In 2007 when LIDFF started there was a fierce debate about dancefilm which had not yet morphed into the catchall term "MOVING IMAGE". When we started there were approximately eight dance and moving image festivals around the world.
At last count that number has increased to around 128 dancefilm festival world-wide.
As the original curator I got into immediate hot water across a surprisingly wide spectrum of "art-film" stakeholders from the hallowed and ivy-clad groves of Academe to drop-in festival audience members at public Q&A's, by trying to set a quality standard, claiming that which is referred to as "dancefilm", should contain both an essence of readily apparent choreographic design and discernible cinematographic expertise.
Given the number of universes in which moving image makers in the widest sense inhabit, one can imagine that in many quarters of the conceptual art-world my curatorial pronouncements were anathema, prescriptive, way too narrow and in many ways the criticism was right. However, when curating any type of "art", criteria must be set to avoid a shapeless free for all that is impossible to encapsulate for audiences.
Curation inevitably becomes an unpopular process of describing and reluctantly prescribing "what it is", if for no other reason that something has to go on the announcement posters or no one will come. Essentially a crappy job but someone has to do it.
To ease this process and clarify where we are for this year's LIDFF, there are three categories of exhibition.
1: A pre-selected, curated selection of films by invited choreographers and film makers recognised across the world of dance in all forms, from Classical to installation moving image projections to Musical Theatre as craftspeople, experts in their chosen field, whose work stands up to critical scrutiny across many areas of critical debate and whose work, we the curators would like to show because it is important for very many reasons..
2 Those film works on a loose theme of dance and movement made by professionals which are not otherwise limited to personal curation, who have submitted to LIDFF 2018 to be seen more widely by those cinema audiences specifically interested in dancefilm and moving image making.
These submissions will be rewarded with prizes for their efforts by a Jury of highly regarded colleagues who work extensively in the world of dance-making in film and television whose expertise will reflect the quality of their judgements..
3 Those films made by students from accredited higher education institutions of moving image, dancefilm and choreography whose submissions will be a maximum length of 5 minutes including credits and verifiably created from beginning of filming to final output online in a 72 hour period to fulfil this years specific LIDFF 72 hour film making challenge.
Without a doubt there will be controversy - it wouldn't be art making if there wasn't. Above all however, LIDFF 2018 aims to curate a fascinating blend of films which will appeal to audiences knowledgeable in the field of dancefilm and moving image and help audiences new to the fascinatingly diverse world of dance to greater clarity and understanding.
There are no other particular issues that currently occur to me other than the perennial ones bedevilling all curated exhibitions, such as why choose "this" exhibit/film/painting/work, over "that" one? The answer as for everyone, is that choice is subjective and as free to make as it is to question.
As the curation panel for this year's LIDFF, we will necessarily be as responsible, careful and hotly opinionated between ourselves as any other group of passionate artists who find themselves more or less accidentally set up in judgement over their peers for the purposes of getting art "out there".
LIDFF 2018 hope to contribute in a small way to a real sense and appreciation that art is passion and passion drives creativity and variety of expression.
Chair - Curation Panel - LIDFF 2018