Interview with Dancer/Filmmaker Mackenzie Carlson (TEETER)

TEETER was the winner of BEST DANCE FILM at the June 2021 Dance Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Teeter was a creation born from necessity. I, along with other live performance artists, have been brought to a standstill throughout covid, unable to do what we have spent our lives working and training to do. This process allowed me the opportunity to connect with artists that were also unable to dance in front of an audience but still longed to move a room. As well, the concept for this film had been with me for quite some time and spoke louder and louder as the covid pandemic became more real and challenging. The underlying message is of contrasting human relationships, the dependence on our support systems and the ability and or willingness to survive and even thrive.

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

From idea to finished product this project took 4 months to make. I had many ideas before we stepped into the studio however once we started our rehearsals, Sarah and Aiden (dancers/actors) were part of a discovery process which helped the creativity of the project grow to new levels. We planned much of the choreography with the filming in mind and rehearsed accordingly. Because we only had a few hours for actual shoot day ( again covid challenges) we had to make sure that we were very prepared with many things but the 2 most important being; performance/technical choreography and dancers ready and an excellent videographer.

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

Codependent Reality

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

The biggest obstacle in completing TEETER was finding open locations to rehearse/create during covid closures.

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

I was taken back by all of the beautiful things said about the film. I, being a first time filmmaker, was shocked by the power that I held as a storyteller and was overwhelmed that I was able to translate meaning into a film. And then on top of that, to have people interpret it almost perfectly as I meant it was extremely positive. I believe that dance is such a beautiful artform and I am very proud to have been able to share this film using dance as the main form of communication with the people who have viewed it thus far.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I have been a professional dancer and a choreographer for over 12 years but ever since I can remember I have always seen and imagined dance on film. When I choreograph, create and move for the stage, I also always envisage it for film. The shut downs created by Covid have pushed me to become even more creative and tap into different ways of performing and presenting. Although I always believed that I was meant to create dance on film messages and projects, now just became the time to take the first leap and start my journey.

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

Little Miss Sunshine, this has to be my favourite movie. The characters, the comedy, the emotion; I think it was the first sarcastic dark comedy I watched growing up and immediately fell in love with it. I love how honest it is about the human experience and the space it gave for the audience to see themselves in each of the characters.

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

As I am just beginning this journey into filmmaking, I found FilmFreeway an extremely helpful and intuitive tool.

9. What is your favorite meal?

A costco rotisserie chicken ripped apart and dipped like chips in hummus, eaten when I’m way too hungry over the kitchen sink.

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

I am currently writing a new dance film that will incorporate more dancers and more location based movement. I won’t say too much other than …window, puppet, Willie. Stay tuned.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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