Mark your calendars, Anastasia is re-born this summer on Stingray Classica. Leading up to the premiere, Behind the Ballet will give you a behind the scenes look at the film, including Q&A’s with some of the creative team.
Anastasia premieres Thursday, August 19 at 9PM exclusively on Stingray Classica. For more information about how to subscribe or start a free trial click HERE.
We talked with Ngardy Conteh George, Video Producer & Director and Video Editor, Nathan Allen about what it was like working on a dance video and everything involved in the production.
Ngardy Conteh George, Video Producer & Director
“I love the creative freedom in the editing process — cutting together the beautiful movement to the music, staying true to the choreography while adding in my own flare.”
Nathan Allen, Video Editor
“Working on a dance film is different because of the attention to detail that is required to bring out the best in the performances.”
Q: You have been a part of the CBJ family for some time — when did you first work with CBJ?
Ngardy: I first started working with CBJ in 2015 filming the ballet Sleeping Beauty and producing the promotion videos for that season and for many subsequent seasons since.
Nathan: I joined the postproduction crew for Anastasia at the beginning of 2019.
Q: What is it like working on a dance film?
Ngardy: I truly enjoy working on these dance films. I’ve been a lifelong lover of classic music and dance so it’s my way of living vicariously through the dancer since I have two left feet. I love the creative freedom in the editing process — cutting together the beautiful movement to the music, staying true to the choreography while adding in my own flare.
Nathan: Working on a dance film is different because of the attention to detail that is required to bring out the best in the performances. It is sometimes a challenge to make editorial changes while keeping everything in sync with the music.
Q: How long did it take to film Anastasia?
Ngardy: We filmed everything over the course of a very long day, a very ambitious feat, in hindsight we definitely could have used an extra day or so. Editing has taken much longer!
Q: What do you remember most about the experience?
Ngardy: Typically, when filming the ballet for promotional footage we film the dress rehearsals or live performances. So we don’t always have the luxury of getting a second take or being as intrusive on the performance. For this production I remember enjoying more freedom to film from anywhere in the auditorium and much closer to the stage with a larger team.
Nathan: I remember enjoying the soothing classical music while editing the beautiful dance performances. I felt like a spectator in the audience while editing this film.
Q: OYA Media Group recently won a Canadian Screen Award — Congratulations! Can you talk about the film “Being Black in Toronto?”
Ngardy: Thank you! This time the Canadian Screen Award was for Best Direction, Documentary Series so the award actually went to the directors of the project and we at OYA served as producers, story editors, editors and such on the project. The project was a series of six short documentaries reflecting on the director’s perspective of being Black in Toronto. It was a pleasure mentoring and working with the six talented emerging filmmakers, Omolola Ajao, Valerie Amponsah, Yasmin Evering-Kerr, Sharine Taylor, Adrian Wallace, Yvano Wickham-Edwards.
Nathan: It was great to work with the 6 filmmakers and with OYA for Being Black in Toronto. It always feels good when a project that you’ve worked on is able to win an award, especially a CSA award.
Q: What does OYA mean?
Ngardy: OYA has a few meanings, in Yoruba (a language largely spoken in Nigeria), it’s often used as a slang for ‘let’s go’ or ‘let’s move’. We named OYA after Oya, the African deity, a goddess that brings about change
Nathan: OYA is named after the goddess Oya from the Yoruba religion.
Q: One of your commitments is “to tell stories that change the conversation” — some people are afraid of this — why is it important to keep doing this work?
Ngardy: One thing that drew me into filmmaking was the opportunity to tell stories that break stereotypes and that show the richness and complexities of the African diaspora and to do just that, to change the conversation. If no one does it, it simply will not get done. There are countless stories of how perceptions in media influence behaviour so if the narrative doesn’t change then behaviours will not either.
Nathan: It’s important for underrepresented voices to be heard, so that anyone who watches can better understand and empathize with the people around them.
Watch the Trailer
Get more info about Anastasia. Next up, Behind the Ballet: Artistic Director & Choreographer, Bengt Jörgen, C.M.