Shot amidst the raw beauty of Acadia National Park in Maine, five lives interweave in a jubilant quest for love and identity. Emotional heaviness is passed from person to person, pushing each one to face transformation.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Holly Wilder
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I am a choreographer. I made “The Weight” as a screen adaptation of a piece I originally choreographed for the stage. It felt like a story that needed to be retold with the intimacy of a film lens, and I needed to tell it in the environment it was originally imagined in: the natural beauty of the Maine wilderness.
I also made this film because I believe strongly in the power of seeing dance in an environment that isn’t the stage. It gives context for the stories we are telling and helps audiences see dancers as humans with emotions, not just bodies that move.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Have you ever seen people dance at the edge of a mountain cliff or tumble gracefully in the water of a river? This film is exciting, beautiful, emotional, and moving. It’s unique because it is 30 minutes long and tells a narrative story, yet has no dialogue and is abstract enough to give you the freedom to take away what you want from it.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
“The Weight” is a story about five people that follows the journey of heaviness and baggage they pass between them as they move through different relationships. It uses the visual metaphor of actual rocks to depict how they affect each other emotionally.
The film has themes of abuse, loss, loyalty, friendship, love and the freedom that love creates space for. The film hopes to remind its audience how connected we all are through the weight that we share with each other and through our common human desire for love.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The piece was originally developed for the stage, but switching to film allowed us to bring greater context and clarity to the narrative. Shooting in the Maine wilderness grounded the piece in its natural setting, and editing capabilities allowed us to trace a more consistent narrative line. The rocks became more foregrounded as a central motif, and we also added "reality" scenes to make the metaphors in the dance more accessible to "non-dance" audiences.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Audience members we’ve spoken to have been really moved by the film and felt they could relate to different characters and their journeys. We have been happy to hear that dancers and non-dancers alike were able to follow the story but appreciated the abstraction, which has allowed many different people to explain what they took from each section in very different ways. We’ve also received great feedback about the cinematography and the dancers’ performances.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I was nervous that this wouldn’t be a film for all audiences, or that a 30 minute film without dialogue would lose some people along the way. But from the festivals we have shared it at, so far that hasn’t seemed to be the case, which definitely surprised me.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We want to spread an awareness of dance film and hope to find as many audiences for “The Weight” as possible. We also hope it might open up a deeper discussion about the film.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are definitely looking for producers, distributors, film festival directors, and journalists to help expand our audience and share this story.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I want this film to give people a chance to stop thinking for 30 minutes and just feel. I feel that we don’t give our hearts as much attention as they deserve. I want it to help people turn inward and ask themselves questions they may have been avoiding, like “what might it take to begin releasing some of my baggage?”
I also hope “The Weight” can open the minds of those who never thought they were interested in dance or have never been exposed to dance film.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What weight are you carrying with you in your life and do you need it?
Would you like to add anything else?
You can find our other short films and keep up with our work at www.wilderprojectdance.com.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We are currently in pre-production for a couple of new dance films and will soon be releasing a music video collaboration with singer-songwriter Jennah Bell and another short shot in Boston last March called “The Sleep”.
Interview: August 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Shot amidst the raw beauty of Acadia National Park, five lives interweave in a jubilant quest for love and identity. Emotional heaviness is passed from person to person, pushing each one to face transformation.
Director: Holly Wilder
Producers: Holly Wilder, Duncan Wilder
Writer: Holly Wilder
About the writer, director and producer:
Holly Wilder is a choreographer, performer, and award-winning film director based in NYC and artistic director of her dance film company Wilder Project. (director, producer, writer, choreographer).
Duncan Wilder is a freelance videographer whose work has screened at film festivals all over the country. He is co-founder of Wilder Project with his sister, Holly. (producer, cinematographer, editor).
Key cast: Shelby Claire, Tanner-Myles Huseman, Victoria Daylor, Santiago MacLean, Gabriel Lawton (lead actors)
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Producers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists
Funders: Wilder Project
Made in association with: Rhythm of You Productions
Release date: Our world premiere was July 11th, 2016 at the Maine International Film Festival.
Where can I watch it in the next month?
The Maine International Film Festival will be screening the film again on September 17th, 2016 at 5 pm and September 18th at 3 pm in Bar Harbor, Maine.