Dancers' Film Festival is the Film Festival Hollywood Needs

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The performance genre may be the most important underrated field in the industry.


It’s been a method of tradition, storytelling, entertainment, exercise, and art since the beginning of mankind’s reign in this world. It was a fundamental element in the early days of film when sound had not yet been mastered, weaving story elements through body movement and expression alone. Yet somewhere along the pathway of film, the art of dance became lost, replaced with dramatic dialogue and exciting special effects.

Not anymore.

Last weekend, LA’s first ever Divulge Dancers’ Film Festival (DF2) has brought the art of dance back into the film world right here in Hollywood where it’s needed the most. In a thrilling two day event, the festival hosted hours and hours of creative works ranging from student short films to full feature documentaries, all revolving around dance. Most of the films screened brought us right back to the days of old where there was only music and a performance; and coupled with the film technology of today, were able to tell comprehensive tales filled with emotional impact, often drawing attention to important issues plaguing present day humanity.

Diversity and overcoming obstacles were key themes surrounding the entire festival, not just within the films but in the people who created them. We were reminded that dancers, performers, creatives come in all different body types, nationalities, religions, genders, and ages. And all are nothing less than beautiful and powerful. Voices were heard without a single word being uttered, lessons were taught without the wagging of a scolding finger, and inspiration was drawn not only from the films, not just from the speeches of the winners and special guests, but from the simple fact that so many people were willing to take a chance in a genre of film that isn’t widely recognized, and they were recognized for that.

“I think that dance can say more than words,” Severine Reisp stated, creator of Giselle which won Best Student Dance Film at the festival. It was a simple statement that could not have rang more true in a theater filled with dancers-turned-filmmakers, the majority of whom were women, American minorities or foreign filmmakers. Perhaps a performance genre is precisely what needs to be pushed in big film festivals around the country in order to bring much-needed diversity into Hollywood. Only time will tell.

For now, it’s important for those in the film industry to support DF2 and festivals like it, reminding filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds that it’s never too late to start, and never too late to recognize forgotten dreams. Dancers are making a push into the film world to be heard, to be seen, to leave their mark on the world as we all aspire to do.

As DF2’s Jury winner Walter Yamazaki (Libera) said, “The duality of the finite and the infinite is apparent around us, but we try to search for and express a fragment of that eternity in this finite world. To discover the existence of eternity is what human beings have been instinctively pursuing; to leave their version of legacy for humanity.”

Jackie Oliver

Congratulations to all the winners of the first year’s DF2:

Best Style Dance Film:
"Take Your Time"
Max Sachar & Natasha Adorlee Johnson

Best Dance Short Film:
Desirée V. Castro

Best Dance Narrative Film:
Ned Farr

Best Music Video:
"True Love Waits"
Adi Halfin

Special Awards:

Best Dance Film Editing:
Matt Rich

DF2 Jury Award:
Walter Yamazaki

Best Student Dance Film:
Severine Reisp

Dance Icon Award:
Michael Chambers

DF2 Creative Award:
Manas Sirakanyan

DF2 Revolutionary Award:
"Upside Down Revolution"
Florent Médina

And a warm Thank You to all those who submitted their art, told their stories, shared inspiration, and left their own legacy for the film world to enjoy.

*Special thanks to Brett and Christine and the other organizers of DF2 for allowing Colaborator to be a part of this amazing festival. We hope to see you again next year!