New Videodance Shorts (Ep 2): That’s What It’s All About

When the organization behind my favorite walking bridge, Walkway Over the Hudson announced that they were holding an event to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the World’s Longest Line of Dancers, I had to go. I have a secret dream of getting dancers to circle the globe and all move in synchronicity. Dancing with 3000 people on a 1.25 mile bridge that spans the Hudson between Poughkeepsie and Highland, NY was probably my best shot to see that dream fulfilled. (Fun Fact: The Walkway also holds the record for being the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.)

I went by myself with two cameras, determined to both dance and record the event from multiple angles. I am very grateful to my cohorts in line who were very sweet and didn’t mind mind having a camera pointed at them.

Here is what it was all about…

PS: Subscribe to our video podcast in iTunes! Go here, or search for Straight to the Helicopter in the iTunes Store.

‘What Comes Between Fear and Sex’ Premieres at NewFilmmakers June 27th

We are excited for the official New York premiere of our latest short film, “What Comes Between Fear and Sex” at NewFilmmakers on Wednesday June 27th at 8pm.

Accompanied by four other shorts that look at modern romance and troubled youth, “What Comes Between Fear and Sex” (14 min, 2011) chronicles the emotional turbulence of a teenage couple who leave the prom and enter a wilderness of confusion from which they may never return. The film was directed and choreographed by Anna Brady Nuse, scored and co-written by J Why, starring Donna Costello and Matt Sweeney as well as the voice of Minnie Dee.

NewFilmmakers screens at Anthology Film Archives on the Lower
East Side at 32 Second Avenue & 2nd Street.

Admission is $6 for the whole evening.
Go to NewFilmmakers.com to view the entire line-up.

Fünf ‘n’ Twist Screening Party

Sunday October 30th, 4pm

BEAHIVE
291 Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

My short dance film, Fünf ‘n’ Twist is complete, and now I’d like to share it with all of you: my friends, cast, and crew who helped me create it. Along with Fünf, the event will feature other shorts by Kerrie Welsh (Fünf DP), and Caroline Koebel.

In Fünf ‘n’ Twist, a boy and girl leave the prom and enter a wilderness of confusion from which they may never return. Featuring original music by J Why, and starring Donna Costello and Matt Sweeney. (TRT 14min)

Refreshments and Halloween treats will be served.

Kids are welcome.
(Nothing in the program is offensive or violent however there are references to the existence of sex.)

$5 suggested donation

BEAHIVE is a 20 min walk or a 5 min drive from the Beacon MetroNorth Train Station. (Directions) (Train schedule)

Hope to see you there!

Fünf is Fini

Here is a trailer for my latest videodance, Fünf ‘n’ Twist.

In this dialogue-less triptych, a boy and girl leave the prom and enter a wilderness of confusion from which they may never return. (Total running time is 14 min)

Now entering the film festival circuit, please check back here for announcements of upcoming screenings and events for Fünf ‘n’ Twist!

Directed by ANNA BRADY NUSE
Written by ANNA BRADY NUSE & J WHY
Starring: DONNA COSTELLO & MATT SWEENEY
Original Music by J WHY

Post-Production Underway for Fünf ‘n’ Twist Trilogy

After a year and a half in which I had a baby, moved out of NYC (to the lovely city of Beacon), and produced a couple seasons of videodance events for Pentacle’s Movement Media Project, I’ve finally carved out some time to finish my trilogy of post-modern American adolesence, Fünf ‘n’ Twist. My goal is to put it in the “can” by June 21st, 2011 (Summer Solstice), and I’m happy to report that major progress has been happening! I’ve finished a rough cut of Part 2–an apocalyptic scene of the jaded and strung out prom couple in the future that provides a nice “twist” after the camp of the Prom scene in Part 1. I’ve trimmed down the prom sequence of Part 1 to its pithy essence, and J Why, my wonderful composer is getting ready to record the music for Parts 1 and 2 next month.

Funny enough, Part 3 in the park, which was the first sequence we shot (on no budget) way back in summer of 2007, seems to be holding up to the test of time and we’re not touching it for now. At the end, everything will need to be color corrected and mastered so it sits well together.

