Posted on August 3, 2014Written by: Matt & Katie Celia, Producer/Directors of Off the Floor
Every time we screen Off the Floor, we’re always struck by how people walk out different than when they came in. There is no greater reward as a filmmaker than watching your film turn stereotypes and prejudice into appreciation and respect. The film does for others what seeing Jagged, a contemporary pole dance company, perform four years ago did for us. It changes minds.
When we started filming we knew that we were capturing the evolution of a new art form. As with so many dance genres before it, pole dance is little understood by those outside the aerial community. More often than not, the mainstream media gives it negative attention rather than positive. Having seen the beauty, grace and athleticism of Jagged, we wanted to make a film that would change the conversation, a film that would bring it out of the shadows and tell the story of the women behind it. Like catching the perfect wave, we were lucky to find a protagonist whose personal journey paralleled that of others in the community. Every woman we interviewed in the film told a story of discovering this new art form and being surrounded by a positive support network that gave them self-confidence and empowered them with a drive they didn’t have before. In Off The Floor, we see Jessica Anderson-Gwin transform from a young woman with untested potential into an artistic visionary.
Jessica is a woman with a mission and you love her because of it. Like other pioneers, she had a vision for something that no one else had ever done. And like pioneers, she has the arrows in her back to prove it. Throughout each setback in the film we see her unique ability to get up over and over again. Our motto during editing became “passion overcomes even the harshest critics.” In the finished film, it’s Jessica’s drive and vision that wins you over, not the novelty of her art form. We didn’t make a film about pole dance. We made a film about tenacity and perseverance and the power that comes from following your heart to live your dreams.
Posted on July 6, 2014Written by Maryanne Galvin
Our title REWILDING AMERICA: Lessons Learned from the Cape Cod Bear might suggest a singular focus on land dwelling wildlife. Nothing could be further from the truth. I toured with the film this spring, traveling to festivals across the USA, including two on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. At the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival and the Boston International Film Festival conversation turned to our ocean dwelling friends despite the fact that both states have seen a steady resurgence in their black bear populations.
The day after the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival wrapped, I was afforded the opportunity to bear witness to local environmental efforts. Several of us partook in an eco-tour of a local estuary. Moments after embarking, just a few yards from shore, I caught my first glimpse of something I’ve never seen in the water. Basking in the sunshine was a gentle giant, the marine equivalent of a land-dwelling elephant. Off the coast of Fort Myers (and much of the Florida coast) lives the state marine animal, the manatee. This particular manatee seemed unaware of its immediate threat— the other humans and me. Continue reading…
Posted on June 24, 2014OFF THE FLOOR is excited to announce its world premiere at the Manhattan Film Festival on Sunday, June 29th at 1:00pm. The filmmakers, Matt and Katie Celia, will also be hosting a documentary workshop about the editorial process of the film at the 14th St Apple Store on Friday, July 27th at 7pm.
OFF THE FLOOR is a feature length documentary about the emerging art of contemporary aerial dance and how it has evolved into a movement of feminine empowerment and self-expression.
The film follows the personal journey of one dancer, Jessica Anderson-Gwin, a trained hip-hop and modern choreographer with a unique vision of blending modern dance with aerial fitness. She forms the first ever contemporary pole dance company, Jagged, and with her passionate and visionary recruits learns what it takes to share an artistic vision with the world and bring one’s dreams to life.
To get tickets to the screening, please visit:
OFF THE FLOOR will be available at Dark Hollow Films in July 2014.
Posted on June 8, 2014by Rick Minnich, Director of Forgetting Dad
Films have a life of their own.
As filmmakers, we spend years researching, shooting and editing a film before finally releasing it to the world. It’s a process that often feels like it will never end. The whole time a huge question mark looms over our heads: What are audiences going to think of the fruits of our labor?
This is a question my co-writer/co-director/editor Matt Sweetwood and I debated often during the three years we worked on “Forgetting Dad” together. Sometimes when I found footage I thought was a gem, Matt played devil’s advocate and said: “That may be interesting to you and your family, but will anyone else care?” That’s not exactly what I wanted to hear. I knew that in making a film about my own family and the effects my father’s mysterious case of amnesia has had on all of us, we were walking a thin line between naval gazing family therapy and a universal story that would move audiences everywhere. Not until the film started finding its way around the globe were we certain we had reached our goal of creating a truly universal story.
Posted on May 11, 2014by Mariah Wilson, Director of Revealing Hate
I began filming Revealing Hate in 2004 with Stetson Kennedy’s interview. I had originally intended to make a film about the 94-year-old’s remarkable achievements in the civil rights realm over the course of his life. But instead of wanting to speak about what he had done in the past, Stetson was insistent on talking about the present-day status of the white supremacist movement. His focus on the current situation piqued my interest, so I started looking into it more and eventually chose to make Revealing Hate more focused on the state of right-wing extremism in America today. I spent the next several years putting together a documentary that tells the stories of those who prosecute, photograph, protest, and participate in these organizations… voices from all sides of the equation. Continue reading…