Director Bio: Gabriel Diamond (THE SPACE BETWEEN US)

Gabriel Diamond is the staff filmmaker for the Skoll Foundation where he documents the work of visionaries and social entrepreneurs. His subjects have included Malala, Al Gore, Kofi Annan, Bono, Jimmy Carter, Annie Lennox and many more.
A short documentary/music video he co-directed and filmed in Oakland called “Rise” features a concept he birthed called a “Vulnerable Rally” and went viral with more than 1.2 million views and 9000 shares on Facebook.
https://vimeo.com/250967295
His documentary “We Are In The Field” follows the harrowing adventures of Manoj Gautam, a Nepalese animal rights activist. http://www.weareinthefield.com/
In 2010 he released “Less,” a feature narrative film about a man who chose to be homeless on the streets of San Francisco. It won Honorable Mention at Dances with films and is available widely online.
http://www.lessmovie.com/
He filmed and acted in Amber Sealey’s feature narrative “How To Cheat” which premiered at the LA Film Festival and won best acting ensemble and best narrative at Bend Film Festival.
https://www.ambersealey.com/how-to-cheat
Along with Ken Ikeda he co-founded the Youth Sounds Factory, a filmmaking lab for Bay Area youth. Works created under his mentorship won top prizes at dozens of national festivals including an Emmy.
Born and raised in Berkeley and Oakland, he attended New College of California, studied acting at Trinity Rep Conservatory, and was a founding member of Cutting Ball Theatre and has performed on numerous Bay Area stages.
In his work he strives to promote empathy, magic between strangers, and inspiring ideas. See outsidefilms.com for more.
When not making films you can often find him exploring various conscious dance modalities.

Director Statement
The idea for this film had been brewing in my mind for years.
The urge came from my own inquiry into how I wanted to show up for racial justice, as a white CIS man, and a filmmaker, and dancer. I wanted to find a way to create a space for all the messiness, minefields, fragility, anger, resentment, rage, trauma and fear to be expressed and witnessed in an intimate setting. We’re often encouraged to “have uncomfortable conversations” around race, but are rarely shown how those can actually be, and even more rarely given the opportunity to have those conversations.
In the midsts of the collective trauma and reckoning following George Flyd’s murder I knew there was a huge amount of pent up energy around a need for racial healing but a lot of fear of not getting it right.
I wanted to find out: what would it be like to have a Black and White dancer and take turns asking each other deeply personal vulnerable questions, bearing witness and then dancing their responses?
I wanted to be sure that the performers were going into the situation not only fully aware of these risks, but willing to name them openly. So it was crucial that there was a certain level of trust that they would have with me as the director, in the filmmaking and editing process, and between each other. While helping to create the films for the 2021 Virtual Skoll World Forum with the theme of “Closing The Distance” I pitched this idea and my colleagues at the Skoll Foundation and they gave me a green light to produce the film.
I had met Keith Hennesey over 20 years ago when he choreographed a piece I was acting in at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. We were Facebook friends and over the years and I’d admired the fierce and direct way he showed up for anti-racist work, particularly his distain for playing into White fragility. When I shared this idea with him he immediately cautioned me about how this was a highly charged experiment loaded with potential for harm, that the dancers would come into the situation with very different vulnerabilities, power dynamics, and risks. What each dancer would stand to gain from the experience was also very different. We talked through all sorts of potential pitfalls and and eventually he came to agree that despite it being full of potential for harm, the idea had promise, if we could find the right people.
I knew Sarah Crowell a bit from a weekly Soul Motion dance we were part of, led by Valerie Chafograck. Sarah was an activist, educator, community leader, and dancer. When I mentioned her name Keith was very enthusiastic, as they’d known each other for nearly 20 years, but only marginally. So there was a history, and mutual respect, but they’d never worked together or gotten to know each other deeply.
I reached out to Sarah with the idea. She’d recently seen my short film “Dance With Me” where I was blindfolded inviting strangers to dance and was moved by it and told me “Yeah, I’ll work with this guy.”
Sarah, Keith and I had a series of conversations about the process. They agreed to not know the questions ahead of time, and that I would whisper the question to one of them, so there could be an honest reaction spontaneously on camera, and no responses would be prepared.
Our DP was Mer al Dao, an incredibly dynamic and attuned dancer and cinematographer from Argentina. She’d filmed my other films Dance WIth Me and Rise: Vulnerable Rally and I knew she’d quickly gain the trust of Keith and Sarah with her grounded, quiet and soulful style. Our location sound recordist was Patrick Simms, and our production coordinator was Reba Hsu. Having a mostly BIPOC and female crew was a deliberate choice and was appreciated by our cast.
I was really nervous sharing the final film with Sarah and Keith, but they both loved it, and are excited to help share the story of how this kind of dialog and experience can be a tool for racial healing.

By experimentalfilmfestival

Festival occurs 3 times a month! Showcased the best of experimental short films and music videos from around the world.

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