Erie Dance Film Festival brings the dance community to the camera
After facing the limitations of COVID-19 lockdowns for over 15 months, there’s no better time than now to appreciate the art of dance.
The inaugural Erie Dance Film Festival will be held July 8 at Kellar’s: A Modern Magic and Comedy Club at 1402 State St. Doors open at 6 p.m. and screening begins at 7 p.m.
The Film Festival, created and funded by Erie Arts & Culture, is a collaboration born out of the desire of Erie County filmmakers and dancers (dancers / choreographers) to team up and create a unique way to present the form of art to a regional audience.
“It felt natural,” Jennifer Dennehy, dance teacher and festival co-founder, said of the association of local filmmakers and dancers. “Camera dancing is a growing field and we wanted to take a more collaborative approach by presenting the dance community through the media.”
The film features five segments of Erie’s teams featuring choreographed creations with different concepts. All segments revolve around themes that encompass diversity, equity and inclusion.
“We had five teams, 10 dancers and seven filmmakers,” Dennehy said. “Each film (segment) is approximately eight minutes long with a few additional minutes of Q&A filmed after the performance. The total duration is approximately 65 minutes.”
Most teams started shooting in September and finished in February, at the height of COVID-19. “It made it interesting,” Dennehy said.
The themes of the film focused on isolation, racial justice and the environment, among others.
The live event at Kellar’s will include post-film conversations with the dancers, filmmakers and founders involved in the process. Tickets, which cost $ 35 per person or $ 50 per couple, are available at eriedancefilmfestival.com.
The film will also be available online on July 9, 10 and 11 with the support of WQLN and Community Access Media on Facebook, YouTube and WQLN Passport.
The project is dedicated to Carla Hughes, a teacher at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy and performer of Erie Playhouse who died in May. Hughes is one of the festival’s co-founders and liaison officers for the team that is included in the Q&A portion of the film.
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All proceeds from the launch will go to the Erie Dance Film Festival 2022.
“The goal is to repeat that next year and develop it, to continue to have these collaborations,” Dennehy said. “They all enjoyed the process. For a lot of filmmakers, this was their first time doing a dance for a camera piece.”
Dennehy said the founders’ plan was to tour the area in the fall, bringing the film to area festivals, community centers and, eventually, schools.
Programming of the Erie Dance Film Festival:
Dance creators: Corinne Dietrich, Angela DiFiore, Shreelina Ghosh, Eden Ihrig, Mariah Johnson, Mackenzie Link, C. Noelle Partusch, Michael Patterson, Solveig Santillano, Jenna Swartz.
Filmmakers: Mike Berlin, Eric Dye, John C. Lyons, Jesse Olszewski, Danny Pakulski, Alex Staley, Matthew Torti.
Founders: Jennifer Dennehy, Tauna Hunter, Carla Hughes, Jacqueline George, Mark Santillano.