Short Film: GOLDEN, 8min., USA, Dance


4a50377fbb posterGOLDEN, a wordless dance film, uncovers the independence, intellectual curiosity, and sexual vibrancy hidden within the domestic life of a woman, as portrayed by a solo dancer.
In dream-like sequences, she encounters the self she has been
and the self that she can become. From her musings emerges a passionate self-declaration, elucidated by repeated choreographic motifs, flashbacks and flashforwards, and the evolution of color and set decor. By extension, GOLDEN affirms a woman’s right to define herself- rather than be defined by others – as a thinking, feeling, and sexual being. At the same time, it also rejects the notion that aging women have an “expiration date” in terms of inherent value. In all, GOLDEN is a unique alchemy- from drudgery to sparkling beauty.

Project Links

Short Film: BAD FEELING, 4min., French Polynesia, Dance


09143a82b5 posterA couple of young Polynesian dancers share a dance in Paris, maybe for the last time …


  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Music Video, Short
  • Genres:
    Romance, Drama, Dance
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 13, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    4,500 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
    French Polynesia
  • Country of Filming:
    French Polynesia
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color

Director Biography – Sonja Wyss, Jorijn Vriesendorp (WHILE SHE WAITS)

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Sonja Wyss is a long-established artist, who works and lives in Amsterdam. She was born (1967) in the Bahamas and studied Fine Arts in Switzerland, Amsterdam and in the United States of America before completing her studies at the Master of Film at the Netherlands Film Academy in Amsterdam.

Her video installations and experimental films are shown internationally at renowned galleries, museums and film festivals. Her video film Grüezi wohl Frau Stirnimaa (Hello Miss Stirnimaa) was selected in for Quinzaine des Realisateurs in Cannes. Winterstilte (Winter Silence), Wyss’s experimental long feature film debut, won a golden calf, was selected for the prestigious Forum at the Berlin Film festival and has been screened worldwide at numerous international festivals. Greifensee was nominated for Best Short Film in the Golden Calf Competition at Netherlands Film Festival. Her work has been distinguished internationally by several grants and prizes.

In the diversity between installations and cinema, Wyss uses clear lines to connect her entire body of work. In her work she draws from memories, fantasies and associations. Her fascination lies in two main themes: fragile beauty and the loss of innocence. In the stories she tells there is often an underlying tension lurking just beneath the obvious narrative. She never explains situations, but depicts them beautifully all the more.

Short Film: WHILE SHE WAITS, 10min. Netherlands, Dance

D640c9c2af posterIn a subtle choreography a woman slowly disengages from a familiar and structured world, about to enter a world yet unknown to her. While She Waits shows the emotional transformation during the last months of her pregnancy in a poetic and melancholic way. What happens during the long waiting till the unknown reveals itself? And how do we align a child being born with ourselves being reborn as a mother?

Director Biography – Taylor Joshua Rankin (HALF LIGHT)

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Taylor Joshua Rankin (b. 1991) is a filmmaker and composer of new music where he draws on a variety of influences from American and European minimalism, art-rock and electronica, currently based in San Francisco and Oakland, CA.

Director Biography – Leonora Pitts (LIKE HOLY WINE)

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Leonora Pitts is an actress, filmmaker, dancer, and community organizer, born and raised in Grand Forks, ND. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received her BFA in Acting, studying with the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Upon her graduation, she received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Atlantic and NYU, and a year later, Atlantic hired Leonora onto their faculty.

As an actress and dancer, Leonora spent several years on the New York stage, including a lengthy run in the long-running off-Broadway hit, The Donkey Show. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has appeared on numerous television shows including “The Grinder,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” and “Rita Rocks” and recurs in the new Apple+ show, “For All Mankind.”

She continues to collaborate with the prolific Duplass Brothers, co-starring in their films The Freebie and Manson Family Vacation, and guest-starring on two of their HBO series, “Togetherness” and “Room 104.”

Leonora’s three short films have collectively screened at over forty festivals worldwide, including the Aspen Shortsfest, Outfest, Mill Valley, Citizen Jane, Heartland, Bentonville, and Indie Memphis. Her most recent short, “The Matchmaker” won Best of the Fest at the prestigious Dam Short Film Festival.

She is the co-founder and leader of the 1500-women strong Los Angeles Women’s Film Collective and the 3700-women strong Atwater Village Moms’ Group, and is proud to serve as one of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s City Commissioners.

Director Statement

This film grew out of a conversation I had with my friend and mentor, Jay Duplass, who told me to make something where I “fall apart, but dance in it.” I thought about the times I’ve fallen apart, and how it didn’t look like what we see on film – we see the big dramatic breakup or the aftermath when people pick their lives up (or don’t), but we never see the actual moments after the words have been spoken, when we feel frozen, like we don’t know physically what to do with our body.

