LA Dance Film Festival Keeps It Local With Genevieve Carson’s FAM

by Kristyn Burtt | 1/22/2018 4:11 PM

Photo credit: Robert Amjarv


The LA Dance Film Festival is back for its second year featuring films under 45 minutes in length. One of the films playing this year is FAM, choreographed by Genevieve Carson, who also serves as creative director.


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Carson, who is known for her work as the Artistic Director of Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, spoke to Dance Network about the film and the unusual location they selected for the shoot.


Carson used Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea in the Inland Empire, California. It’s a former resort area that was mostly abandoned after the high levels of salt, algae and pollution killed the tourist industry.


“The whole Bombay Beach/Salton Sea location really made sense to us because it tied into the concept that it was once something so spectacular and it's kind of the forgotten history,” explains Carson.



The unusual scenery tied into the concept of  the film well. FAM is a multimedia stage show and the film is a part of the overall presentation.


“The entire show was a kind of making something out of nothing because I feel like that's basically what we do as dancers. It’s the fleeting nature of what it means to perform dance,” she says.” We spend all this time building something together and then… it’s gone.”


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One of the biggest challenges of working by the Salton Sea is the smell — from rotting fish bones to the sulfur smell of pollution — it isn’t easy.


“That was something we warned everyone because there are all of these rotting fish carcasses,” she laughs. “So yeah, it smells.”


The cast of dancers had to endure the final beautiful sunset shot by standing in the polluted water. It’s a memorable moment for the viewer, but it is probably a moment a few dancers would rather forget.


Photo credit: Sami Sarmiento


“We had one dancer who's afraid of fish and she was having a panic moment. We tied plastic bags around her ankles and feet,” Carson reveals. “Everyone else was barefoot, but  you can see in that last shot, there's one dancer who has plastic around her ankles.”


Carson says the shoot really united the company because “we had this crazy experience and made something so beautiful.”


She also wanted FAM to be seen by Los Angeles audiences because it’s her home base, so the LA Dance Film Festival was the perfect fit.


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“That’s what our company stands for — we hire LA artists and we self-produce in LA,” Carson sums up. “So it’s important that our work is being shared with LA audiences.”


The LA Dance Film Festival will take place on Thursday, Jan. 25 at Los Feliz 3 Theatre. Tickets can be purchased here.


Don’t miss ‘To The Pointe’ with Season 2 ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ contestant, Donyelle Jones, as she shares her powerful breast cancer story: WATCH HERE.


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