Here are a few tasty stills from Part 2:

 

Sitting at the Table with belt (Fünf 'n' Twist, pt 2)

 

Alleyway chase (Fünf ‘n’ Twist, Pt. 2)
The Interrogation (Fünf ‘n’ Twist, Pt. 2)
Boy belt mouth (Fünf ‘n’ Twist, Pt. 2)

Credits: Anna Brady Nuse, director; Kerrie Welsh, cinematography; Cast: Donna Costello (girl), Matt Sweeney (boy).

Shot in the basement of my former apt building in Inwood, Manhattan (thank you neighbors!).

Raising Friends and Funds for Fünf ‘n’ Twist

Thanks to all who came out last weekend to our fundraising party for our new dance film, Fünf ‘n’ Twist in conjunction with Sasha Welsh for her new intermedia performance piece Trace Decay. We had a good turn out of friends and supporters who raised a cup to our art-making and helped spur us on!

Here are some photos from the party.

Anna thanks guests at fundraising party

Anna thanks guests at fundraising party (Sasha Welsh to the left)

A Toast to Fünf n Twist and Trace Decay!

A Toast to Fünf 'n' Twist and Trace Decay!

J Why, composer of Fünf n Twist

J Why, composer of Fünf 'n' Twist

Cindy and Matt (lead boy character in Fünf n Twist)

Cindy and Matt (lead male character in Fünf 'n' Twist)

I screened two completed sections of Fünf ‘n’ Twist, and had the pleasure of introducing my leading man, Matt Sweeney, who braved bad trains and a bad cold to come down and celebrate. It was his first time seeing the footage on a big screen in front of people, and he still blushes when he watches the “tree-humping” scene. Most people would call it the “deflowering scene”, but for Matt it is memorable as one of the weirdest things he’s ever had to do for a choreographer/director. A typical direction from me (without a trace of irony in my voice): “Ok Matt, go climb that tree and hump the branch when I say action!”

Matt humping tree (or deflowering scene)

Matt humping tree (or deflowering scene) with Donna Costello from Fünf 'n' Twist

I also unveiled a new interactive performance piece at the party, “Purification Ritual for a Shamed Politician.” We used it as part of a raffle in which ticket buyers were able to nominate dirty politicians or other nefarious public figures for spiritual cleansing. We had two separate drawings and each winner was asked Madlib-type questions, which turned into the text for the purification ritual. One of my oldest friends, Carly Gladstone-Strobel, a wonderfully talented actress, played the role of the High Priestess, while I was her dancer/disciple. I introduced the characters with a dance and then Carly recited the verse while scrubbing a plastic object (chosen by the raffle winner) in a glass jar with a toilet bowl scrubby. Here’s a quote of text from the second ritual we did [text in italics was given by the raffle winner]:

“Oh John Stewart, please bless this feisty panda bear, Bill O’Reilly. May he be purified in the smelly waters of Lake Michigan and appear before the people of everywhere on his pinky, ready to atone for his hate-mongering…”

Carly and Anna in Purification Ritual for a Shamed Politician

I hope to continue to do these purification rituals, which seem to still be desparately needed despite the regime change in Washington. If you have a party that could use some ritual elements, let me know! We’re super cheap!

All in all, the party was great fun, but we still have a long way to go with our fundraising goals. There is one more section to shoot for Fünf ‘n’ Twist. A middle scene that is a flash forward of the two main characters holed up in a dingy tenement where a power play ensues between them over the eagle belt buckle. The scene will culminate with both of them crashing through a paper wall. Ambitious? Yes! But with a little luck, and the support of a whole lot of generous folks like you, we’ll be able to pull it off and finish our film this spring!

Please let us count you among our supporters. A $30 contribution underwrites the cost of three hours of tape stock, $50 helps us build a paper room set for the last section of our film, and $100 pays for a kick-ass crew member who knows how to make magic happen with just one light, a gel, and some gaffers tape.

CLICK HERE to make a tax deductible online donation through our not-for-profit fiscal sponsor, Unique Projects*. Designate your donation to Anna Brady Nuse.

OR

Write a check out to UNIQUE PROJECTS* earmarked for Anna Brady Nuse and send to:

Anna Brady Nuse
Straight to the Helicopter
4915 Broadway, #6L
New York, NY 10034

Thank you!

