Award of Excellence – “Golden” (USA)

Title: Golden
Runtime: 8 min
Country: USA
Director: Kate Mitchell
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: March 31, 2020

Synopsis:  GOLDEN, a wordless dance film, uncovers the independence, intellectual curiosity, and sexual vibrancy hidden within the domestic life of a woman, as portrayed by a solo dancer. In dream-like sequences, she encounters the self she has been and the self that she can become. From her musings emerges a passionate self-declaration, elucidated by repeated choreographic motifs, flashbacks and flashforwards, and the evolution of color and set decor. By extension, GOLDEN affirms a woman’s right to define herself- rather than be defined by others – as a thinking, feeling, and sexual being. At the same time, it also rejects the notion that aging women have an “expiration date” in terms of inherent value. In all, GOLDEN is a unique alchemy- from drudgery to sparkling beauty.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Kate Mitchell – Director

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

KM: Becoming a woman “of a certain age”, I encountered firsthand the notion of female dispensability embedded in our culture. My response was to counter that view with an exultant rejoinder. So I made a film about a woman who, after years of domestic responsibilities, realizes that her intellectual, emotional, and sexual vibrancy are as powerful as ever. 

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

KM: Making this film took two years from initial visions and concepts to the actual shoot, and another six months of post-production to completion. As with many other projects, there were a number of twists and turns to get to the finish line!

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

KM: Deciding on the length was challenging. From a budgetary point of view, the shorter the film, the better, but from a creative point of view, the longer the film, the more opportunity to realize my vision completely. Ultimately, my goal was to tell a story as succinctly as possible.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

KM: GOLDEN was definitely a passion project. Everyone involved in both in front of and behind the camera made it happen in between numerous other projects. So coordinating all of our schedules for creative sessions and production meetings was a gargantuan task. Also, for this particular film, I needed to shepherd the development of choreography, music, and storyboarding in tandem, and the final musical flourishes only fell in place during editing. I’m sure my collaborators were stressed out at times! But they all put their faith in me to make a good film and I’m so grateful for that.

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

KM: I would say, the learning curve is as steep as a Himalayan peak and that’s exhausting sometimes! You’ll want to tap all your reserves of grit, determination, and clarity. Bringing in other artists and artisans more skilled than you are, and working with them in a true spirit of collaboration, make a good idea much better and the process more inspiring and fun, too. As I would say about all kinds of creative projects, follow the idea that won’t leave you alone, the one you keep turning over in your mind and daydreaming about relentlessly.  That’s when I’ve felt most fulfilled and alive.