13th Annual Screendance Festival Showcases Versatile Talent

By Allison McCausland

A&E and Online Editor

The Performing Arts Department was challenged from Nov. 16-18 as the TV/Film and Dance majors participated in the 13th Annual 48-hour Screendance Festival.

The Festival held its screening of the contestants’ films on Nov. 18 in the Gambet Auditorium under the challenge’s theme of Infuse. The Chair of the Dance, Tim Cowart, opened the screening and expressed how the contest “brings people together and creates a lot of opportunities” much in the same regard as this year’s theme. This theme had to be incorporated in each one of the films along with the chosen prop representative of Infuse, a tea bag.

The Festival was chaired on the TV/Film side by Assistant Professor Jared Gordon as well as having student representatives from both majors, with Dance represented by Jaclyn Yerkes and TV/Film represented by Aliaah Boardley.

After each film was screened for the audience, adjudicator Chihiro Shimizu offered her own comments on the film as well as a Q&A with each of the film’s student director’s and choreographers. Shimizu is a New York based choreographer and current president of InStream, a Japanese-based marketing, coordinating and video graphics company. Her attendance at the festival is featured as part of her current social media campaign project for a dance film festival with a deadline in Spring 2019.

After Shimizu’s feedback on the films, she and Cowart presented eight awards for the five films screened. The festival’s biggest award for Best Film Production, which included a cash prize for entering the film into other festivals, was given to “Fall From Dysphoria” directed by Jesse Crum and Joey Del Deo, produced by Del Deo, and choreographed by Alexa Fahs and Amanda Salvo. A representation of the positive and negative feelings a person can experience, the film also took home the awards for Best Editing and Best Director.

Racking up the second highest number of awards was the film “Nguvu Kuhama” also known as “Power Shift.” Directed by Vernard James, produced by Maggie Durkin, and choreographed by Ciara Alford and Draya Taylor, the film won the Audience Choice Award as well as Best Choreography for its portrayal of cultural appropriation. The audience choice was especially prominent as the announcement of “Power Shift’s” win was met with many chants of “Wakanda Forever” from the 2018 film Black Panther.

The award for Best Cinematography went to “Lei Muore,” a film noir tale of tragic love shot in black and white the same way classic Hollywood movies used to be. The title, itself a spoiler when translated, was the final touch of directors Anthony Antonelli’s vision brought to life with the help of co-director and producer Sophie Goad and choreographer Violet Hartman.

The Best Original Concept award goes to the film with a unique story and dynamic dancing which happened to be found in choreographer Caeleigh Griffiths and director Nicodemus Andanje’s “Seep.” Revolving around the four elements of water, fire, earth and air, producer Joseph Sheehan summed up the theme best by commenting on the inspiration the cast and crew drew from Avatar: The Last Airbender series.

Last, but certainly not least, the award for Best Sound Score was given to the versatile “A Brief History of Dance.” Ranging from the 1920s to the modern day, director H. Ben Reed, producer Erin Cicchitti, and choreographers Tristan Amadio and Kyra Robinson managed to change pace with a more light-hearted showcase of dance that anyone could join in on.

With a unique and wide-range of dancers and filmmakers giving the contest their all, it’s a safe bet that next year’s festival will be just as entertaining as this one.

Leave a Reply