Women film editor/choreographers at NY’s Donnell Library

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The New York Public Library’s Donnell Media Center presents four women film editor/choreographers in a special panel, “From Cutting a Rug to the Cutting Room,” as part of the 35th Annual Dance on Camera Festival, organized by Dance Films Association. Visual storytelling, the craft of editing and its basis of continuity, montage and other editing traditions are as applicable to commercial TV as they are to dance films, whether creators are telling stories, creating poetic reverence, or giving an audience a physical experience.

Hollywood blockbusters, popular TV shows and experimental dance films are all in the repertoire of panelists are Maryann Brandon (Mission Impossible III), Monica Gillette (Sopranos, Law& Order, Progressive Coma), Robbie Shaw (Bittersweet) and Karen Pearlman (Thursday’s Fictions), who will discuss how their movement training and sensibilities affect their sense of rhythm, character development and storytelling when cutting a film. First Run Features ’ Kelly Hargraves moderates.

Monica Gillette grew up training to be a ballet dancer. She was on scholarship with Stanley Holden Dance Studio and spent several years studying and performing with the Joffrey Ballet. But as Monica grew unsatisfied with ballet as a career, she decided to explore film and quickly fell in love with film and video editing. She rose rapidly through the professional ranks as an assistant editor and then editor and worked on “The Sopranos,” NBC’s “Profiler,” and Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order” and “Crime & Punishment.” Four years ago, Monica rediscovered her passion for movement through modern dance and left the commercial world to once again dance full-time. She’s toured the U.S., Germany and Japan, and has worked with choreographers Joe Goode, Yvonne Rainer, John Malashock, Helios Dance Theater, and most recently with Patrick Corbin, Noemie Lafrance, and the rock band Fischerspooner. Monica now merges her two passions through dance films, which have screened at Dance Camera West, and she just completed a collaboration with Johannes Wieland which combined her filmmaking skills with live performance.

Karen Pearlman is a freelance film editor who has edited many award-winning shorts including Glass Box (Best Doc at Melbourne Film Festival), Unit 52 (Un Certain Regard, Cannes), and No Surrender (Best Experimental Film, ATOM Awards). She won the ‘Best Editing’ Award from the Fearless Film Festival screening of Interchange. She recently completed cutting Thursday’s Fictions, the latest Physical TV Project, which will screen at the Dance on Camera Festival. Karen holds a BFA in dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. After an illustrious career as a dancer, she took on intensive professional re-training as an editor and filmmaker. Karen now holds an MA in editing from the Australian Film, Television and radio School and an MA in Media Arts and Production from University of Technology, Sydney, and she recently completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at UTS with a thesis called Cutting Rhythms, Ideas about the shaping of rhythm in film editing. She uses her cross form background to articulate her ideas about editing as a form of choreography; and is continuing her cross form practice by editing not only films, but scripts, books and dances.

Roberta Shaw is a dancer, choreographer and filmmaker dedicated to exploring intersections between dance, film and new media. Her professional work has included working as a commercial video editor, filmmaking, dance documentation, dance performance, and instruction of modern dance and new media, including a teaching position in the Dept. of Dance at Ohio State University, between 1999 and 2003 and currently at Pasadena City College. Roberta has created numerous works for the stage and screen of her own, and has also collaborated with many choreographers including David Rousseve, Maria Gillespie, Bebe Miller, Victoria Uris, Sara Wookey and others. Today Roberta lives and works as a video editor and dance instructor in Los Angeles.

“An Evening of Dance on Camera,” is a special program held in conjunction with The 35th Annual Dance on Camera Festival. Founded in 1971 by Dance Films Association (DFA), an organization established in 1956 to encourage fruitful collaborations between dancers and filmmakers, this is the oldest dance film and video festival in the world. The Dance on Camera Festival opens January 3rd at the Walter Reade Theatre and continues at venues throughout New York City. The “Cutting a Rug” panel is on January 9.

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