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SYNOPSIS

A boy and a girl: cocky, cool, and uncompromising, engage in a seductive game of emotional warfare to fulfill their insatiable desire for power and control. In a manic display of vanity, self-indulgence, and obliviousness, they dance, showcasing how powerful, cunning, and capable they are: that they are the one on top. Their climactic burst of narcissistic rage throws them into each other’s arms, forcing them to realize that indeed, they do need each other–that ceasing the perpetual fight gives them a chance at happiness and to discover who they truly are.

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BEHIND THE SCENES


INTERVIEWS


FAQs

Answered by Director and Choreographer Caroline Liviakis

Where did you get the idea for the piece?

I had the idea for a while of a Jitterbug-esque dance with a girl in a checkered red dress and a boy in saddle shoes and suspenders, dancing together in playful joy along windows with beaming sunlight. Once I heard the music my brother composed, I was at a stand-still as the song’s strong, deep sound didn’t fit the original vision I had. After listening to the song over and over again, it suddenly it hit me: this dance is a war, a seductive power take-down initially disguised as a playful game of cat and mouse. Dawning retro black outfits they fight in an abandoned parking garage, bathing in blue light. From there the piece was born.

What were the aesthetic influences for the film?

I love the visual style of Tom Ford’s menswear advertisements. The ad aesthetic is so modernly sexual, but the clothing’s influences are classic 50’s and 60’s. The ads result in a retro feel with a bold, modern twist. I wanted to re-create that same aesthetic within all elements of this film.

Were there any funny moments from set?

This was a small but memorably funny moment for me. None of the crew had seen any of the choreography prior to the first filming date, so they had no idea what to expect. After the first sequence was shot Aakash, the cinematographer, watched the first playback and yelled out, “please play it at regular speed, no double-time.” Antoine, our first AC, yelled back “I’m not playing it in double-time, that’s the real speed!”

What was the inspiration behind the lighting design?

I wanted to create a hallway of light that the dancers would primarily battle within. The hallway isolates them and gives a clear sense of direction. There would also be a second hallway that intersects. One pathway represents the boy and the one the girl. Just like the characters they represent, the pathways intersect, crossing into battle, yet simultaneously meet in the middle, uniting.

These hallways would be lit by 60, blue LED tubes. We added four Sharpies with stark white light on the diagonals, shining a spot in the central meeting place. With this we have a super modern, mysterious, cool-toned look. I however thought we weren’t done there, that some warm tones were needed to fully capture the emotional underbelly of this piece. I also loved the idea of visible light sources, particularly ones that would bring the vintage elements to the lighting that we see elsewhere in the film. Thus, we added eight Par Cans on the floor, surrounding the dancers like a fighting ring.

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Astera Titan Tubes

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Sharpy Moving Heads

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What do you want people to get out of this film?

I want people to see the incredible potential that dance holds for film. That dance, in and of itself, can effectively and brilliantly tell a story that audiences, regardless of dance knowledge, can understand, enjoy and relate to.

I see great potential for the growth of dance in film; I hope this film ignites that same sentiment in audiences.

I believe that dancers do not merely belong in the background, that dance is more than just a fun interlude between the ‘real’ acting or the ‘real’ story, that the choreography is the script.

I think this is all possible not only in a short film, but in a feature film form as well. This is something I am eagerly working towards.

Biographies

Caroline Liviakis

Director & Choreographer

Aakash Raj

Director of Photography

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Caroline Liviakis

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Described as a “modern and cosmopolitan creature” (BayAreaDanceWatch), Caroline Liviakis has broken into the concert dance scene as an electrifyingly innovative, ferociously bold, choreographic voice. 

Starting her career in San Francisco, she founded the Caroline Liviakis Dance Company (CLDC) and served as the Executive Artistic Director for three years, choreographing and producing live performances and interactive experiences. She has since moved to Los Angeles and begun her transition to choreographing and directing film and music videos. 

Liviakis has been featured in MovieMaker Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Independent Journal, SF/Arts Magazine, The Ark, Skyline View, BayAreaDanceWatch, and backstage.com. Her work has been selected as ‘Critic’s Picks’ by the San Francisco Chronicle and Backstage Casting Networks.

Liviakis has taught film and dance at: St. Mary’s College of California, Napa Valley College, College of Marin, Skyline College, and Mills College. She holds a B.A. in Dance and Philosophy and an M.F.A. in Dance. 

She is currently in the production process for her next short film and the pre-production process for her debut feature length film: Alternative Chick.

Paul Barris

Paul Barris is an internationally recognized and awarded ballroom choreographer and dancer. Paul has performed and choreographed for Dancing With The Stars, Dance Your Ass Off, and So You Think You Can Dance.

He has performed with ABT’s Misty Copeland at Lincoln Center and danced/choreographed for Jennifer Lopez, Prince Royce, Maluma, David Foster, Kris Jenner, and Khole Kardashian. He was a featured dancer in Tinashe and Chris Brown’s music video, Player, and most recently guest starred on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, City of Angels.

Currently Barris performs with Andrea Bocelli as a principle dancer on his world tour. He’s also the founder of his own dance-entertainment company featuring innovative dinner theater experiences.

Aakash Raj

Aakash Raj is a cinematographer based in Los Angeles, born and raised in Mumbai, India.

Before graduating from the American Film Institute (AFI), he worked as a gaffer and AC on 11 features and over 250 commercials. In his highly decorated eight years as a director of photography, Aakash has shot six feature films, twenty short films, and over thirty commercials.

His short film, Arabian Alien held its world premiere at Sundance, won the award of “Best Short Film” at Atlanta Film Festival, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Oscars.  He won The Dadasaheb Phalke Best Cinematography award for the film Teen Aur Aadha and was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Pune International Short Film Festival for the short Bawdi. He won the award for Most Effective Ad Campaign 2017 at The Brand and Leadership Conclave for shooting the Bajaj V Invinvible Indians ad campaign. His short films have won awards and nominations at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival, Digital Box Office Awards, and more.

Henry Reed

Henry Reed is a music video, commercial, and print producer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has produced music videos for Blink 182, Third Eye Blind, Conan Gray, Bazzi, King Princess, Daya, Run the Jewels, Lecrae, Josh Pan, and T-Pain. He has also produced commercials for Visa, Ugg, Old Spice, Steph Curry and Rakuten, Buck Mason, Mizuno, and Adidas. He is also the co-founder of the production company Villa House.

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