Scenes from everyday student life, such as studying and taking lecture notes, are interrupted by the relaxed movements of ballet dancers. These scenes are from the film “Shift,” which will be screened at 7 p.m. Saturday at IU’s annual student film festival, “Montage: A Celebration of Moving Pictures,” at the IU Cinema.
Director Kasey Poracky said “Shift” marks one of the first collaborations between the Media School and the Jacobs School of Music.
“We hadn’t really done anything to this level before,” Poracky said.
The initial idea for the film came from Robert Mack, a sophomore ballet student who said he approached Media School lecturer Craig Erpelding about a collaboration between the IU Ballet Department and filmmaking.
Poracky, who had an interest in ballet, took on the idea as her capstone project and created “Shift.”
The film follows a character who is weighed down by the daily struggles of student life until he is introduced to dance through a character played by junior ballet student Julia Margaret Fleming.
“It allows him to escape those feelings,” Poracky said. “It’s really about how dance can help you escape and how it can transform you.”
As the two characters meet, Fleming’s said her character whisks both of them away to a sort of dream sequence filled with dance.
“I think I try to bring him out of the dull and everyday rhythm of life that can become very draining,” Fleming said.
The collaboration between the two schools also included professor Sasha Janes for choreography and Emmy-nominated professor Larry Groupé, who wrote film’s original score.
The film is nominated for Best Scripted Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Editing at "Montage: A Celebration of Moving Pictures." It was also accepted into the 2019 Idaho Screendance Festival held in Boise, Idaho.
Poracky said there were many challenges that came with working together, including determining what the dancers and cameras were capable of. Fleming said through the project and its challenges, she was able to learn more about filmmaking.
“They’re both such art forms, and I think it was cool to get a firsthand view of how they complement one another, and also how they can work together,” Fleming said.
“It was definitely a learning experience to be a part of this level of collaboration because it wasn’t all up to me," Poracky said. "There were a lot of things to consider.”
Despite these challenges, Poracky said she learned how to work with other artists and saw many possibilities through the collaboration.
“We’re two creative entities, and so I think it’s really cool for us to collaborate because this doesn’t have to be the last time we do something like this, Poracky said.”
Editors note: Robert Mack has previously worked for the Indiana Daily Student.