Taboos, Dance and Body Diversity

Phoenix Dance (OC)
Karina Epperlein, Director, 2006, USA

Phoenix Dance is a tribute to renowned dancer Homer Avila, who, after losing a leg and most of a hip to cancer, dedicated himself to relearning all his best moves. Avila returns to the stage without crutches, performing with Andrea Flores a duet choreographed by Alonzo King. We witness determination, skill and courage as Homer collaborates in his now “imperfect” body – and his “one-leggedness” turns into magnificent beauty. Avila went on to receive great critical acclaim and international recognition.

Once a professional dancer, Karina Epperlein was transfixed by the sight of Avila performing a pas de deux on his remaining leg. She became determined to make a film celebrating the sublime talent and resilience of this extraordinary dancer. Transcending formula films about transformation, Phoenix Dance keeps the focus on dance, movement and grace.

Grand Prize: Best of Festival, Documentary – Black Maria Film & Video Festival, 2008, New Jersey, USA | Merit Award: Superfest Superfest XXV111, 2008, Berkley, California, USA | 2007 Isadora Duncan Dance Award (The Izzies): Special Achievement | Jury Award: Best Short Documentary – Newport Beach Film Festival, 2007, Newport Beach, California, USA | Audience Award: Best Short Film – Sydney Film Festival, 2007, Australia | Prize for Originality and Innovative Direction: Emotion Pictures, Documentary & Disability Int’l Festival, 2007, Athens, Greece | Golden Gate Award: San Francisco Int’l Film Festival, 2006, San Francisco, California, USA | Madelyn’s Choice Award: Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival, 2006, Colorado Springs, CO, USA | Official Selection: Independent Documentary Association [IDA] DocuWeek Theatrical Showcase, 2006, Los Angeles, California, USA | “Short-listed” for 2006 Oscar nomination: Short Documentary

Karina Epperlein and session moderator Arwyn Carpenter at the Q&A after the screening of Phoenix Dance

The Cost of Living (OC)
Lloyd Newson, Director, 2004, UK

Lloyd Newson of London’s famed DV8 Theatre Company takes us to a faded seaside town where street performers David and Eddie struggle to find work and romance. A film that hurls provocations and scalding humor at notions of how the fit and unfit are supposed to act, THE COST OF LIVING sets itself apart by defining a potent new direction for the concept of dance for the camera.

All About Dance Award: Milano Doc Festival, 2007, Milan, Italy | Choreography Media Honors Award: Dance Camera West — 2007, Los Angeles, California, USA | Best of Festival: Picture This Film Festival — 2006, Calgary, Canada | Time Out Live Award: for Outstanding Achievement in Dance — February 2006, London, UK | Prix Italia Performing Arts category, September 2005, Milan, Italy | Cinedans Audience Award: July 2005, Amsterdam, Netherlands | IMZ Dance Screen Best Camera Re-work: June 2005, Brighton, UK | Rose d’Or Arts & Specials Category: 2005, Lucerne, Switzerland | Sette Jury Prize: Festival Int. du Film sur l’Art Int. (Festival of Films on Art) 2005 — Montreal, Canada | Audience Choice Award: Festival of Dance Film for the Camera 2005 — Brasil | Jury Prize: Dance on Camera Festival 2005 — New York, USA | Best of VideoDance Audience Award: VideoDance, 2004 — Athens, Greece | Paula Citron Award: for Best Choreography for Camera Moving Pictures Festival 2004 — Toronto, Canada | NOW Audience Choice Award: Moving Pictures Festival 2004 — Toronto, Canada

View the Cost of Living trailer Youtube.

Still image from The Cost of Living

Invitation to the Dance (English Subtitles)
Gerhard Schick, Director, 2006, Germany

Invitation to the Dance exemplifies how art can create bridges between people with and without disabilities, between continents, races and cultures.

German dancer and choreographer Gerda Koenig, who has muscular atrophy has toured the world uniting able and disabled dancers in performances. She delights in the process of confronting taboos while inviting dancers to explore “those troublesome” parts of their bodies. Shot in Kenya, the film offers an unusual insight into east African culture and way of living, exposing everything from homosexuality, female circumcision, poverty and ultimately, creativity. Invitation to the Dance shows the artistic genesis of the dance piece “Counter Circles” in Nairobi where five disabled and non-disabled dancers – most of whom come from the slums of Nairobi – join two dancers of the permanent German ensemble. This documentary is a moving example of how dance can heal and dancers can contribute to social change. The film shows how art creates bridges between people with and without disabilities, between continents, races and cultures.

Winner: Dance On Camera Festival 2007, NY, USA | First Prize for Best Documentary Film: Emotions Film Festival, 2007, Greece | Contrasts Award: Assim Vivemos Film Festival, 2007, Brasil | Honourable Mention: Picture This … Film Festival 2007, Calgary, Canada | Recognition: Handikap Filmfestival 2006, Kolding, Denmark

Post screening “get together” provided the backdrop for all to continue the dialogue with filmmakers and guests, to engage in discussions with others and to share thoughts and excitement with friends.

Gerhard Schick at the Q&A session that followed the screening of Invitation to the Dance
Post-screening reception and meet and mingle with Karina Epperlein (director, Phoenix Dance) and Gerhard Schick (director, Invitation to the Dance)

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