In early February 2012, I heard about a short filmmaking competition called Silicon Valley ArtShots where local filmmakers paired up with local artists and were given two weeks to create a 90-second micro-documentary capturing the spirit of the artist and their work. Always up for a new challenge, I approached my friend, Dalia Rawson, to see if she would be willing to share her personal story and be the subject of my short film.
Dalia Rawson is the School Principal of the Ballet San Jose School and is also the founder and artistic director of the award-winning Rawson Project Contemporary Ballet. From her years as an elite ballet dancer in training to her current work as a choreographer and dance instructor, Dalia has an incredible life story of overcoming obstacles and living life through dance.
After a week of following her with my camera through her long days of rehearsals, classes and workshops, I invited Dalia to my home studio to interview her for the film’s voiceover. I approached the project as I would a radio piece, editing her interview into a short narrative to fit within the 90-second time constraint. With a background score and the audio story complete, I assembled video clips from the week of shooting and stitched together the puzzle pieces into the final product.
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/36997714 w=948]
At the Silicon Valley ArtShots finale, my short film was awarded Best Overall, Best Presentation of the Artist and Most Inspiring by the judge’s panel. All of the Silicon Valley ArtShots films were screened during the San Jose ArtWalk in April and aired in rotation on CreaTV. My short film was also an official selection of the Silicon Valley Film Festival and screened at the Intel Theatre in November.
None of this would have been possible without the cooperation of the students and parents of the Ballet San Jose School and the members of The Rawson Project. Thanks to Nick Masculino of Less Than Three Productions for lending me his camera lenses, and thanks to my brother, Brandon Smith, for the lessons on color correction. But most importantly, thanks to Dalia and her brother, Cliff, for sharing such a personal story and letting me into their workspace and their home with a camera.