Interview with Festival Directors Betsy Uhler Colombo & Alexa Roman (LA Dance Film Festival)

The LA Dance Film Festival aims to provide a supportive and enriching environment for both emerging and established dance filmmakers. The festival is open to filmmakers from around the world. LADFF accepts films from a variety of genres as long as dance is the main storytelling component.

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What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Our film festival has been successful at fulfilling our mission, which is twofold: 1) to create opportunities and exposure for dance films from around the world, and 2) to unite the Los Angeles dance and film communities.

 What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

Attendees to our festival in January 2018 should expect to see a wide variety of short dance films from around the world. We have some fantastic submissions coming in across all styles and genres of dance, and are looking forward to sharing a selection of them with our local community of dance film lovers.

 What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Qualifying films are under 30 minutes in length, and incorporate dance as a core narrative component. We have two categories: fiction and nonfiction.

 Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

It’s hard for us to speak to other festivals but we take a lot of steps to ensure we are as objective as possible in how we assess films. We have a submissions team comprised of dancers, filmmakers and dance filmmakers. Our team watches every film and scores it against a multi-point rubric. We use the scores to determine the final selections for the festival. Separately, we have both a Jury Award and an Audience Award. Those awards are determined by people who are independent from the festival staff.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We are motivated by our desire to provide opportunities and exposure for dance films from around the world as well as unite the dance and film communities here in Los Angeles. Dance film offers something different than traditional films and it’s not a commonly known genre. We wanted to make Los Angeles a place where dance filmmaking and dance film viewership thrive.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Great! We love FilmFreeway. We also use WithoutaBox and we offer an extended deadline on WithoutaBox.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We’d love to be able to expand to a bigger venue and offer multiple days of programming so we can reach a wider audience and offer screening opportunities to a greater number films.

 What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Beverly Hills Cop. Maybe Beverly Hills Cop III.

If we’re talking dance films, I’ve seen Confrontation (dir. Shannon Janet Smith and Steven Butler) the most as it has played at three festivals I’ve attended, was part of a StandardVision Showcase and we screened it at our festival. Thomas Freundlich’s film Cold Storageis a close second. [Alexa]

 In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great dance film uses the art of dance to tell a compelling story in a unique and entertaining way. It leaves the audience asking questions, entertaining new thoughts or discovering untapped emotions.

  How is the film scene in your city?

Los Angeles is the film capitol of the world, so… pretty good!

 

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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