Seasoned, directed by AnA collaborations, is the third film to be featured as part of our SV Showcase this month. This is one of the three films to be awarded the StandardVision Showcase Award for Artistic Achievement at the Los Angeles Dance Film Festival.
AnA Collaborations is a dance collective dedicated to providing a broader arts education by cultivating a deeper understanding of dance as a comprehensive language – a 3-dimensional, visceral, intellectual, and emotional form of communication. We sat down with the directors to get some further insight into the making of this multi-faceted film.
What is Seasoned about, and how was the story conceived?
Seasoned is a journey told through intimate moments. As one woman navigates shifting relationships and landscapes, she feels the effects of the history she creates and carries with her. The film was born during a conversation in a coffee shop and landed in a pool, underwater. What started as a desire to push the boundaries of both film and dance turned into a two-year endeavor that took us through leaves, snow, mud, and water. We wanted to create a film that told a narrative through the language of movement and a dance that could leap across time and landscapes. It tells a story of love and heartbreak, and every collaborator that touched the project offered their unique and vulnerable perspective. More than anything, Seasoned is a testament to our artistic vision and personal histories.
What are the challenges and benefits of filming dance underwater?
Blake Horn, co-director and DP of Seasoned, actually got his SCUBA certification in preparation for shooting the underwater section! Having dance underwater allowed us to create a whole other sense of time and space. The movement qualities, textures, and rhythms that occur naturally in water are so different from what is possible in the air, and that enhanced the aspects of love we were working with in the narrative; cyclical experiences, simultaneous lightness and heaviness, trust, and vulnerability. Of course, not being able to breath was a huge challenge for the dancers, making editing challenging as well since takes were mostly very short. We rehearsed for about a month in public pools, to prepare for what the day would feel like, but realized our stamina dropped significantly when we added wet clothing to the mix on the day of the shoot. Communication on-set that day was hilarious; getting information from Blake to the dancers and back was a lot of blurry, gesturing hands and hoping for the best. It wasn’t practical to playback any of the footage during shooting since the camera had to be fully blowdried before its underwater casing could be removed, so we really had to trust our instincts to know when we got the shot.
Seasoned really had three directors, but you mentioned collaborating further with the composer and dancers. How much influence did they have on the film?
Most of the film was imagined and pre-determined between our three directors well before we began choreographing or went into production. The narrative is specifically one person’s story, but the ideas present are universal. We had in-depth conversations with all of our collaborators about the personal narrative driving the film, the feelings that come up from that particular story, and how we all relate to those feelings. Everyone involved reflected on their own experiences and let these inform their approach during the creation process. Fall was largely improvised, so our collaborator Jon Ole Olstad’s influence in movement quality was a major contribution. Cameron McKinney and Nicholas Korkos both used their own personal histories to tap into the feelings portrayed in each of their sections, as well as to generate base material from prompts we gave to them during the first rehearsals. We then altered and molded this movement material into what became the set choreography.
What “season” was most fun to dance/film?
Spring was a massively exhausting challenge–mud is a lot harder to move in that one might think!–but getting filthy and literally saving ourselves and the camera from sinking too far was pretty thrilling. Still, Summer was such a new and exciting adventure, that this one wins the prize. Also, the live duet that accompanies Summer is extremely moving for both of us, and for Alex, performing it is one of the most intimate and touching experiences she has had during her dance career.
What future collaborations from AnA can we look forward to?
We’ll be releasing a new music video for singer, Raycee Jones this summer, as well as creating a new site-specific piece with saxophonist Johnny Butler as part of the INSITU festival this August 4 & 5th in Queens, NYC.
You can catch more of AnA Collaborations’ work here as well as part of their film on the SVLA1 screen in Downtown LA every through May 6.