This year's Dance for the Camera Festival contains more humor than in the past, according to Ellen Bromberg, festival curator and modern-dance assistant professor.
"While the word 'humor' tends to lean toward the entertainment side of dance," Bromberg said, "the films we will be screening do contain more humor but are clever in a way that the integrity of the art form isn't compromised."
In fact, it was refreshing to see some little bits of lightness come through, said Bromberg, who is also the assistant dean of research for the University of Utah's College of Fine Arts. "I think artists can react to hard times two ways. They can dive into the dark or create antidotes to the darkness."
She said two films in this year's festival — Lloyd Newson's "Cost of Living" and Tracie Mitchell's "Whole Heart" — are especially humorous. "These are interesting because they both bring in elements of feature film into the work. 'Cost of Living' is quite provocative, however. Newson is the director of DVA Physical Theatre in the United Kingdom, and we couldn't show some of his films here. But this one is more mild than the rest, although it does have some adult material in it.
" 'Whole Heart' brings a smile to your face at the end, too. It's all a set-up and it's very enjoyable to watch. It's beautifully shot, and it's about a woman who wants to fly and must discard the things that are weighing her down. I'm interested to see reactions of the audiences here."
For six years, Bromberg has brought the International Dance for Camera Festival to the University of Utah. Each year she pores through dance films, choosing works that are interesting and groundbreaking.
A panel of jurists helps her choose student films that will be shown. "I usually choose two out-of-state judges and one locally based. We go through the films and pick those that catch our eyes."
This year's jurors are:
Amy Caron, former aerial ski jumper for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team and U. modern dance graduate/performer/choreographer, who works with the Utah Arts Festival.
Bridget Murnane, Pew Fellowship recipient and UCLA film school graduate, who specializes in dance media.
Douglas Rosenberg, former artist-in-residence at the Institute for Studies in the Arts, Bates Dance Festival and the International Festival of Video Dance in Argentina, and a longtime friend of Bromberg.
"This year we had 87 submissions in the student-film category," said Bromberg. "Films were submitted from the U.S., Finland, France, U.K., Germany, Canada, Holland and Argentina. We had films from different schools of each country. But the least amount of films were submitted by schools from the U.S."
One of the reasons, said Bromberg, is a lack of support for this type of art work. "We were able to choose only one film from the U.S. to be part of the festival. All the others are from Europe. And I think it's because there is more grant money and support in Europe for dance and film."
Still, Bromberg said this year's festival is going to be exciting. "We moved it to February because the fall schedules were so crazy, and we decided to hold the festival on two weekends this time so people would have more of a chance to see a screening."
If you go
What: Sixth Annual International Dance for the Camera Festival
Where: New Media Wing, Art & Architecture Building, 410 Campus Center Drive, University of Utah
When: Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; additional screenings March 3-4, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $7 each night