What generation of dance movie are you? This is the question I posed to the director of our opening night film, Born to Dance, during our 10 minute interview last week.
Tammy Davis is a New Zealand actor and director. Most importantly he is of the Beat Street generation of dance movies. I, am (gathering my crew as I say this) of the You Got Served age, which means that I spent the best part of my uni years in Wellington clubs, participating in embarrasing ad-hoc dance battles.
It's the influence of some of these films on New Zealand pop culture that has somewhat spawned this film Born to Dance, starring Stan Walker, Kherington Payne, newcomer Tia Maipi and some of the biggest names in NZ urban dance (which awesomely are now also some of the biggest names in international urban dance).
When asked about this influence, Davis firstly credits producers Jill Mcnab and Phil Bremner with making the Born to Dance project happen. He also shouts out to the New Zealand hip hop crews that are 'killing it' overseas and at home. Not only is there Parris Goebel, who choreographed the sets for the film, but 'Identity' and ' Prestige' who both represented New Zealand at different international stages this year (Bodyrock Festival and World of Dance).
Born to Dance is not only about dance either. I asked Tammy (by the 5th minute we were on first name basis) how he would describe the film if given only one sentence to do so and he gave the following: "This film is about a Maori boy struggling to fulfil his dreams."
This is something I'm sure many of us can relate to, as Pacific people and just as people in general. These dreams and stories are what we at PFF are striving to push to the wider film-viewing community, to show the diversity of Pacific people. We're not just sportspeople (I mean we're good at it, don't get me wrong). We're also dancers, musicians, we live in the islands, we live in major cities, we're living in exile, we're lobbying to bring ancient artefacts back home, we're filmmakers, the list goes on.
Born to Dance tips the iceberg for what is going to be an amazing program of Pacific film, discussion and community bonding in November. If you are a Pacific filmmaker and you have an idea, Tammy had the following wisdom: 'Connect with the film. When I was offered Born to Dance, I was asked this question by my director mentor Mark Travis: "why should you make this film, what is it that resonates with you". What it all came down to was that it was about a Maori boy struggling to fulfil his dreams. Ive been there, I live that everyday. I understand that implicitly as an actor, as a writer and as a director... Once I figured that out, I encouraged everyone onboard to do the same. Find your connection to it and operate from there, because then you can always go back to what that is"
Super looking forward to opening night guys! Thank you to Tammy Davis, who took the time out to talk to us the morning of the New Zealand premiere of Born to Dance. Kia waimarie to Tammy, Stan and all the cast and crew of the film for the first week in cinemas!
[all photos courtesy of Vendetta Films]