“We have received over 400 entries from artists from six continents, making this the most eclectic program we have ever shown,” said Michel Bernier, Festival Executive Director. “We are very fortunate to have 10 films in our main screening, as well as four international films and three domestic films in the pipeline, as well as a virtual reality experience and two live shows.”
The Sans Souci Dance Film Festival has grown over the years, but the popular event has humble roots. The first event was held at Boulder’s Sans Souci Mobile Home Park, in the early 2000s, where attendees gathered to watch local dance movies projected onto a white wall in a trailer.
Now, it has evolved into a world-famous event with state and international sections and attracts filmmakers and choreographers outside of Colorado.
For season premiere dates, attendees will once again gather on the rooftop of the Boulder Museum’s patio to watch experimental and cutting-edge films under the stars.
“It’s fun to say it’s our 19th year because I think this season naturally has a lot of expectations,” said Bernier. “Of course that means we have many years under our belt and all that experience setting up an amazing show, but it also leaves a very lingering question in the air about how we’ll get bigger and better on the big 20th anniversary next year. It’s exciting.”
Claudia Anata Hobeck – executive director of the Boulder Ballet – contributed to the mix this year with the song “Before We Turned To Stone.” The film, part of the festival’s video art installation, will be shown on the second floor of the Boulder Museum (at Mason’s Nook).
“”Before we turn to stone It depicts the appearance of mental chatter and how tempting it can be to stay busy, avoid stillness and buy into our thoughts,” Hobeck said.
In the short four minutes, viewers see dancers Carly Hambridge and McKella Wallace, dressed in white, with undulating movements that tell the story of the inner chaos – a circular episode of continuous internal dialogue that often takes one from the present moment.
The film begins with Hambridge writing frantically on a sheet of framed glass, and by the end the writing extends to its edges – perhaps emblematic of the on-going to-do list that dominates the minds of many.
“A lot of my inspiration for choreography and filmmaking comes from my Buddhist upbringing,” Hubiak said. “I strive to use movement as the physical embodiment of an active and flexible mind. My goal as a dance maker is to incorporate conscious action into movement, to be completely in the moment to enhance the creative process and to produce dances and films that take a deep look at the true workings of the unrepentant mind and heart.”
For Hobiak, like many creatives, the festival also offers a chance to enjoy the work of her skilled peers.
“I look forward to seeing the wonderful dance lineup that Michel (Bernier) and her team have orchestrated this year,” said Hebeck. “The festival’s premiere at the Boulder Museum will be a great event.”
After the festival ends, Hubiak Boulder Ballet will help prepare for its 40th season.
“I am very excited to create a world premiere of Boulder Ballet which will be performed at our winter concert, ‘New Moves’ alongside an amazing lineup of all choreographers including Twyla Tharp, Caili Quan, Makino Hayashi and Viki Psihoyos,” Hubiak said.
While attendees of this weekend can admire the movements captured by the camera, they will also have the opportunity to experience the art form on a deeper level. “5 Stages of Drowning” is a virtual reality show from Ed Talavera, Konstantia Kontaxis, Dennis Scholl and Rosie Herrera.
“This movie is really unique,” said Bernier. “It offers a 360-degree perspective, where sometimes you’re literally surrounded by dancers and need to look in every way to get the full experience. It explores climate change, but in a fully artistic and immersive way. It’s a kind of ‘Café Müller’ by Pina Bausch that meets the DV8 Physical Theatre. Theater. The movement is lively but influential. So it’s avant-garde, but reliable.”
Five Stages of Drowning was conceived and designed on site in Little Haiti, Florida, east of Little Havana/Miami River and Virginia Key.
“The installations and virtual reality give people an intimate, up close and personal way to experience the work, so they feel surrounded and influenced by it,” Bernier said. “When wearing a VR headset, virtually surrounded by dancers, it’s hard not to feel like you’re one of them, and you’ll probably be tempted to swing, spin, and dance.”
To celebrate the important anniversary of next year, Bernier is already starting to make plans.
“One of the big steps we are going to take is to transform into a non-profit,” said Bernier, “which is a long-term goal and something that better reflects the mission we have always had – to grow the form and scope of dance films and spread the love for them in our local community.”
It wants to bring back the platform that would allow people to set up new businesses without worrying about funding pressures.
“We also hope to bring back our Community Dance Film project, where local dancers, musicians and filmmakers are not only empowered but also hired to produce new films – the festival helps produce,” said Bernier.
While the film festival remains a magnet for dancers and those associated with the art form, it also has global appeal – resonating with audiences of all kinds.
“Dance is the common language we all share,” Bernier said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to an audience member after a show and heard things like. ‘That person hit me’ or ‘I felt it’ or ‘It took my breath away.’ Watching the dance isn’t just an audiovisual experience, it’s a kinetic experience. We We actually experience it by feeling it, and it is a vital source of energy and inspiration for our lives.”
Friday through Sunday, starting at 6:30 p.m., attendees can walk the red carpet, enjoy T/aco wine and food, and watch movies on the roof of the Boulder Museum as the sun sets.
tickets Starting at $30.
From acts filmed among cliffs and crashing waves to those in bright, nude studios, local locations are as much of the charm as well-choreographed dance moves and costumes.
After the weekend premiere, people can look forward to screenings of more dance movies taking place in the coming months at the Dairy Arts Center, The Collective in Lafayette, and Arvada Center.
The third batch of Sans Souci Brazil – A week-long dance film festival, in Campinas, São Paulo – from November 21-27.
“Dance to the film is especially vital, because it gives us a more nuanced perspective,” Bernier said. “We can be close enough to see the dancer’s sweat or tears, which makes him feel intimate, and then so soon after that it’s a speck in the sand, reminding us of how small we really are.”