"Five Dances" is a lovely low-budget independent film from director Alan Brown, which SFGN recently reviewed.
Now Alan Brown talks to SFGN about his beautiful coming-of-age film, which centers around Chip (Ryan Steele), a young gay man who comes out and finds first love as he searches for his footing in the dance world.
SFGN: You seem to know the dance world well. Are you or have you been a dancer?
Alan Brown: I'm an OK social dancer, but I've never been a professional dancer. I'm an enthusiastic dancegoer. My love of dance inspired the film. I included a small dance segment in my film "Super Heroes.” I really loved working with the dancers and that put the idea for "Five Dances" in my head.
SFGN: Is the film at all autobiographical, such as the coming out/first love storylines?
Brown: Not at all. It's a sweet, very romantic coming out story—don't we all wish we had that story? I was inspired to create the story by having the guys in my cast. They're really sweet guys, and the story was created for them.
SFGN: What about Chip's overbearing Mom?
Brown: My mom was very lovely and loving, but I have plenty of friends who have nightmarish moms. I just made the mom in the film up.
SFGN: Do you mind if we ask whether or not you're gay?
Brown: I'm a gay filmmaker. It's important to deal with gay film subjects because there's not enough of them out there. It's important to have positive gay love stories. Older gay men have told me they wished they had these when they were younger.
SFGN: It was interesting, and strange, in the film, to see the dancers rehearsing to silence. I think most audience members expect to see dancers moving to music.
Brown: Our choreographer created the pieces to silence, which is very frequent in contemporary dance. Rehearsals are usually done in silence so the choreographer can talk to people and go into-explain-things. "Five Dances" is a peek into the reality of the dance world.
SFGN: How difficult can it be to market a low-budget niche audience film?
Brown: I don't directly deal with marketing. When I make my films I know they have a limited and specific audience. Financing is the most difficult aspect of it; I would make many more movies if the financing were easier. My films don't require much money, and I'm lucky to be in New York City. There's a great talent pool willing to work for little money. If you're going to sign on for my films you do it because you actually like the process of it; the creative process is very satisfying.
SFGN: How has the film done?
Brown: It's done well. It's played overseas in Europe and Asia and won prizes. For a tiny little film I'm very gratified. It makes me particularly happy because the dancers worked so hard. I can give back to them.
"Five Dances" is now on DVD.