Architectural Influences

Wearing a pair of Air Jordans, Lil Buck takes us on a jookin’ tour of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, gliding through the light-filled halls of the Frank Gehry-designed building. Andrew Margetson’s Lil Buck with Icons of Modern Art is part of Holding Close, a curated selection of Dance films at ASFF 2017.

ASFF: How did you begin the process of making your film, where did the idea come from?
AM: I was given the opportunity of making a film with Lil Buck, one of the most exciting street dancers in the world, at the incredible Frank Gehry designed museum: Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris, which was exhibiting an incredible collection of post-impressionist art. Lil Buck is a master of improvisation and responds to music in a unique and fascinating way. So, the idea of having him also respond to visual art: the architecture of the museum as well as specific paintings by Matisse and Picasso was incredibly exciting.

ASFF: What do you think is essential for a film within this genre, and how does yours reflect this vision?
AM:  For me, when making any dance film, I’m interested in bringing it to as wide an audience as possible. And to do this it’s essential to provide a way-in, a narrative hook that connects with people who aren’t interested in dance per se. So, the Lil Buck film starts with him just walking and we hear him talking about how as a street dancer in Chicago he was spotted and given the opportunity to learn ballet and we start to get to understand him.

ASFF: Do you think that your film evokes empathy?
AM: I think any great choreography that is inspired by great music has the ability to connect very directly on an emotional level. It kind of by-passes the brain and hits you somewhere in the gut! And yes, Lil Buck moving as he does to that music in front of that Picasso painting does that. It’s a goose bump moment. I think it’s empathy.

ASFF: How do sound and visuals relate to each other in your short?
AM:  We shot this film very quickly in an hour and half window between the sun coming up and the museum opening. The soundtrack is mainly the music, which we played “live” for Buck to dance to. The synchronicity between the music and his movement is of paramount importance to me and is frame accurate. In this way we feel his response to the music and gain insight into his unique musicality. We did add some sound design in the form of the squeaks of his sneakers though!

ASFF: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
AM: I have a commercial campaign for Timberland launching in US this autumn featuring an incredible group of street dancers including Storyboard P.  Plus, I have a new dance film made with two dancers at the Royal Ballet coming out in September called Duet. It’s a response the male-dominated world of ballet through an all-female pas-de-deux.

ASFF:How does the short form allow for experimentation / innovation where feature length falls short?
AM: The great thing about short films is they’re short and as such the audience will put up with more. A lot of experiment work is very niche but a mainstream audience will sit through it as a short which is great. It might open new doors and thoughts … but as a feature length film – no chance!

ASFF runs 8-12 November. For more information or to book tickets:

To view the full programme online, click HERE.

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1. Trailer for Lil Buck with Icons of Modern Art.