This summer filmmaker Ian Issit will be joining us in Arezzo to begin work on a documentary film following the work of The Dario Fo Project. Over the course of the 3 year cycle Ian and his crew will follow the students, the faculty, and Fo himself as they work to explore the work of this master of the stage and his impressive body of work.
As the filmmaker explains, he hopes to achieve more than just documenting the workshop itself, he hopes to reveal something about the nature of the Commedia dell’Arte form and the immense impace it has had on Fo’s work and as an artist. Here is what Ian has to say about the project…
In 2009 I shot a circus documentary “World Circus” following five acts as they went to the International Circus Festival In Monte Carlo. This was my first foray into the world of circus. I was just taken aback by the immense kindness and openness of all the performers we interacted with. Everyone was very welcoming of us, and really allowed us to show them as people and not just performers. The main objective of that film was to show Americans that there is a vast other world in circus and that clowns aren’t just for birthday parties. After speaking more with people back in America about the film, we found that people had a hard time putting their finger on what circus actually was.
I understand that Mask Work and Commedia Dell’Arte aren’t technically circus. But what the two forms do share is that they are both arts that are not completely embraced nor understood in America. Through education and media, eyes could be opened to this great art form. This is why the documentary is important. Exposing more people to this universal art form is an opportunity we can’t miss.
…Having the master [Fo] teaching his work to students is something that needs to be captured, living on in the minds of future generations that witness the film. There is not a lot of high quality video of Dario Fo, as far as I have been able to glean from limited research on the Internet. This is our opportunity to preserve his place in the lineage of Commedia and physical performers forever.
…we have an opportunity to make a film that intertwines the instruction with history and performance to really make a statement about Commedia dell’Arte. Having the access to such a great master would surely leave a legacy that could inspire performers for years to come. As with any ensemble based performance, there is a story and rapport that the performers possess that is often missing in main stream or commercial acting. This film could be presented in a way that is larger than the two weeks in Italy for a select few and cast a larger net that could excite the masses.
The film will consist of:
- Interviews with Dario Fo, as well as Franca Rame. (Discussing history, technique, legacy, progression of the workshop, etc.)
- Interviews with other instructors and masters, and students involved in the workshop over the next three years. And perhaps local Italian Historians (for reference on Commedia dell’Arte as an art form)
- Capturing all in-class activity. Teacher/student relations, and follow the progression of the workshops.
- Capturing all performances and their audiences
More about the filmmakers:
Originally from Tennessee, Ian moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College where he graduated with a BA in Film and Video with a concentration in Cinematography. In 2008 Ian started his own production company, New Bound Media, and continues to work as a cinematographer and creative director on many projects throughout the Midwest.
Whether it is traveling the US in a wildly painted bus headed west on I40 picking up strangers along the way, sleeping outside with more stars than he have ever seen in a remote town in Southern Sudan, or driving his motorcycle on a eleven state trip, the urge to travel, see new places, and meet new cultures has always been at the forefront of Ian’s endeavors.
Ian has made a very strong client base, and hopes to continue to meet new people, travel to new locations, and document it all along the way. Ian currently lives in Louisville, KY with his wonderful girlfriend Erin, where he works as a jewelry photographer for Amazon.com.
Erin Leigh Crites
Erin Leigh Crites is a graduate of the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre in Blue Lake, California. She is an associate professor at the University of Louisville where she teaches graduate level acting and movement for the stage.
Prior to joining the faculty at UofL, Erin spent three years as a teaching artist and actress in Chicago, where she worked with many area theatre companies, notably Lookingglass Theatre. Erin teaches workshops in improvisation, stand-up, sketch comedy, vaudeville, clown, Commedia Dell’ Arte, ensemble creation/playmaking, and physical storytelling with students from ages 5 to 55.
She has a passion for both travel and community outreach as well as theatre. In the past five years she has been lucky enough to study mask work, shadow puppetry and dance in Bali, lounge with local fisherman in Ecuador, volunteer as an english teacher for three months in Costa Rica and travel to Haiti to perform for children and their families in internally displaced peoples camps as a member of Clowns Without Borders. Building community is both a daily and life-long goal for Erin. She is always looking for opportunities to see new places and connect with new people, sharing in the joys of a global community.
Visit the following link to view her short film documenting the trip to Haiti…