Dance and Cinema Come Together in Sensual Film Festival
Dance on camera is an art form barely touched in the Philippines, but is appreciated now more than ever. In this current normal, it is a way of experiencing art altogether without leaving home, confronting the global pandemic head-on from within.
Madge Reyes recently finished an Asian Cultural Council research fellowship for dance film in New York and was barely back home in Manila when the pandemic hit and the city was put in lockdown.
“It wasn't my intention to mount a festival this soon, but after spending time indoors and not being able to move at my usual pace, and space, that helped ignite the fire,” says Reyes.
And so a month into the pandemic, Reyes hatched the idea of Fifth Wall Fest, the Philippines’ first international film festival dedicated to dance. The free five-day event is currently taking place on fifthwallfest.com through October 11, 2020.
“I reached out to friends within the community and who live abroad, as well as partner with local embassies of countries wherein I wished to reach out to for specific films,” says Reyes. “I just kept on digging for films until I felt we hit a good number.”
There are 57 films to view on the site for the duration of the festival.
The program includes Elementos, an in-house dance film created by Fifth Wall Fest, directed by Reyes, in collaboration with Steps Dance Studio and Tarzeer Pictures in the Philippines.
The “fifth wall” is the imaginary barrier that guests pass once they exit a venue after a cultural experience, to return to their everyday lives. Fifth Wall Fest revolves around the idea of breaking this wall to reach out to its audience.
The platform bridges the gap between both local and international creative communities in various fields: contemporary art, cinema, dance, music, fashion, and design, as well as academic institutions and art programs.
The program consists of free films and sidebar programs, including talks, workshops, and a live virtual dance party. Films exhibited at the festival show movement in focus on the screen in different ways, such as documentaries on dancers struggling in their local cities, shorts shot in quarantine at home, and experimental offerings imbuing dance as poetic parallel among many others.