With New York based filmmaker Alla Kovgan, we spark a conversation to find out why and how she realized CUNNINGHAM. The 2019 documentary traces American choreographer Merce Cunningham’s artistic evolution over three decades.
Kovgan directed the immersive film that took seven years to make. She and her collaborators channel the spirit and image of Merce Cunningham—from his early years as a struggling dancer in postwar New York to his emergence as one of the world’s most visionary choreographers. With new technology, Kovgan creates the film in both 2D and 3D versions. She frees Cunningham’s oeuvre from the constrictions of the stage, projecting his work into an infinite realm of the senses.
Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio and Photography courtesy Magnolia Pictures
About CUNNINGHAM: 2019 marked the centenary of legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham. The film CUNNINGHAM traces his artistic evolution over three decades of risk and discovery (1944–1972), from his early years as a struggling dancer in postwar New York to his emergence as one of the world’s most visionary choreographers. The 3D technology weaves together Merce’s philosophies and stories, creating a visceral journey into his innovative work. Sharing archival footage of Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Rauschenberg, CUNNINGHAM is a tribute to one of the world’s greatest modern dance artists.
About Alla Kovgan: Alla Kovgan is a New York-based filmmaker, born in Moscow (Russia). Her films have been presented worldwide. Since 1999, Kovgan has been involved with interdisciplinary collaborations, creating intermedia performances (with KINODANCE Company), dance films and documentaries about dance. With CUNNINGHAM, she created a film that is neither a straightforward biopic nor a traditional concert film. Cunningham was conceived as a 93-minute art piece that would tell the master’s story through his work.
About Merce Cunningham: Merce Cunningham, considered the most influential choreographer of the 20th century, was a many-sided artist. He was a dance-maker, a fierce collaborator, a chance taker, a boundless innovator, a film producer, and a teacher. During his 70 years of creative practice, Cunningham’s exploration forever changed the landscape of dance, music, and contemporary art. Visit Merce Cunningham Trust to explore his history.
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