Interview with Filmmaker  Anabella Lenzu (OUT OF THE FOLDS OF WOMEN)

OUT OF THE FOLDS OF WOMEN was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the November 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Choreography for me is an “Apparatus of Capture”, it is a way to capture a moment in time, sensations… an intimacy that the stage can not provide me. It is another form of communication.
I look for different ways to capture the movement, the emotions.

Art is a political act.
Dance is discipline and revolt.
My body is my country.
I react to my environment and use the body as a receptacle and messenger of the multiple realities that we are immersed in.
My work reflects my experience as a Latina/European artist living in New York and comes from a deep examination of my motivations as a woman, mother, and immigrant.
Performance is a conduit for examining cultural identity through form and content, as well as relationships between people and society.
I investigate the interior logic of performance and the role of a dancer in our culture today, redefining the parameters of dance and theater.
My works live inside and outside of the theatrical traditions and venues, as well as on the screen.

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

It took almost two months. My husband, Todd Carroll is a professional photographer. He is usually the one who films and I direct him. We talk and discuss how much we want to show in the frame. Usually, I do several shoot “studies” with my phone first, and then Todd film’s it with a nicer camera.

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

Feminist & Relevant

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

Last year, in June 2020, I was supposed to premiere a full length show that I was working on for two years (commissioned by La Mama, NYC) for La Mama Moves Dance Festival and when the show was canceled, I said to myself “I’m not going to throw all of this out of the window.”

Two years of research and I thought “What am I going to do with the show…do I wait for this pandemic to be over?” So in the spur of the moment, I decided to make a dance film. I immediately had a talk with the photographer/ filmmaker Todd Carroll, and I said we’re going to make a dance film.

What the pandemic taught me is that we artists survive like cockroaches. No matter what happens, it is necessary for us to create and express ourselves and process life through art. If I don’t do that I would feel miserable and my body would feel crippled. I have to move and I have to choreograph in order to process reality. The pandemic taught us to be adaptive and because I have something that I want to share I find different mediums through which I can convey it. So I can write you an email or do a dance film, or I can perform live in the middle of the park. I don’t ask If, I ask How am I going to do it? I keep creating. Also, the pandemic gave me a little more time because I wasn’t traveling like crazy all over New York for work and family.

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

I feel supported and understood! Honored to share my film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

This pandemic changed all of us. Whatever creative process I knew about, I threw it out the window. So what is my creative process now in contrast to the past? For 30 years I have choreographed for the stage non-stop and right now, because of the pandemic, I started creating dance films in my home because it is a place where I feel safe, even though the space is limited. I live in a small apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I have 2 kids, a husband, a dog, and many belongings. It requires a lot of planning but at the same time I am very interested in exploring this environment that I live in, and I try to pour my personal and artistic life into this new creation. Since the pandemic, I have been studying filmmaking and video art at the School of Visual Arts, and I have also been doing a lot of research.

The pandemic forced us off the stage, and at this moment I can’t envision myself choreographing for the stage again! The stage isn’t the right fit for the ideas and images I’m working with now. The images are more cinematic in nature. In general, I’m a choreographer who uses strong images. Now I’m figuring out the length and how I frame these ideas. It also led me to frame the body in a different way. On stage I perform and show my entire body, but now I can just choreograph with my face or my shoulder or with my elbows, or just my hands. So it gives me more possibilities to reframe my body. I am also able to incorporate my private life into it. It’s not that my previous works were very different. At the beginning it was political, then it was more ritualistic, then more spectacular and the last couple of years I found my work to be more along the lines of an autobiography. More recently, I’ve been diving deeply into my identity as an immigrant and as a mother, so my creative process has changed drastically.

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

All the collection of Federico Fellini’s movies.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I am very impressed by the organization and the care that you at the Experimental Festival provide. For me as a creator receiving feedback and the impact of my film is essential. You are the only ones that provide a special video with feedback. I super value the care and support.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Amazing! It helps me organize my creative process by thinking about the deadlines of the Festivals. It is a window to discover new and great opportunities.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Argentinian Empanadas

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

In January and February 2022, I will be teaching two Choreography Workshops Online via Zoom:
a) Dance Composition/ Choreography Workshop
Focus: Form and Content
Saturdays, January, 8, 15 & 22, 2022
and
b) Choreography for the Camera Workshop
Saturdays, February 5, 12 & 19 , 2022
For Filmmakers, directors, choreographers, and dancers interested in dance film collaborations.https://www.anabellalenzu.com/workshops

By matthewtoffolo

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

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