A Woodmans Exhibition on Screen

With the exhibition Francesca Woodman at the Guggenheim in New York through June 14 and the post-impressionists’ deeply personal experiments with the camera on view in our own galleries through May 6, we couldn’t resist showing C. Scott Willis’s award-winning documentary The Woodmans (2010). The screening will take place this Saturday, April 14, at 1 pm, and audience members will have the chance to chat with the director after the film. Last week, a few Phillips staff members sat down to watch the documentary (which took home Best New York Documentary at the  Tribeca Film Festival in 2010 and Washingtonians may remember it from Silverdocs that same year). By all accounts, the film is so packed with artwork, you’ll leave feeling like you’ve attended an exhibition.

First Stop, Phillips Auditorium. Next Stop, Hollywood?

The artists in Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard captured special moments with loved ones. Their photographs reveal their worlds—from reading a newspaper at home to playing with their kids on the beach. Now the Phillips is calling all amateur filmmakers to share their worlds on the big screen.

The Snapshot Home Video Contest asks filmmakers to create short videos (3 min. max) focusing on life at home with family and friends. A panel of judges (independent film curator Caroline Elliott, DC Film Alliance Director and DC Shorts Founder Jon Gann, Phillips Digital Media Manager and new media

This contest is inspired by snapshots like this one by Bonnard that could almost be a still from a home movie. Pierre Bonnard, Little girl wearing a crown of leaves, c. 1902. Modern print from original negative (sepia-toned gelatin silver print), 1 1/2 x 2 1/8 inches. Musée d’Orsay, Paris, Gift of M. Antoine Terrasse, 1992. © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

artist Michelle Herman, and Washington Post Style Blog writer Maura Judkis) will select ten finalists for a public screening at the Phillips on April 12. That night, the audience will vote for a favorite, and the winning video will go on to be screened during the DC Shorts Film Festival in September, among other great prizes.

Visit Snapshot to get inspired, then create your video, submit it here by March 25, and you may be on your way to Oscar gold!

Must-See: Frederick Wiseman’s “La Danse”

Sadly, the video clips Amanda selected to accompany this post are no longer available for viewing on YouTube. But you can view the gorgeous trailer for La Danse below.

While a 158 minute-long documentary film about dance may not sound riveting, believe me, Frederick Wiseman’s La Danse had me from start to finish. The 2009 film paints a behind-the-scenes portrait of the Paris Opera Ballet as it prepares for seven ballets and gives viewers a glimpse of everything that happens backstage: from the grueling, exacting rehearsals to what’s on the menu in the ballet’s dining hall.

Although there are tutus and pink slippers a-plenty in this film, my absolute favorite part was watching the rehearsals for choreographer Wayne McGregor’s Genus, an avant-garde ballet that was inspired by Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species. The film allows us to see the production in rehearsal and then we see get to the final product. Although I have only seen several minutes of this ballet, I’m absolutely obsessed: the costuming reminds me of moth wings or the textiles from Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2010 collection Plato’s Atlantis (McQueen’s collection was also inspired by On the Origins of Species), the music by Joby Talbot and Deru is eerie but beautiful, and the dance moves are downright biomorphic, bringing to mind insects, the snaky reptilian swoop of swan’s necks, and even wiggly protozoa in a petri dish.

La Danse is screening in the museum auditorium on Saturday, December 17, at 2 pm, included in exhibition admission. Don’t miss it!

Amanda Jiron-Murphy, In-Gallery Interpretation and Public Programs Coordinator