Feb. 25 & 26: Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance
This Thursday and Friday, the Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) will showcase 30 features, shorts, documentaries, advance screenings and meet-the-artist Q&A sessions with leading international theater artists - all free and open to the public.
This Thursday and Friday, the GC's Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance (FTP) will showcase 30 features, shorts, documentaries, advance screenings and meet-the-artist Q&A sessions with leading international theater artists - all free and open to the public.
The festival, presented by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, spotlights experimental, emerging and established theater artists and filmmakers from around the world.
Films range from just a few minutes in length (as with What It Feels Like For a Girl" [pictured above]) to three hours.
In advance of the event, the GC spoke with the festival's curators: Frank Hentschker, Antje Oegel, and Nina Segal:
Could you describe the mission of the festival?
At the Segal Center, our quest for new forms in theater, performance, films and media is ongoing. As we head into the festival's second year, our mission for FTP remains steadfast: to celebrate the themes of theater and performance on film. We recently discovered that FTP is the only festival of its kind in the world, which is remarkable, and makes the search for exciting work by (and about) performance artists on film even more important.
For decades, theater artists have crossed over and experimented with film, moved between the theatrical and the filmic, and in doing so, revolutionized both.
We wanted to know which of our contemporary theater makers are experimenting with film. What are they interested in? What is the format they are using and how does this form differ, or offer dialogue, with their live work?
Could you discuss some of the international artists? Are there any who are well known in their home countries, but haven't had their work presented in the U.S. before?
Almost all of these directors and performance groups are well-known internationally, yet almost none of the films have been presented in the United States.
FTP is a great opportunity for audiences to get to know artists they may not have an opportunity to see otherwise.
In our search, we collected some stunning film pieces by established avant-garde theater artists including Jan Fabre (Belgium), Frank Castorf (Germany) and Romeo Castellucci (Italy); contributions from the younger experimental avant-garde like Rimini Protokoll and Gob Squad (both from Germany) and Back to Back Theatre (Australia); and up-and-coming talents who are just now breaking into the scene, including Wunderbaum (Netherlands), Krzysztof Garbaczewski (Poland), Mukunda Angulo (United States) and I AM A BOYS CHOIR (UK.).
Are there any common themes among the films?
We selected theater artists and filmmakers who captured the experience of live performance on film, and balanced the need to honor the legacy of an artist with the imperative to tell the whole story. These artists and filmmakers explore the inspiration behind their work and discuss the ever-changing and expanding landscape of theater, performance, film and digital media.
What are the challenges of adapting a theatrical performance to a film?
Several of the screenings will be followed by short Q&A sessions in which artists will speak about their filmmaking process. The majority of the films in the festival will not be straight adaptations of theatrical performance to film, but instead, have a more experimental feel.
How do you select the films for the festival? What particular qualities do you look for?
We are looking for and celebrating the growth of new aesthetic global practices - influenced by new digital media, political events and the Zeitgeist of contemporary performance art. We are interested in how theater artists react to the state of the world - the Weltzustand, as Hegel said. We look for work that playfully asks the eternal questions: What is real, what is old, and what is new? Where do we come from, where are we, and where are we going? And what can we do to make change happen? We hope audiences leave the screenings thinking about the world in new ways.