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Sibling Rivalry Director William Armstrong’s Film 'Unspoken' Debuts at 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

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Seven-minute short film featuring contemporary choreographer Paul Lightfoot premieres this month

Sibling Rivalry Director William Armstrong’s Film 'Unspoken' Debuts at 2021 Tribeca Film Festival

Paul Lightfoot, one of the world’s top contemporary choreographers, lost his father in 2020 and was unable to enter the hospital to say goodbye. He began translating his feelings into movement to honour his father and come to terms with his grief. ‘Unspoken’ is the result, a film that documents the creator’s process, stands as a powerful tribute to a father, and offers closure to the many affected by the pandemic.

‘Unspoken’ will world premiere this June at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, opening the Art and Soul category slated as “music and dance shorts that will soothe your soul”. 

The seven-minute short film weaves an intimate conversation with Lightfoot in the days following his father’s passing together with the very first choreographed steps as he sets out to accomplish a first in his 35-year career: crafting a performance entirely remotely, from his home in the Netherlands with a dancer in Denmark. Directed with great sensitivity by filmmaker William Armstong, who connected with Lightfoot through Instagram, the pair identified the momentous paradigm shift occurring in the world during the pandemic and became determined to tell a story that would acknowledge and give solace to those most affected by it.

“This film holds a lot of meaning for me. It grew out of an incredibly difficult time, the world in lockdown, my girlfriend had just been diagnosed with cancer, the industry was taking a deep breath as work was drying up and my mind was spinning to find a way through,” acknowledged Armstrong. “As a filmmaker, you knock on a lot of unanswered doors when searching for projects, but suddenly I met Paul and a topic we deeply cared about. Paul introduced me to Sebastian Haynes as ‘the best male dancer in the world’ and to composer Alexander McKenzie as a genius musician. My favorite collaborators Jacob Moller (DOP) and Stephen Dunne (editor) immediately saw the heart in this story and committed to making it with me.”

During a six-week period, Armstrong recorded Lightfoot’s every conversation and rehearsal in order to begin threading his story with glimpses into the working relationship between a choreographer and dancer. McKenzie, an accomplished concert pianist, joined the project and created original music for the film. The final performance, the culmination of a multi-pronged creative effort, was filmed on location at Grundtvig’s Kirken in Copenhagen, one of the city’s best-known churches built in 1927.

“This was made for the love of filmmaking, no funding, no end game other than to capture the hope, and beauty, in losing a loved one and creating a pathway to acceptance. It has moved me to tears several times over and reminded all of us why we want to tell stories.”

William Armstrong was born in Botswana and is now based in Denmark. He is a director whose body of work crosses short films, music videos and tv commercials. His career has taken him to film wild horses in Kazakhstan, world-famous musicians in Los Angeles and to shoot on top of moving trains in Zimbabwe. Grounded in documentary, his work shows a natural ability for storytelling, drawing out delicate emotions with richly crafted imagery. His first ever project as director was recognized at the Cannes Young Director Award and has since gone on to win the Emerging Director Award at the One Screen Film Festival, gold craft awards at Ciclope, Best New Director at the Kinsale Shark Awards, along with numerous Vimeo Staff Picks.

Sibling Rivalry is an independent creative agency fusing insights and imagination to drive business, innovation, and culture. The company’s capabilities combine the rigor of a global practice, the agility of a boutique studio, and the firepower of a world-class production company.  More about Sibling here

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Genres: Choreography

Categories: Short Films and Music Videos, Short films

Sibling Rivalry, Wed, 09 Jun 2021 11:26:00 GMT