Interview with Filmmaker Marta Renzi (TUMULT)

TUMULT played to rave reviews at the November 2020 Experimental Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

I have a long-standing relationship with the Rhode Island College Dance Company – this is my 4th dance film collaboration commissioned by RIC over the past decade. When talking with the RIC Producer, Angelica Vessella, I asked her to hep me find a space where we could shoot from above, as in the first scene. At the onset, it wasn’t thematic at all, just a chance in our low-budget production, to include a very high angle. Angelica asked a former student for permission to use a historic Catholic high-school auditorium where he taught, and the costumes and general theme developed from there.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

About 3 months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Innocence and experience.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

No lighting budget.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

How hard it is to talk about dance. How touching it was that the young man in glasses shared his reaction quite honestly – telling a lot about his own memories of high school arts in the process – even though he knew it was probably not the intention behind TUMULT.

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

A vague itch to work from a high angle led to the auditorium, which led to the costumes, which led to the idea. A similar serendipity – the director the company wanted me to incorporate as many dancers as possible, even in a smaller role – led to the notion of a second group which acted in a more heedless, less intimate way.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I keep going back to The Bicycle Thief.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Works for me. Better than WithoutaBox (remember WAB?) which I guess has since failed.

9. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m editing not one but two Nutcrackers right now, one shot in my home town of Nyack, New York, and one in Newport Rhode Island. Since TUMULT, I also made another project with Rhode Island College Dance Company directed and edited remotely with 15 students sending in footage they’d created in their natural habitats, including their families, friends and pets.

A Different Day


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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