Joy in the Time of Covid        Carol Brown, Director’s Blog

April 2021

Canberra Dance Theatre recommends Katrina Rank as a possible partner for my proposed film project Joy in the Time of Covid.

Speak to Katrina on zoom.  She’s tops!  And up for it! Couldn’t have found a better partner. Thank you, Jacqui at Canberra Dance Theatre.

June 2021

Write second draft of application to Wales Arts International and submit.  Fingers crossed.

August 2021

Funding confirmed.  Yippee!    Katrina pleased.  Fine Lines Dance Company, Melbourne and Tystion Dance Theatre Company Wales will write their emotions and experiences of engaging with art during lockdown, send to each other and we use this material and plan from there.

September 2021

Meet with team, discuss and adopt format for our film.  Find I can’t storyboard arghhh!  But draw up a kind of timeline for the film.  Art is not my talent.

Discuss and firm up ideas through the rest of the autumn with the team.

October/November 2021

Look for a location for our first bit of filming which needs to be in a café. 

Look for which Tyston dancers would best fit with this scene.

One of them suggests Caffi Lolfa in Burry Port which means a looong drive, almost 2 hours for me but looks perfect.

December 2021

Our first filming!  The Caffi Lolfa owner is lovely and plies us with coffees as we work.  I was nervous as this is a new art form for me, but it all seemed to go really easily.  Looking at the rushes I realised how much I have to learn!  Enough was usable though, a relief as I don’t want to have to travel all the way to Burry Port to do another shoot.

January – March 2022

Katrina sends a draft of her film.  Carol (me) has a crisis of confidence!  Katrina’s film is pure dance and has lots of beauty while our film is more dance theatre, less artistic.  Plough on though as different perspectives probably interesting for viewers. 

Suggest to Katrina that it would be interesting to have a short film made of clips from both.  We would end up with the Welsh and the Australian films and one hybrid.  Really hope that is possible.

Also realise how different our dancers are.  Tystion is 40 years up and although we have dancers in their 50s/60s/70s Fine Line dancers are generally more senior.  Also at least half of the Tystion dancers are from working class backgrounds in a steel town and Fine Lines seem more “refined/cultured”?  

3 months of scheduling and cancelling and re-scheduling and cancelling again ….and so on….and on.

3 of our team of 4 gone down with Covid, including me, over the filming period.  Lots of dancers too, and sometimes they were clear, but their children/grandchildren tested positive, so they had to drop out of planned shoots. 

Katrina has put me in touch with a dance film festival at DanceEast.  Be great if our films could be shown.  Also, this concentrates us on finishing the editing as the deadline is mid- April to submit films.

March end 2022

All the filming in the can.  Phew.  Had 16 dancers lined up for the final sequence but only 8 were able to make it.  Still pleased with what we created.

The final sequence is about the easing of all restrictions and that has kind of happened in the very month we filmed it.  Really hope that’s it, or we’ll have to grab the thrown masks back from the sky and start again!

Lots of telling off from our editor as I’m learning how to film as I go along and have made quite a few mistakes.  Also, our cinematographer is a dance tutor and using his i-phone.  So, he’s learning as he goes along too.  Well feature films have been created on i-phones and the quality looks good.

April 2022

Off to Malta to add the sound to the edited film.  Our editor, although Welsh, now lives there. 

Our airline, Easyjet, have been cancelling flights! Oh No!  fingers crossed…again.

It’s been difficult not to be able to use any recorded music because of copyright.  Found some tracks I really want to use on a copyright free site but waiting for their response as to what it’s going to cost us to use them and whether there’s a time restriction on their use.  Doesn’t look like a month’s free trial is literally that.

April end 2022 

Fine tuning the film with the team for sending to the Host Festival.  

Received the Fine Lines film and viewed both on a 42” tv screen. 

They are SO different.  Fine Lines film is so aesthetically beautiful and has refined the subject matter to a few key ideas.  It is also evident that Katrina is experienced in creating dance for film. Creative, stunning visual moments. 

Our film is “louder” much more literal and follows a narrative line.  

Ours a novel, theirs a poem 

I think the 2 films also reflect the geography and demographic of where and with who they were made. 

Fine Lines from the artistic capital of Australia and Tystion from a working-class steel town in Wales. 

Hopefully it will be interesting for viewers to see such different approaches. 

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