After the success of 2014’s inaugural Leeds International Screendance Competition, a partnership project by Leeds International Film Festival and Yorkshire Dance, we were proud to be able to stage the competition for a second time this year.
The competition was launched to support outstanding collaborations in the film and dance art forms. LIFF and Yorkshire Dance put out a call for submissions of innovative short films exploring how cinematography and choreography cross over – screen-based work that features dance or engages with choreography somehow. The films could use new technologies, animation or web based work.
At the helm again in 2015, Leeds-based filmmaker Andy Wood put together a shortlisting panel including Gitta Wigro (dance film programmer and Co-Director of Independent Dance) and Yorkshire Dance Interim Artistic Director Paul Burns, who sifted through 164 entries from around the world.
They were not looking for ordinary documentation of a live performance, though they did consider live work creatively re-staged or reinterpreted specifically for the screen. After a long day of heated debate, they drew up a shortlist of films to be screened at Everyman cinema, Trinity Leeds, on Wed 11 Nov 2015:
• Yasushi Shoji, Kenichi Sasaki (Japan)
• Echo, Nicola Balhuizen Hepp (Netherlands)
• Néants, Nellie Carrier (Canada)
• Circle, Özgür Can Alkan (Turkey)
• Reborn, Andrew Margetson (UK)
• Choreography for the Scanner, Mariam Eqbal (USA)
• Approaching the Puddle, Sebastian Gimmel (Germany)
• Solo Finale, Ingo Putze (Germany)
• Hydra, Florence Freitag (Germany)
• You, Graham Clayton-Chance (UK)
With a full auditorium, the programme featured an eclectic mix of styles – from Echo, a one-minute single-shot solo filmed in a black space, to the CGI extravaganza, five-years in the making, of Solo Finale.
A post-screening discussion featured Andy Wood, Gitta Wigro, Simon Fildes and three of the featured directors – Ingo Putze, Nicola Balhuizen Hepp and Graham Clayton-Chance – who gave us an interesting insight into the context and process of their work.
The winning film was selected by a jury of international screendance specialists, including Liz Aggiss (artist), Leonel Brum (Artistic Director of Dança em foco – Festival Internacional de Video & Dança) and Marisa C Hayes (Director, Festival International de Vidéo Danse de Bourgogne) and awarded £500.
Choreography for the Scanner
Mariam Eqbal (USA)
Created using a flatbed scanner, this experimental animation explores a choreography of simple repetition – a reminder of the technologies at the heart of the history of cinema and the moving image.
Approaching the Puddle
Sebastian Gimmel (Germany)
A curious woman and her fabulous yellow wellies undertake a surreal exploration of an empty car park.
Kenichi Sasaki (Japan)
Dancer Yasushi Shoji playfully sounds out a space, measures it in movement and rhythm. An abandoned primary school provides the evocative setting.
The audience was invited to score all the films throughout the evening and, during the post-screening conversation, their score-cards were collected and their scores added up. By an overwhelming majority, the winner of the unofficial Audience Choice Award was:
Graham Clayton-Chance (UK)
A tribute to the late Choreographer Nigel Charnock, recreating a section of his 1991 solo work Resurrection. Verbal and physical slapstick reveals dark truths about human relationships.
Yorkshire Dance is very proud to have worked with Leeds International Film Festival to create the UK’s only international screendance competition, and we look forward to developing this already prestigious annual event in 2016. We’re very grateful indeed to Andy Wood, the selection panel, the judges and all the entrants for making this year’s competition such a success, and to everyone who came to the screening. Thank you!