PAMM and Miami Light Project are gearing up for the sixth year of ScreenDance Miami. Awarded Best Festival in Miami New Times, ScreenDance Miami highlights choreographers and directors who are working with emerging and new concepts in regard to movement and dance on film and dance on camera.
The widely acclaimed festival has been created to support professionals in this field and to support the development of dance created for the camera. Moving into its sixth year, the festival will continue under direction by Pioneer Winter. With many skill-developing workshops, panel discussions, and screenings happening throughout Miami and Miami Beach, PAMM will host the festival’s Florida Focus and Open Call and Invited Selections: Third Horizon & Moving Body-Moving Image Film Festivals portions of the festival.
We sat down with Winter ahead of the event and discussed the festival’s original inspiration, festival tips, and more.
What was the original inspiration for ScreenDance Miami?
ScreenDance Miami was started by Mary Luft and Tigertail Productions. Tigertail was always at the forefront of performance and new media, and I feel it was a natural marriage between two mediums, dance and film, that both are so tied to motion and time. Dance for camera is not new, and we could say that it’s been around almost as long as filmmaking itself. But when ScreenDance Miami first started six years ago, it was the only professional screendance festival in Florida. Now that ScreenDance is presented by the Miami Light Project, the original inspiration remains: when dance is captured on film, it changes. It is no longer ephemeral and the filmmaker/director/choreographer now has the opportunity to manage the eye of the viewer. In dance, one typically never has total control over what the audience is seeing. While we may include films that are simply documentation of live events (a static camera), we mostly seek out films with a “dancing camera” and where the intention is to create something that could never be viewed in the same way if it were live.
ScreenDance Miami is in its sixth year. What do you consider some of its greatest successes?
In its sixth year, we are screening two feature length films, one on opening night at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse and the other at the New World Symphony Wallcast in SoundScape Park. Previously, ScreenDance Miami was short films only. 2018 was the first year we screened a feature length film, Bronx Gothic, featuring Okwui Okpokwasili, who is 2018 MacArthur Fellowship (genius grant) awardee. That year, films were also invited through two new partner festivals Moving Body-Moving Image directed by Gabri Christa out of Barnard College and Miami’s own Third Horizon Caribbean Film Festival co-founded by Jason Jeffers. I believe our success is our deliberateness. Our 2019 festival reflects our current social climate with a focus on women filmmakers and filmmakers who capture on screen the realities and bodies of people of color, like the noon and 2pm screenings on Saturday, January 19 at PAMM.
What do you hope PAMM’s audience takes away from the event?
Regardless of whether an audience member comes with an awareness of dance, film, or visual art, the merging of mediums and aesthetics is a big part of it. I hope the event also sparks an interest in PAMM’s audience to see more dance on film and to attend more live dance performances. Dance on film is a beautiful thing. What we sacrifice for the live component is balanced by the creation of an art work that can only exist on camera because of the control one has over speed, time, and space.
What does it mean to you to have ScreenDance Miami Festival back at PAMM?
We love working with PAMM! This is our fifth year partnering and this year some of the strongest films we’ve screened to-date will be part of our PAMM programming.
If you could give only one tip to avid ScreenDance Miami Festival followers for the week of fun, what would it be?
Approach each film as separate and distinct. These films were created for the camera and not meant to be viewed live. Be inspired to see more and create more. We have a ton of programming from Wednesday, January 16 to Saturday, January 19, so be sure to check out our ScreenDance Miami page and RSVP so you get to see all that you want.