DANCE MOVIES SPOTLIGHT! Exclusive Interview with Andrew Garrison for TRASH DANCE and SFF Hot List Dance Film Recommendations!
If you already have a ticket for Tuesday or Wednesday's screenings of the delightful Trash Dance, then I urge you to also consider First Position, If you are seeing Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance then give Wayne McGregor: Going Somewhere a try!
Now, the Wednesday showing of Trash Dance is at 1:30 PM, so this is a good time to mention our Matinee ticket pricing. All during the week, Monday through Friday, all screenings before 5:00 PM are $8, that's four bucks off the price of an evening or weekend ticket. Why it's, it's — MATINEE MADNESS! If you're looking for something to do before 5:00 PM during the week, then come on down and save mucho dinero, yo!
(And in case you didn't guess, just click on the film titles listed above to get tickets for any of these fine films!)
Trash Dance was the winner of the SXSW 2012 Special Jury Award! It also just won the Audience Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Take a look!
When choreographer Allison Orr proposes a performance with trash collectors in Austin, she's met with skepticism. Public employees have little time to waste. They aren't looking for a creative outlet. They don't need dance to save them. Besides, she is told, "Trucks don't dance." Trash Dance follows Orr as she rides out before sunrise with the sanitation workers and eventually earns their respect and trust. As people come forward, a company assembles, providing Orr the fuel she needs to create her work; sixteen trucks, twenty-four performers, live piano, cello and violin, and over 2,000 people vying for a seat in the audience.
THE INSIDER: Tell us how this documentary got started. Who conceived the idea for this amazing event you chronicled?
ANDREW GARRISON: The event was all Allison's. She works with nontraditional dancers. She's done projects with blind people and their dogs, Elvis impersonators, skaters, and firefighters. She has based her career on developing riveting, emotional, entertaining performances for very unorthodox sources. This was the most ambitious project she had attempted.
THE INSIDER: When and how did you get involved as a documentarian? What drew you to this?
ANDREW GARRISON: I read about Orr's earlier dance performances in the newspaper. I found a real resonance in what she was doing and the kind of documentaries I like to make. A lot of my work is about working people, small but powerful stories... and a number of them are about that force pushing us all to create and make things.
I also was ready to do some filming of people in motion. I felt like my shooting style had gotten a little cramped and I wanted to pick a challenge. So when an acquaintance asked what my next project was, I told him about Orr and how I wanted to meet her. He replied, "She's my wife, I can arrange that."
THE INSIDER: Did you face any obstacles getting the movie made?
ANDREW GARRISON: Funding. Isn't this on everyone's top five list? I had no problem starting up and it cost very little to get the film in the can. I have access to a camera and my own sound gear. But I needed some money to do everything I wanted for the performance (10 primary cameras) and a lot of help in post.
There were two big challenges in production. First, it was months before the "characters" emerged as solid cast members for Allison's performance. I was filming a lot of people and did not know who was going to actually collaborate on a performance.
The second challenge was the scope of the event itself. It was to be performed on a space wider than two football fields, no two rehearsals were ever exactly the same, I still did not know who would be the most compelling characters for the film, and we had constant rain.
THE INSIDER: What were some of your favorite moments from the shoot?
ANDREW GARRISON: There are so many. I loved getting to just ride out and hang with people as they worked. Just being there, accepted and a little invisible, or gently ignored, was great. People were generous with their time and their lives. I think the New Year's Eve shoot when I watched Ricardo Guerrero and other blowers, blowing confetti and then Sharon Hill picking up the street trash barrels sliding the cans across the street was when I understood the dance in the movement. Watching Don cook barbecue also meant I got to eat some pretty good barbecue. And the performance itself floored me with its power and emotion.
THE INSIDER: What do you hope audiences will take away from the experience of seeing Trash Dance?
ANDREW GARRISON: I'd like people to come away with a few ideas. One is the dignity of this group of people, their wit and good nature. The fact that they, and we all, are not only our jobs and at the same time that this work is important. Because of Orr's collaboration process, you can see that the "performers" are coming to this with their own creativity, skills and expertise. And I would like people to feel the power of that creative moment and recall that the have that same spark.
THE INSIDER: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about Trash Dance?
ANDREW GARRISON: One of the challenges is making a two dimensional, taped representation of a work that is by definition three-dimensional and a live event. A challenge in editing was to present the dance performance in selected segments while minimally shifting the time and order of movements and yet conveying a sense of the power and excitement. My solution was having so many cameras to keep the kinetic excitement, moving as your eye might though from places no one set of eyes could have been.
THE INSIDER: What's next for you?
ANDREW GARRISON: I will be focused on reaching out with Trash Dance for a while. My next project is probably a narrative, which I have not gotten to do since 2000. The story is set on the Texas-Mexico border and was written by my friend and colleague Stuart Kelban. And I teach a class with great student documentary work (www.EastAustinStories.org).
Wanted by motion picture executives for revealing industry secrets to a public with the Right to Know, "The Insider" has spent over 15 years working behind the scenes in almost every aspect of "The Biz" developing a secret network of contacts, spies, moles, and highly trained counter-intelligence operatives and movie ninjas whose only goal is to inform and entertain you-and help you make this the best year of the Sarasota Film Festival ever!