6/29/2021 Artist Spotlight – Mark Freeman — Los Angeles Dance Shorts Film Festival

JUNE 29, 2021

Throughout the years we’ve met incredible people within the dance film community. We have decided to do an interview series to spotlight these individuals.  Mark Freeman is a Producer, Director, and Editor from Encinitas, CA. His film “Atena/Nets” was an official selection of our 2020 film fest.


How did you get into dance filmmaking?

I came to dance as a documentary filmmaker. My work attempts to combine the visceral emotions of performance with observational documentary techniques. In contrast to “creating and shaping” a performance, my approach is more intent on discovering and revealing, and less interested in interventions. It’s more about capturing than controlling. It’s about process as well as product.


How does architecture or location play a role in your films?

Site-specific dance for camera is an encompassing form that includes a wide range of dance and film practices and techniques. It is often thought of as an experimental form of expression, yet it derives from traditional aesthetics, making Aristotle’s classical conception of dance a fitting starting point: “Dance is rhythmic movement whose purpose is to represent character — what we do and how we suffer.” (Aristotle, Poetics)) Atena/Nets is set in Jamestown, a traditional fishing community in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Choreographers Julius Yaw Quansah and Sena Atsugah are enmeshed in the challenges of daily life. They cast a wide net, drawing from Ghanaian traditions and remaking their world.


Is there anything else that you would like us to share?

My screendance practice privileges the screen. My understanding is that cinema is a synthetic art, which draws freely from all forms of creative expression, yet is not bound by the history or conventions of the forms it samples, explores and reimagines. I am interested in creating work that only exists on the screen. The dance is performed for the camera and the result is work, which in no way attempts to represent a “live” performance. My intention is to use the tools and techniques — the “language of film” to deconstruct and reconstruct the performances; to discover meaning in the formal elements of the images captured. The choreographers and performers give me the gift of their bodies and movements. I rely on their movement and performance choices. And they in turn are willing to invest their trust and their work in my experience and perspective as a filmmaker.  Ultimately I agree with the view of Priscilla Guy who suggests that the “movement material” serves the final composition on screen, which is the actual choreography of the screendance.

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