“Being able to shoot this ballet is also a one-of-a kind opportunity because Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is happening for the first time. This is historical.”
George Brown College’s (GBC) Centre for Arts, Design & Information Technology (CADIT) is capturing the historic development of CBJ’s Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ with a full-length documentary. “We get to see the entire process,” says Special Projects Coordinator, Lori Endes. “That’s what is really special about this.” This unique behind-the-scenes footage is being shot and edited by students from GBC’s Interaction Design and Media Programs under the direction of CADIT’s professional filmmaking team, which will follow the ballet’s creation through to the world premiere on September 28, 2019.
The project allows GBC students to build their skills through mentored hands-on learning. As Ms. Endes explains, working on a dance documentary is a unique educational opportunity. “It gives them a chance to learn about filming movement,” says Ms. Endes. “It’s not the same as sitting there with a camera in an interview. You have to learn how to move with the dancers and predict what’s going to happen next.”
Giovana Franco Ramos is one of the students excited to be working on the film as a videographer/camera operator. “I am learning a lot about capturing the most organic and interesting moments between the dancers and directors during ballet rehearsals,” she explains. “Being able to shoot this ballet is also a one-of-a kind opportunity because Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s Anne of Green Gables – The Ballet™ is happening for the first time. This is historical.”
Interaction Design student Elli Raynai is equally enthused by the content of the documentary. “I am working as second camera person to help capture as much great footage as possible,” he says. “I find the subject matter of dance extremely exciting as I really admire the dancers’ talent and dedication to the artform.”
“One of the really exciting things about catching dance on film is that you can see aspects that you can’t see in the theatre.”
The crew has been shadowing the company for several months and is very excited about the material acquired so far. “We’ve been in the studio filming the early rehearsals of the production and capturing the company on the road doing other productions,” says Ms. Endes. “We hope to get audiences up close to see what it’s like to be dancing, whether it’s by showing the musculature of a pirouette, or literally the sweat dripping off a dancer’s face because they’re rushing across the stage to get to their next position. One of the really exciting things about catching dance on film is that you can see aspects that you can’t see in the theatre.”
In addition to studio and performance footage, the documentary will feature interviews with company dancer Hannah Mae Cruddas, dancing the role of Anne in the world premiere, and members of the creative team talking about the development of the synopsis, orchestration, costumes, and sets. Another highlight is an interview with Kate Macdonald Butler, granddaughter of the author of Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery. “She said she always imagined the story as a ballet and that she’s super excited to see her grandmother’s words translated into an expression of creativity,” says Ms. Endes. “We’re going to interview her again in Halifax after the show to get her impression.”
Upon completion, the documentary will be submitted across global film festivals. Previous films produced by CADIT have been placed on Amazon Prime. “Ideally, we’re shooting for something like that,” says Dean of CADIT, Luigi Ferrara. “We don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I’m tremendously excited for what’s to come and what can develop.”
Canada’s Ballet Jörgen is grateful for the generous support offered through CADIT and George Brown College.
Written by Victoria Campbell Windle, CBJ Communications Contributor.
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