A local dance connection to ‘Madeline,’ thanks to Filmworks and Fresno City College

Fresno Filmworks embarked on a special collaboration with Fresno City College to complement its screening of “Madeline’s Madeline,” which plays 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Tower Theatre. Here’s the story:

The film: This experimental theater drama is a portrait of a teenager’s desire for self expression contrasted with a mother’s inherent impulse to protect. Newcomer Helena Howard stars as Madeline, who has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop’s ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur.

Pictured at top: Helena Howard in ‘Madeline’s Madeline.’

The critique: “Madeline’s Madeline” is “a raw depiction of the fluidity of reality within the creative process, which is reflective of writer/director Josephine Decker’s own relationship to the film. The story’s authenticity is amplified through the relentlessly intimate cinematography of Ashley Connor.”

The Filmworks idea: Board member Susana Sosa suggested that the organization try a collaboration with Cristal Tiscareno of Fresno City’s dance department. Board president Jefferson Beavers and vice president Rita Bell met with eight of Tiscareno’s students, watched the film’s trailer together and talked about the film’s themes.

The result: The students went to work creating three original dance pieces inspired by the trailer.

The timeline: Tiscareno had her students develop “little work studies” to explore ideas connected with the film, then saw “drafts” of the performances five days after that and gave them feedback. “And then we came back to film everyone just seven days after we first met them,” Beavers says.


The takeaway: “It was an amazing experience for me and Rita to work with these students,” he adds. “Cristal’s students showed such an extraordinary level of professionalism and heart. And I think their performances all touch on one of the main questions of the film — how far is a performer willing to immerse herself into the art?”

Are you a member of The Munro Review? Win a pair of tickets to ‘Madeline’s Madeline’ at Fresno Filmworks

The Friday program: Filmworks made one mashup of the three videos to show on the big screen, and the dancers will be there to be recognized from stage. The three original videos are available on the Filmworks YouTube channel, and you can watch them individually below. They really are quite delightful. For more details on the titles and dancers, go to the Filmworks blog.



Pulled Away from Reality

Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (1)

  • Jackie Ryle

    Loved reading this! So wish I could see it! Teaching schedule prevents


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