MARMO was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the September 2018 Experimental FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Nancy Allison: Location! Location! Location!
I was traveling in Versiglia, Italy when friends there took me to visit several amazing marble quarries. The rugged beauty of the massive exposed rock face captured my imagination and invaded my dreams. Learning from contemporary sculptors in the area who flock to the region from all over the world, that they were following in the footsteps of Michelangelo, who often came to this outpost of the Medici empire to choose his marble, added another layer of creative inspiration. I was already familiar with Michelangelo’s writing and had often used the quote that appears at the end of the film with my choreography students at New York University where I was teaching at that time.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
It was more than 20 years between when I first saw the marble quarries and when we completed the film, but it was only two years from when I actually started gathering my collaborators, received the support from Fondazione Arkad for the project etc. to when we completed the film.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle was finding the right editor. Like many films, we had to change editors in mid-project. We were so fortunate to find Laura Cappellesso who had the perfect aesthetic for this project.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was delighted that people perceived so many of the choices that we made, such as; the use of the location, the sensuous nature of the dance, the framing of the images, the change from b&w to color etc. and I was fascinated to hear the philosophical ideas that some viewers felt emanated from the work, as well.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
I think I pretty much answered this in question #1. I will just add that I was a dancer and a choreographer before I became a filmmaker. So far, all my films have been dance-based and location driven.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
To be honest, the film I’ve probably watched more than any other is The Wizard of Oz, just because I watched it so many times as a child.There is an important change from b&w to color in that film, too. I hadn’t even realized that until just now!
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
I think it is great. It’s definitely the most user-friendly platform I’ve found.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Ok, so, not counting the songs in The Wizard of Oz, I’d say, it’s probably Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I have two new projects in the works; one is a new site-specific dance piece commissioned by the South Caucasus Contemporary Dance & Experimental Art Festival of Tbilisi, Georgia for spring of 2019 and the other is a New York-based dance film dealing with the realities and fantasies of learning ballroom dance. Hopefully, it won’t take me twenty years to make that one!