Imre van Opstal directs Endurance.
A film about the power of perseverance and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of challenging circumstances.
Words from Imre below.
I wanted to ask about any personal experiences in relation to the film’s themes, and how they might have informed the film you made?
I sought to honor the beauty of dance while acknowledging the complexities dancers face.
After a wonderful career as a professional dancer with Netherlands Dance Theatre and Batsheva Dance Company, I decided to fully embrace my choreographic aspirations. As I transitioned away from my dance career, I felt compelled to create something significant with my colleagues and friends, a testament to the journey shared by all dancers; the unwavering commitment, passion, and grueling training, the emotional and physical endurance poured into becoming the best artist possible, and the bittersweet act of leaving it all behind to start afresh.
Leaving the dance world involved profound grief, as dancers often grappled with confusion, a sense of loss in their community and identity, and anxiety about the unknown future. Martha Graham’s poignant words, “a dancer dies twice – once when they stop dancing, and this first farewell is the more painful,” resonated deeply.
A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.
Through my film, I sought to honor the beauty of dance while acknowledging the complexities dancers face in forging a new path, celebrating their resilience, and the art form that forever resides within their hearts.
You both directed and choreographed the film, could you talk about how you view the separate responsibilities of these two roles, and how they interact when fulfilling both?
With only one rehearsal day and one shooting day, my primary focus was on capturing a feeling rather than narrating a story. I intentionally avoided rigid choreography, as I believed it would limit the emotional impact I wanted to convey through movement and the camera.
Taking on the roles of both director and choreographer, I carefully discerned the project’s needs, aiming to create powerful visuals that seamlessly intertwined with the camera’s movements, allowing both elements to exist in symbiosis.
Film, in particular, fascinates me as it permits precise manipulation of the audience’s perspective, though it lacks the three-dimensional nature of stage performances.
Film, in particular, fascinates me as it permits precise manipulation of the audience’s perspective, though it lacks the three-dimensional nature of stage performances. Nonetheless, the camera provides a unique avenue to convey the dancer’s emotions in ways that are impossible to achieve onstage.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am reading ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
- Director of Photography
- Hadas Robicheck
- Jenny Danilenko
- Hen Yanni, Rotem Frimer, Yael Naim