Hannah M. Weber – Laundry Day

[Entrevista traducida al Español]

Laundry Day is a dance shortfilm of few minutes that shows the boring and curious situation of someone in a place that common as a laundrette.

March 2017

Hannah M. Weber

Hello Hannah. I am glad you accepted to answer my questions. Before all, make me a quick introduction of you and Tori Duhaine, the other choreographer of “Laundry Day”?

Introduction…I am a filmmaker and an “ex-dancer,” so to say from, Baltimore, Maryland. I am currently finishing my Masters degree in Film & Media Arts at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I studied modern dance all my life and received my BFA in Dance & Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University. These days, my main focus in filmmaking is experimental film, screendance, and editing.

Tori Duhaime and I met in a screendance class at University of Utah in 2015. Tori is also a screendance filmmaker, as well as a choreographer and photographer, currently residing in Salt Lake City.

 

Why did you choose a laundry? What was interesting for you?

I wanted to make a short that many people can relate to in a creative approach.

Doing laundry is a grueling task and nobody likes doing it–so why not make it interesting. When you are at a public laundromat, there are only two speed modes to the process: really fast and really slow. That is exactly what I wanted to experiment in this film. The times when you are handling your dirty to fresh clothes, your body is working quickly like a machine. While in contrast, the wait time for the clothes to finish, washing or drying, feels like a lifetime and your brain starts to go crazy because you feel that time is being wasted as you are trapped in this strange location surrounded by repetitive white noise.

Creating a film about how people cope with mundane tasks is what interests me. It’s kind of lame but the realism of the situation makes it believable and relatable to the audience. I like those underrated connections.

With that said, I also believe that there is always comedic element to doing laundry. Whenever people are folding their delicates, they become embarrassed or they fold quickly to not have other see the silly underwear or bra that is apart of their wardrobe. But it is hard to hide those things because you are in a public location, so you just have to deal with it.

Still of the Laundry Day film

The most common laundries use to be reduced in space. It looks like this one was too. Did you have it easy to film?

Yes and no. We were lucky enough to have permission to shoot a dance film in this special location, but we had to be quick with our time frame. We were given exactly 7 hours to shoot (8am to 3pm) while the location was still open to the public. If we were still shooting past 3pm, then we would become very much in the way of the laundromat occupants (basically rush hour for laundry). My team and I had to work quickly and efficiently to complete everything that we wanted, as well as have a little bit of extra time for improvisation. We relied on natural and available lighting and kept the crew at a small number (in all only 6 people).

With that said, our gear had to be small and easy to carry to not interrupt the flow of the small public domain (as you could see with all of the handheld camera work). The laundromat occupants who came in during the shoot were very generous and stayed out the way– honestly they did not want to be in the film at all. Our last shot in the film was the only take of people coming in to do laundry right at our end time (it was not staged at all).

 

Why did you choose to make a screendance? What is for you a dancefilm?

Laundry Day was going to be a screendance no matter what. When I went to that exact laundromat to do laundry, I was watching one of the dryers and closely watched how the clothes were moving inside it. When I started drafting the idea, I branched out from the clothes and then thought about how the brain feels during the waiting process…and what that may look like in movement form. Then, how does body move during the folding process, and how can that be exaggerated into a specific flow. In all, I’d rather watch a screendance about doing laundry rather than watching someone doing laundry in a basic narrative film.

Dance film for me is a solid relationship between choreography and filmmaking. All elements must have an equal balance and style that compliment one another. Screendance has to be as manipulated in not just choreography and cinematography, it is also the execution of movement; pacing and connection of the edit; development of sound design; relationship to location; and of course costume representation. What I love about screendance is that it is an outlet for pure experimentation in both dance and film. There are no limits to the process and it can be seen anywhere.

 

Thank you Hannah!

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