*Unique Projects, Inc. is a not-for-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) foundation created and administered by Pentacle to serve the performing arts community. All donations made to Unique Projects and earmarked for Anna Brady Nuse are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information or to obtain a copy of our latest financial reports please contact Salena Watkins, Fiscal Administrator at 212-278-8111 x306, 246 W. 38th Street, 8th Floor New York, NY 10018.

See Footage From My New Videodance, "Fünf ‘n’ Twist" at the September Dance Film Lab

Tika_Matron-146x400.jpgNext Tuesday (Sept 2nd) I’ll be showing brand new footage from my latest videodance project, Fünf ‘n’ Twist. Two weeks ago I shot the prom scenes for this surreal Busby Berkeley-esque, satire that oozes with kitschy Americana, German expressionism, and Jungian symbology. Come see what a raw videodance looks like before it gets cooked!

Details:

The Dance Film Lab is moderated and organized by Zach Morris (Third
Rail Projects), produced and run with the assistance of Kathleen Green,
and in cooperation with the Dance Films Association. Hosted by Dance
Theater Workshop, this salon brings dance filmmakers together to
present raw footage, drafts, works-in-progress and newly finished films
to their peers for constructive feedback, to share information, and
address technical, practical and artistic challenges. The lab is free
and open to the public, though reservations are necessary.

For our upcoming September 2nd Dance Film Lab, where we’ll be screening the work of Leah Kelley Xylona and Anna Brady Nuse.

Dance Film Lab, Tuesday, September 2, 2008 8-10pm
at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW)
219 West 19th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
Phone: (212) 691-6500 Click Here for DTW’s website.
Please contact Zach Morris to RSVP.
 
 (please note: Zach will out of town August 24th to the morning of September 2nd.  During this time he will not be responding to emails, so if you email him, simply consider your RSVP confirmed).

Photo credit: Production still from the set of Fünf ‘n’ Twist, directed by Anna Brady Nuse (Tika pictured as the Matron). photo by Susanna Christians.

The Making of FÜNF ‘N’ TWIST

Funf'n'Twist_Boys_arch.jpg

Dancers: Remi Harris, Matt Sweeney, Donna Costello, Kyleigh Sackandy, Zachary Pace, production still from Fünf ‘n’ Twist, directed by Anna Brady Nuse. Photo: Penelope Roussetzki

For the last three weeks I’ve been completely consumed by my videodance project, Fünf ‘n’ Twist. Last Thursday and Friday we shot all the prom scenes of the video, and it marked my first time directing (and producing) an indoor shoot.

Kerrie Welsh & J Why, on set of Fünf ‘n’ Twist. Photo: Susanna Christians
Kerrie_ladder.jpg
Through a monumental effort on the part of my cast and crew, we got all the essential shots done, including a tricky Busby Berkeley-esque overhead shot that required my DP, Kerrie Welsh, to climb a 16 foot extension ladder and mount her camera to the side with a hi-hat and rachet strap.

I haven’t even looked at the footage yet. I need a few days to clear my mind before I launch into the editing process, but I can share with you the storyboard for the scenes we shot, and some production stills.

Fünf ‘n’ Twist – Twist Dance Storyboard from Anna Brady Nuse on Vimeo.

This storyboard is of the twist dance scenes of the video. Originally I was also going to shoot a slow dance scene that would have more of an 80’s feeling. However on the first day of shooting we were getting very behind schedule, and I realized the slow dance scenes would have to be cut. I had already decided that they weren’t so essential to the story line, and in some ways they might have even detracted from the overall piece. The twist dance is at the opening of the video, and the dance along with the music will set up the themes of authoritarianism & rebellion, fear, sex, and that in between place I’m calling fünf, as well as point towards America’s cultural adolescence in the second half of the 20th Century.

Production still of Fünf ‘n’ Twist. Photo: Susanna Christians
Fünf-n-twist_Set_for_overhead.jpgRemarkably we were able to shoot all of the scenes I had envisioned without any major compromises. My dancers pulled off the choreography that I came up with on paper.. Donna Costello and Matt Sweeney, the two leads, rehearsed the choreography with me ahead of time and then taught it to the other three couples on set.

