A film made by Plymouth University practitioner-researchers, Kayla Parker, Roberta Mock and Ruth Way, is currently screening for a month as part of the Out of Borders Venice International Experimental Art Festival.
Heaven is a Place is a community dance film made in collaboration with the advocacy organisation, Pride in Plymouth. It was part of an EU-funded cultural project called ‘Heaven on Earth?’ (with partners in Greece, Spain and Turkey), the over-arching purpose of which was to creatively interrogate the contemporary legacy and relevance of the French writer, playwright, filmmaker and activist, Jean Genet (1910-1986).
Heaven is a Place integrates a cast of emergent professional performers, working in a range of movement-based disciplines, with members of Plymouth’s lesbian, bisexual, gay and trans community. Based on a series of somatic movement workshops, its narrative concepts and movement scores reflect personal memories and LGBTQ histories of the city. It was made at some of Plymouth’s most spectacular and evocative waterside locations, in and through which were developed site-responsive physical vocabularies: its docks, military base, marinas, look-out points, cruising spots, clubs and bathing areas.
A discussion of the film will feature in a chapter for a book, entitled Community Filmmaking: Diversity, Practice and Places, to be published by Routledge next year, focusing on how – by developing a process-driven triangulation of thinking bodies, sexual subjectivities and emplacement – a movement-based performance for and through digital video might enable the acknowledgement, consolidation and reimagination of a community that has been either erased or marginalized in dominant accounts of its city.
Heaven is a Place premiered at two public engagement symposia organized in June 2014, the first in Greece and the second in Plymouth. A Cornwall Film Festival Competition Winner 2014, the film was also screened that year during Plymouth’s Pride parade, and subsequently within practice-as-research events as well as dance film, community and experimental film festivals (in Canada, Poland, Germany, and USA).
The film can currently be seen at the Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi in Venice until 16 January 2017 (open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm).