For Wojtek Mochniej, co-founder of W&M Physical Theatre, it was a chance experience in 1992 that opened his eyes to the power of cinema could capture something unique about dance.
The details revealed on film were those that audience members would never be able to see—from the intricate motions of the dancer, to the cinematography capturing light and colour in a way that no human eye would, to locations where performances could never be held for the general public.
“With technology you can start work with the media on the way of filtering, adding the colours, searching for locations, taking dancers to the caves and lakes and mountains. So it’s giving you completely different tools to present them in different environment than only a black box,” he said.
“It’s definitely related [to dance], but it’s a completely different experience.”
Mochniej is bringing that beauty he fell in love with to the Globe Cinema this September for the WildDog International Screen Dance Festival.
“What we tried to do with the WildDog festival is to bring a global take on the culture, and point of view how people are viewing the body and how they’re putting this in the cultural and political context,” he said.
“Each edition of the festival is bringing larger appreciation or understanding of the human body.”
Film festival captures the world of dance
The film festival runs for two days, Sept. 15 and 16, featuring four different in-person programs of approximately 75 minutes each which feature short films from over 20 countries including Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Czechia, Cyprus, Mozambique, Estonia, Norway, the U.S., and China.
He said that the beauty of the artists’ work for the submissions this year made it hard to choose which films to include, and for the judges which films to award.
The festival, said Mochniej, had over 140 submissions. Of the films being shown, 33 were selected to be judged for awards.
The judging panel for this year includes Helena Jonsdottir from Iceland, Alliah Fafin from Canada, and Aleksandra Machnik from Poland.
“We’ve been bending our spines to show each program, and have some kind of balance but be equally demanding,” he said.
Mochniej said that as a film festival, they were trying to bridge the gap between traditional narrative films and more abstract films.
“We’re trying to find a bridge, and actually a new term for physical cinema or physical film, when it’s actually dancers are acting, talking, dancing and have their narrative stories,” he said.
“Generally speaking the work is evolving. Not only capturing frames, but actually creating stories using the movement as a main thing.”
The film festival opens on Sept. 15. For more details, see wilddogs.ca/2023-festival.