Fifth Wall Fest Collaborates With Sassa Jimenez On New Short Film 'Serpentine'
Perhaps the best two words to describe Fifth Wall Fest's latest short film, Serpentine, are: ethereal, sensual. A one-woman act, this three-minute film features a lone dancer as she traverses through the stage, movements not glacial, but every step deliberate. Her headpiece shines under a spotlight and onstage, one can't help but notice: her movement, and her dress.
Make no mistake, her dresses are as much part of the show as the dancer herself. Every movement, every take is done to emphasise the exquisite gossamers of fabric: white, flowy, and ethereal. Created by fashion designer, Sassa Jimenez, the costumes are meant to emphasise movement; yet each movement is also done to emphasise the garment. This relationship between dancer and design is a deliberate choice further explored in Serpentine.
Madge Reyes, founder and director of Fifth Wall Street says: "During one of our earlier chats, Sassa and I came to the conclusion that we both simply felt the need to create something fun yet meaningful during this weird point in time."
“My goal was for Madge’s choreography [in Serpentine] to shine through, and for the costume to be an element that enhanced every movement. It’s fashion in full motion instead of just walking on the runway," Jimenez shares.
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Beyond fashion, however, Serpentine also pays tribute to an empowering female dancer from the 20th century. Loie Fuller, who first performed the Serpentine Dance, served as a beacon of inspiration for Reyes. “She did almost everything and I admire her for that," she says. "Her curiosity in merging dance with other disciplines has led her to cross paths with the Lumiere Brothers, Marie Curie, and Thomas Edison. I feel connected to her in more ways than I can explain––she’s been secretly influencing my work all this time.”
Fuller, who was an American dancer is best known for her innovations in dance during the Art Nouveau era. Although her expertise was in movement, she was able to pave the way for female artists when she delved into the male-dominated world of production, becoming her own manager, producer, costume, and lighting designer.
As a female-founded collective, Fifth Wall Fest continues to strive in bringing further support and progress to the local dance scene. They're known for other such films as Happy Day (2020), and Elementos (2020). Their production arm, FWFilms, puts movement in focus through such projects—though not without its fair share of difficulties.
“The pre-production stage was very crucial. Ninety percent of this project was orchestrated virtually, with the rest being the physical shoot. But of course, no matter how much you plan, nothing ever goes exactly the way you’d want things to go," Reyes shares. In the end, Serpentine became a test of creativity in itself. As much as it is in dance, Reyes describes the process through a question, asking: "How far can you bend and not break?”
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