FSU-produced film wins major awards at national and international film festivals

A film produced by faculty and students at Florida State University’s School of Dance recently received multiple awards from film festivals worldwide.

The collaborative underwater dance film, “Liminality,” won Best Film Production and People’s Choice awards at the Inspired Dance Film Festival Australia 2020, hosted in Sydney, Australia.

“Liminality” was co-directed by dancer, choreographer and MFA candidate Annali Rose and FSU MFA alumna and adjunct dance faculty member Jennifer Akalina Petuch, who was the cinematographer, videographer, and editor. Petuch and Rose commissioned and collaborated with FSU College of Music student Lincoln Sandham, who created the completed film’s sound score.

“For arts educators and administrators alike, it’s especially satisfying when bonds that are formed between our students and faculty result in the creation of exceptional art, propelling them forward as professional artists,” said James Frazier, dean of the College of Fine Arts.

“Liminality” also took the Best Dance Film award at the Experimental, Dance & Music Film Festival hosted in Los Angeles & Toronto, the Rogue Dancer Film of the Month award at the Film Fest by Rogue Dancer hosted in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the award for Best Cinematography at the Rethink Dance Film Festival hosted in Fargo, North Dakota.

The film is inspired by “Swan Lake’s” Odette and investigates what she may have experienced upon plunging to her death in the lake at the ballet’s end.

“It is a moment of suspended reality and a story of disenchantment, self-discovery and transformation,” Rose said.

In the tale illustrated through Rose’s choreography, the heroine explores the space between life and death, coming to terms with the end of her world as she knew it and finding the strength and courage to move into a new existence.

Rose said the film explores the transition dancers experience between working as a professional dancer and “retirement” to a different career path.

“‘Liminality’ transcends what some think of as dance and choreography and quietly challenges notions of what one might do with training in these areas,” Frazier said. “It underscores the breadth of possibility in the field of dance, and it is a point of pride that both the performer and the filmmaker are representatives of our School of Dance.”

Petuch said that without FSU, this collaboration would have never been possible.

“Dance film and interdisciplinary work are growing, and the access to technology that FSU has provided us gives us the foundation to keep up with the changing landscape of the future of dance,” she said.

“Liminality” has been screened and officially selected for 11 prestigious film festivals worldwide, including the Frame x Frame Film Festival 2020 in Houston, the New Wave International Short Festival in Munich, Germany, and, most recently, the Tokyo International Short Film Festival.

“Liminality” was recently selected as a finalist in film festivals hosted in Venice; Rome; Munich; Tokyo; Seoul, South Korea; Toronto; Los Angeles; Houston; and Tampa, Fla.

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