These days Dance Film (aka Screen Dance) Festivals are literally popping up in cities and towns in every corner of the globe. There are even on-line Screen Dance Fests like our own Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival (link) that are virtual and not specific to a single place. Every time I turn around I hear about a new festival, likely attributable to the fact that dance films are now both a thing and a thing of value within the dance world both in terms of marketability for dance companies and extending the ephemeral nature of dance itself, in large part because of the constant of the internet. Dance on film is also a topic of rigorous study in colleges and universities worldwide. Whatever the case may be it is certainly an on the rise movement (pun intended), and a positive one at that.
There are, however, (comparatively) old timers like San Francisco Dance Film Festival (SFDFF), turning 10 years this year (!), a festival I have written about and in support of before in these pages. In fact in the past decade SFDFF has screened nearly 600 films, generously contributed by hundreds of independent filmmakers, and produced 16 original shorts of their own. The program is SO big that it spans a full week and encompasses shorts, documentaries, experimental films, features, performance capture, special workshops and more. SFDFF’s shorts program is particularly notable because it screens many that other festivals overlook. The main programming for SFDFF takes place annually at the historic Brava Theater in SF’s wonderful Mission District, with other venues nearby serving as adjuncts. The Mission District is in and of itself a fantastic cultural melting post, a backdrop for a plethora of sites, sounds, tastes, etc. from many countries at once.
This is not an accident but a conscious choice by Greta Schoenberg, SFDFF’s awesome Founding Director and Director of Programming, along with leader and Executive Director Judy Flannery and a highly collaborative staff. Together they have fearlessly led the festival to be the “wild, beautiful ride” (San Francisco Examiner) that it is today. This year SFDFF culled submissions from over 40 countries: “It was no small task to narrow our selections to ‘only’ 27 programs, but we are always honored to be in this unique vantage point, seeing the world’s dance as if hovering by drone over the full artistic landscape. We find artists are often on the same page, even if not on the same continent. From parallel projects on opposite poles of planet Earth to seemingly disparate communities raising their voices toward a common goal, we see connections everywhere. And in our current world, we are proud to play a part in amplifying this sense of oneness through the universal power of dance.”
You can purchase tickets, read about films, scheduling, and check out general info on San Francisco Dance Film Festival at: https://www.sfdancefilmfest.org
And if you have any doubts, check out their STUNNING trailer for this year below, and go if you can! It’s so worth it!
*Feature image from “Betroffenheit” by Crystal Pite & Jonathan Young
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