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by Garon Cockrell
@PolariFest Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival – “Five Dances” Opening Night Film
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Oct. 17, 2013 11:20 a.m.

By Adam Ruhl
2013 is the 26th annual Polari Film Festival, not
just Austin’s oldest Gay and Lesbian Film Fest, but apparently the longest
running Film Festival in Austin altogether. All of the festival-goers were gathered at
the Stateside Theater in downtown Austin for the opening ceremony and opening
film. Artistic Director Curran Nault gave a welcoming speech and spoke of the
festival audience award which has been renamed the Scott Dinger Audience Award,
in honor of the festivals founder. Then it was time to dig into the opening
Five Dances<>
Five Dances is apparently already playing in New York and
will soon be available on DVD and Netflix. It’s the story of an 18-year-old
dancer named Chip (Ryan Steele in his debut) who has come to New York from
Kanas and has taken a job with a ballet troupe to perform a set of five dances
at a festival. The film follows Chip and three other dancers during the rehearsals.
The movie feels a bit like a short film blown up to feature length, but it
works on several levels. The director stated that they began with an unfinished
script and allowed the story to grow organically.
Though the characters move about the city; for the bulk of
the movie they are all in one room. The twist on the one-room-drama here is
that this room is a rehearsal studio and the dramas of the characters personal lives
are played out in the midst of some truly stunning and talented dance
performances. During the Q&A afterwards the director revealed that all five
principles were dancers and not professional actors in real life. Even so, the
whole cast turns in great performances, especially Steele who portrays Chip
with a lot of charm but also a naïve trust. <>
One of the most stand-out elements is the cinematography.
For a self-proclaimed “low-budget Independent Film”, produced partially with
Kickstarter funds, Cinematographer Derek Mckane makes this film look like a Hollywood
production. The shot composition was beautiful and it made the film very easy
to get immersed in. Artist Scott Matthew provides some wonderful music for most
of the dance sequences (another version of one of the songs was also used in
Shortbus). Taken together, Five Dances is a small picture that comes together
beautifully and rises about its humble budget to provide a very professional
and enjoyable experience. <>
Adam Ruhl is a cinema writer for PCB and a fiction author. His latest novel, The Devil is My Co-Pilot is now available from Amazon.com! ?

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