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Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 01/30/2024

Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3 

An amazing line-up of experimental dance films will be screening as part of Shorts Program #2 of the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival. With this year's collection of films spanning different countries and cultures, I noticed that “dance” was an overarching theme or common thread in many of the films being screened as part of the Festival.

Charlotte Griffin has two of her dance films playing. Walls Running is an experimental screen dance and part of a series of short "Impromptus" commissioned by Debra Noble, Director of Dance Repertory at California State University, Fullerton. Griffin collaborated with visual effects designer Jaime Cano and artist Michelle Oosterbaan to immerse the dancers within layered abstract worlds with original music by composer/percussionist Aaron Chavez and harpist Natalia Yates. During the height of the COVID pandemic stay at home orders, the dancers assembled do-it-yourself green screen kits to capture their solo performances in isolation. Their dancing was collaged into shared 2D and 2.5D digital space playing with the push and pull of dimensional elasticity, kinetic exchange, and organic textures. Highly crafted, yet spontaneously felt, this series of impromptus brought many artists together during a time of prolonged separation.

Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3

The Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival will also be screening Griffin’s 2023 dance short All of Us where dancers across identities coexist within a common screen space transforming repetition into a parable of the human experience.

Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3


New Jersey Film Festival alums and Charly and Eriel Santagado will be premiering their new experimental dance film Conjoined which is a narrative duet inspired by the chronic exploitation of conjoined twins, especially in relation to the world of entertainment. In this amazing film two dancers wear one large skirt, exploring maximal physicality within this limitation.



 
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Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3

The gorgeous experimental dance film Rooted by Brooklyn, New York filmmaker Charly Wenzel is an exhilarating exploration of the healing and grounding powers of nature. 

Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3

Hüseyin Mert Erverdi’s beautiful black and white film Sea of Shadows, from Istanbul, Turkey, is also an experimental dance film of sorts as it focuses on the transient nature of life, captured through the dance of waves. It delves deep into the microcosm of these waves; each shot, an intimate meditation, captures the waves crashing, flowing, and splashing - mirroring the undulating rhythm of life and death, joy and sorrow, beginnings and ends.

Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3

Jessy Dong’s visually stunning Unspooling Wind is a short film that ritualistic explores traditional Chinese kite flying and Japanese Butoh dance. It will also be screened as part of this program along with Nate Dorr’s lyrical experimental short ywnhx  and Austrian filmmaker Mersolis Schöne’s Sign Action Space -- a short experimental film about the musical actions of the hands of the Vienna Improvisers Orchestra. 

Experimental Dance Films abound at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3

Shorts Program #2 will be playing at the Spring 2024 New Jersey Film Festival on Saturday, February 3 – Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 5PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ. Many of the filmmakers will be on hand to do a Q+A after the In-Person screening! For more info and tickets go here.



 
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Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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