Dance has always been how I move through every big and small moment of my life, and when I wrote this, I knew I needed to surround myself with creatives who spoke our shared dance language. My producer, my choreographer, and my DP are all my dance teachers at Ryan Heffington’s The Sweat Spot, and it was a healing and joyous collaboration from day one. Melissa Schade’s choreography tells the full story of a relationship and the patterns we find ourselves unable to break, even when the love feels strong and ancient. We were gifted a perfect song by Zach Shields and an essential and soulful performance from Matthew Del Negro. Although we recognize the difficulty in programming a piece like this, we put our whole hearts on screen, each of us bringing our own stories of heartache and healing, and we are grateful to you for taking the time to watch it.

Director Biography – Samantha Shay (KATIE GATELY: WALTZ)

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Samantha Shay is a director of theatre and film, performer, producer, and teacher. She creates multi sensorial poetic landscapes, reminiscent of a living dream. Her work is at it’s best, a collaboration between the body and its senses, performing on the body like a welcomed hallucination.   She is the founder of internationally recognised artist collective Source Material, and frequently collaborates with musicians to make films, including K Á R Y Y N, Katie Gately, JFDR, and Sóley. 2016 marked an initiatory time in her career when she premiered of Light, which garnered the attention of artists such as Marina Abramovic, who mentored Shay through the process, and Björk, who listed her as one of her artistic inspirations in The Guardian after attending the premier. She then headed to Poland to premier A Thousand Tongues in the world renowned Theatre Olympics as part of the European Capital of Culture 2016, a co-production with the Grotowski Institute. Most recently, her work has been performed at RedCat, HERE, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival, and she is currently making her first short film in collaboration with Dancer/Choreographer, Danielle Agami. Samantha holds a BFA in Acting from CalArts.

Director Statement

“It is strangely common that somehow I end up at the helm of a project surrounding something deeply personal to an artist. Often I’m part of the moment in which a wall collapses, and, if we (artists & audience) are lucky, powerful work is created, and in my personal hope, there is a kind of personal integration the artist experiences in making the offering.

Waltz was a quick timeline – Katie asked me to do the video right around Thanksgiving, and before Christmas we had shot the video. There was something about how personal it was, and yet so fast, that made me realise its possible to make something deeply personal and cathartic without a big struggle. When the collaborators meet with reverence, mutual respect, and ferocious devotion, there is a kind of emotionally agility that makes traveling anywhere possible.

When I work with a musician, there is a wide spectrum to feelings about being filmed or photographed, and Katie expressed that she didn’t feel comfortable on camera. The day of the shoot I asked Katie if she wanted to be challenged as a performer or not, and she practically demanded it of me. What resulted was absolutely magnetic. She willfully and bravely let her walls collapse in front of us, and this video, to me, is a powerful portrait of her.

Working with Bobbi Jene Smith was also something I learned a lot from. We have a shared language from our work in the dance world, so it was easy to improvise and create material quickly. I recognised how she embodied something Katie expressed in her music. If I experience Katie’s composition as this kind of unhinged variation on overwhelm, Bobbi creates that physically. If Katie’s composition feels like loss, locked into a certain kind of phrase, or a pace that illustrates heartache, Bobbi takes that and runs with it in how she relates to physical gravity. All of the choreography was improvised based on me challenging the two of them with imagistic language and prompts. Bobbi became Katie’s keener, mourning and grieving what Katie carried around, and the dynamic tension between Bobbi’s motion and Katie’s stillness is the duet. At one point during the shoot I said to Bobbi “Think of something you want to give to Katie, and Katie, do your best to receive it fully”, I could feel the air in the room seize a bit, because I started to feel what this video was about, and perhaps, why we make art in the first place.

It also goes without saying, that this album is about Katie’s mother, and Bobbi gave birth two months ago. There was a bit of witchcraft in this one. Katie said the song is about trauma and disassociation, and I think somehow, making this video was the next part of that – re-associating to the body, being seen, and catharsis as an act of resilience. Some kind of birthing.

Short Film: KATIE GATELY: WALTZ, 5min., USA, Dance

1f7cf65410 posterWaltz is one part music video, and one part dance film, described as a “Neo-gothic mini film” by Fact Magazine, and a powerful portrait of composer, Katie Gately, also starring acclaimed dancer Bobbi Jene Smith, directed by Samantha Shay. ‘Waltz’ emerges off Gately’s forthcoming album Loom, in dedication to Katie’s mother who passed away from an aggressive form of cancer. The song ‘Waltz’ itself came about after spending an entire day listening to Gately’s mother’s favourite artist, Leonard Cohen’s track “Take this Waltz” on repeat. This short film is a feverish duet, rotating around death, shot in an abandoned convent in Brooklyn NY, where Gately grew up. This film is for anyone who has wanted to spin into a circle until the ceiling became the floor.

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