The dancers all handled the surprises I threw at them with poise and a can-do attitude. This included asking the guys to flip off the girls’ backs from a bridge position and do a cartwheel from the left side. The latter request wasn’t possible for all the male dancers to do, but our grip, Stephen Long, stepped in to save the day. With a background in gymnastics he put on the tux and performed the cartwheel perfectly, earning a second credit of “stunt double.”

Girls_duck-n-cover.jpg

Remi Harris, Kyle Pinneo, Donna Costello, Matt Sweeney, Production still from Fünf ‘n’ Twist.
Photo: Penelope Roussetzki

Now I just have one more scene to shoot, which is a “flash-forward” scene of the lead couple holed up in a dingy tenement with paper walls. I won’t give away the details, but I’m hoping to raise the funds and resources to shoot these scenes in early ’09. In the meantime I’ll be working hard along with my composer/collaborator, J Why to create a rough cut of the finished scenes to screen here in New York before the end of the year.

Funf-n-Twist_Twirl-Around.jpg

Production still from Fünf ‘n’ Twist. Photo: Susanna Christians

Here is a video study of the final scenes of the film, when the boy and girl escape the prom and run into a wild overgrown city park to “get it on.” Instead of portraying the cliche sex scenes literally, I decided to portray them in a ritualistic metaphorical way, where we see the inner feelings of the characters portrayed outwardly in symbolic imagery.

More images and video coming soon!

Seeking Dancers and Crew for a Videodance Shoot

Fünf 'n' TwistMatt Sweeney and Donna Costello in Fünf ‘n’ Twist, photo: Anna Brady Nuse

In August I am shooting a new videodance entitled Fünf ‘n’ Twist, an abstract narrative short about a teenage couple at the prom. The prom scenes will be shot Thursday Aug 14th and Friday Aug 15th all day from approximately 8am-6pm in Washington Heights. Currently I am looking for male dancers as well as several crew positions both paid and non-paid.

About Fünf ‘n’ Twist: Using dance, ritualized movement, evocative sounds and imagery, the classically American rite of passage of the prom will be depicted as a metaphor for the adolescence of the country itself as it lurches clumsily towards a cultural adulthood. Last spring I shot the final scenes of the film, and you can see a rough cut study of the ending here on vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/1134237.

Below are descriptions of the positions I’m looking for.

Talent:

3-6 male dancers for prom scene. Must be able to dance (or be comfortable moving), and could pass for a prom-goer. Having your own tux is a plus, but not required. You must be available between 9am-5pm on Aug 14th and 15th. Pay will be $75/day. Please send a current headshot/photo to anuse@speakeasy.net.

Crew positions:
Production Manager: Responsible for assisting the director/producer with pre-production planning and managing all the logistics of the production. Will coordinate cast and crew, and stay on top of the budget and time schedule during the production. Must be available 8am-8pm Aug 13th-15th as well as for some preliminary planning work leading up to these days. Fee commensurate with experience. Please send resume to anuse@speakeasy.net.

Production Designer/Art Director: For a ’60’s era prom scene in a short experimental dance video. Must be resourceful, and able to make magic with a small budget! Must be available 8am-6pm Aug 13th-15th and for planning meetings with the director & DP leading up to these days. Fee commensurate with experience. Please send resume and portfolio/reel to Anna Brady Nuse: anuse@speakeasy.net

Lighting Designer/Grip: Shot-specific lighting for a ’60’s era prom scene. Must be flexible and able to make magic with a small budget. Must be available 8am-6pm Aug 13th-15th and for planning meetings with the director & DP leading up to these days. Fee commensurate with experience. Please send resume and portfolio/reel to Anna Brady Nuse: anuse@speakeasy.net

Production Assistants: Flexible, strong, energetic, and eager to learn about the makings of a videodance! Must be available on Aug 14th & 15th 8am-6pm. Also need prep help all day Aug 13th. No pay, but a great way to gain experience and skills. You will be given credit on the film and fed!

For more info, please contact me at anuse@speakeasy.net, and if you know of others who would be good for these positions please forward this link to them!