer: Alain Platel

C(h)oeurs recreates the qualities of the live performance, capturing the essence of the theatrical experience. Through all levels of production, the film demonstrates unflinching commitment to the integrity of the work.

Best Category B — Camera Rework



043_How Like An Angel (c) Danny HigginsHow Like An Angel

(UK/AUSTRALIA, 2012) 47min
Director: Robert Hollingworth, Yaron Lifschitz, Circa

How Like An Angel is an inspired and original work that combines movement, light, camera and location to create a poetic and powerful vision. It is a mature work that creates a lasting resonance.

Best Category C1 — Screendance Films Up To 5 Minutes



105_Written in the Margins (c) RJ MunaWritten in the Margins

(USA, 2012) 4min
Director: RJ Muna
Choreography: Wendy Rein, Ryan T. Smith

Written In The Margins is a minimalist work that is choreographed in the editing room as much as in the studio. It is concise, sophisticated and well crafted.

Best Category C3 — Screendance Films Longer Than 15 Minutes




(AUSTRIA/SLOVAKIA, 2010) 19min
Director: Peter Bebjak
Choreography: Yuri Korec, Helene Weinzierl

Cinematic in its vision, Voices tells a difficult story through the body, which is minutely choreographed in a confined space. The director draws sensitive screen performances from the dancers, which lead the viewers into their internal world.

Jury members

Jury members: (left to right: Lynette Kessler, William Trevitt, Muriel Maffre, Michael Nunn, Ellen Bromberg). Photo by Michelle Iki

Jury members: (left to right: Lynette Kessler, William Trevitt, Muriel Maffre, Michael Nunn, Ellen Bromberg). Photo by Michelle Iki

IMZ Proctors

Astrid Hafner–Auinger
Katharina Jeschke


Five-Minute Filmmaker Interview with Alise Anderson

Local filmmaker Alise Anderson’s film Ingrid screened on Friday as part of the Screendance Shorts II: What’s the Story?  Staff Writer Erin Malley learns a lot about her filmmaking process in just a few minutes.

Alise AndersonFocused on exploring storytelling through movement Anderson has successfully applied her formidable education in both dance and film. Having attended Utah Valley University for Modern Dance Performance, she later received a certificate in directing and producing from Berkeley Digital Film Institute. Her films have been in various film festivals around the country. In addition to filmmaking she has a love for all things handmade and finds creative inspiration in her work with children.

What is the title of your film to be screened at the SFDFF?
The title of my film is Ingrid.

What was the inspiration for your film? A movement, an image, or a story? Or none of those?
The inspiration for my film came from a variety of places. I was largely inspired by the female characters in Twin Peaks, and Daisies, a 1966 Czechoslovakian film. I connected with their playful, almost childlike, qualities mixed with their provocative nature. With the choreography, I wanted Ingrid to have recognizable movements and purpose. Some of the choreography was inspired by the way cats and deer move with their often curious and hesitant behaviors. A sensual deer, if you will.

Within all of my filmmaking I feel inspired by creating new worlds and settings different from what I surround myself in. By creating a set for Ingrid, it allowed me  to make her world more imaginative and surreal.

What kind of camera did you use to shoot it?
I shot it all on a 5D with canon 24-70mm f2.8, canon 14mm f.28, and Zeiss 100mm prime f1 lenses.

Summarize your film in 3 words?
Borderline, passionate, lonely.

What color is your film?
Orange with a hint of red.

What does it taste like?
Red wine and lipstick.

What did you learn during the creation process of this film? 
I learned a lot about character development and research throughout the making of Ingrid. It was really important to me to flesh out who Ingrid was and where she came from. I wanted to tell a story with this film and have it go deeper than simple imagery. I wanted Ingrid to appeal to a larger audience, which meant telling a story that wasn’t hidden and abstract – like you often find in the dance world. I wanted it to be relatable.

I also learned that when you give yourself the responsibilities of being producer, choreographer, and set designer on top of directing, you just might go temporarily insane, and that anything you say or feel that night before your shoot just isn’t true.



Panel Presentations: Exploring Sound and Image

Panel Presentation Update: Exploring Sound and Image
By Staff Writer Erin Malley

In addition to the broad range of dance films being screened at SFDFF dance screen 2013, let’s not forget about all the other activities and discussions to partake in!

To begin with, check out the panel discussions held throughout the day on Saturday at the Delancey Screening Room. Earlier today, I was able to catch panels on music rights for film, and on photography providing inspiration for both dance and dance film.

In the first panel, called Sound of Music – Inspiration or Nightmare? I got some valuable points from Brooke Wentz, founder of the Music Rights Workshop. Wentz helped us gain clarity on who to contact, should we decide to use prerecorded music for film. She also guided us through some copyright basics, and told us a couple of panic inducing ‘nightmare’ stories. At this panel discussion, it was also interesting to hear the perspective of two filmmakers on their process with music – Kate Duhamel and Altin Kaftira. A question central to their part of the discussion: What is more important, the rights to the music or the rights to the film? The answer is both! But there are many nuances that must be considered.

In the second panel, called Decisive Moment – Where the Film Begins, photographers Jordan Matter, who shot the New York Times Best-Seller Dancers Among Us, and RJ Muna, a well-known local photographer and filmmaker both spoke on their processes and experiences of working with dancers. Providing a unique perspective, these professional photographers defined how to get the most out of an image while collaborating with dancers to draw out their creativity and ability.

Four panels follow tomorrow on Saturday. But might I suggest peeking into a viewing station opposite Delancey Screening Room when you’re not listening to a panel? Inside, you can watch all of the submissions to the dance screen 2013 on individual monitors. It’s a way to catch up on the films you may have missed, and discover a potential gem in the process! (Access to the viewing stations available for festival pass holders only).



Five-Minute Filmmaker Interview with Kate Duhamel

For the first day of the San Francisco Dance Film Festival screen dance 2013 our Staff Writer, Erin Malley, interviews filmmaker Kate Duhamel whose film Aloft screens Opening Night, as well as in 3D on Saturday evening; and, we should mention, a still from Aloft is this year’s official festival image because it depicts beautiful dancers and conveys the striking landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area!

Kate Duhamel is an independent filmmaker in San Francisco.  Having made both narrative and documentary films previously, her focus is now on dance films which she makes through her production company, Fountain 3 Films.  Several of Kate’s dance films have shown and been honored at film festivals around the world.

Kate Photo Twins shoot copy Jpeg

What is the title of your film to be screened at the SFDFF?

What was the inspiration for your film? A movement, an image, or a story? Or none of those?
I was inspired by the America’s Cup sailboats, which are competing in the Bay this September.  The speed and grace of these fastest boats in the world is extraordinary, and worthy of expression through dance.

What kind of camera did you use to shoot it?
2 Reds on a Steadicam 3D rig!  Quite an undertaking!

 Summarize your film in 3 words.
Fly, fly, fly.

What color is your film?

What does it taste like?
Sea breeze

What did you learn during the creation process of this film?
3D is very difficult, both in shooting and in post production.  There are many camera setting and angles that have to be dialed in perfectly.  I also learned again how wonderful dancers are, who deliver their beautiful art while freezing [cold] beyond all reasonable expectation.

Aloft Still