The Scene: Girl Walk//All Day is a “71-minute dance music video of epic proportions, set to the tune of Girl Talk’s All Day.” That was the description the Girl Walk//All Day web site gave me when I began my research into this film two weeks ago; the day before I was to interview it’s director, Jacob Krupnick. I quickly read every word on the site, and watched the trailer twice. There were parts of the film released online in short chapters, but I chose to wait for the big screen, and simply repressed my urges. After interviewing Krupnick, I became even more interested in seeing this film. His enthusiasm and vision traveled through the phone and had me counting down the eight days until he brought the project to the Denver Film Center on Colfax. It had premiered in New York City only days before our conversation, and Denver was to be the films first trip outside of its home borough of Brooklyn.
As Denver Film Center programming Manager Keith Garcia gave us a rundown of the night, I heard something I had never heard in a movie theatre before: “Please feel free to get up and dance at any time during the film.” He then went on to explain how the film will be shown on various screens in the lobby, as well as in the two main theaters. Keith encouraged us to roam, dance and drink, all the while being able to experience the film on any of the 9 screens. Then we were introduced to our party and dance motivators, “Team Firefox.”
I really liked what I was hearing, but didn’t expect myself or the crowd to really embrace this lack of restriction. Well, I only made it twenty minutes in before I was dancing in the aisles and the open spaces of the theater, and more than half of the film goers joined me. We were able to walk into the lobby and watch the film on flat screens, the ceiling, or any number of other surfaces where it was being projected. As people danced and floated between the three bars that were open, I realized there was not a soul without a smile on their face. The film center quickly turned into one of the hottest dance clubs in Denver!
Girl Walk // All Day: The film itself is a deceleration of freedom and happiness. A dance student finds herself stifled in the world of formal dance training, and bursts on to the streets of New York to let it all out and just smile. From the moment the dialogue free film starts, the story line presents itself in the loose yet precise dance movements and the dramatic facial expressions of Anne Marsen. I can see how this woman sparked the idea for Krupnick’s feature length music video; she is a tornado of creative energy.
Every dancer/character in the film brought their own specific style of dance to act out the story based around Marsen, or “The Girl.” Dai Omiya interpretively tap danced his lines as “The Gentleman,” John Doyle got the audience going with his “popping” dance style as “the Creep,” and Dustin John shared his patented form of Vespa Dancing as “The Transporter.” There were various other dancers in the film, but some of the best characters were the people on the streets of New York.
If you have ever spent time in New York City, one of the things you may immediately notice is a lack of eye contact or a feeling of connection with those on the streets and subways with you. It is extreme individuality at its best; just leave me alone and let me get to where I have to go. It is rare to get a smile, nod, or hello from any of the thousands of people you will walk by in the course of a day. Watching the reaction, or lack thereof, of New Yorkers as these dancers made their way through the streets was just as interesting as the music and dancing itself.
Krupnick and crew danced their way through places like Times Square, Wall Street, Yankee Stadium, the Staten Island Ferry, the New York Dance Parade, 5th Avenue, Chinatown, The Museum of Natural History and the subway…just to name a few. This was not one of those call ahead or apply for permits type projects, but instead was filmed with handhelds and point and shoots in a guerilla fashion. It is amazing they only got kicked out of one location, but not surprisingly it was Yankee stadium!
Despite the renegade style filming, the film is a visual pleasure. The shots were vivid, bright and clear. Krupnick himself told me it was the largest screen he had ever seen the film on, and its crispness left him beaming with satisfaction! As a matter of fact, as I stood next to him for a good portion of the screening, I actually felt the joy, pride and gratitude radiate off of him. The crowd had a similarly strong vibe as we watched one of the most refreshing, unique and mood altering music related films we had ever seen.
When the film was over, everyone consolidated into the lobby and continued the party. Sure, some people went home; but a hell of a lot stayed for another viewing of the film, but with different music. No one seemed to want to leave, and Krupnick joined us and danced the night away.
There was nothing about this film or the screening that were run of the mill. I have never seen a 71 minute dance video set to a full album, and I sure never had that much fun in a movie theatre! The movie inspired you to break free from the norm, burst out of your shell, and just dance it out.
I think everyone in the room felt a sense of triumph in their own way: Krupnick for the overwhelmingly positive reception, the Denver Film Center for pulling off such an amazing event, and the 200 attendees for braving the ten inches of snow to partake in such a liberating experience! What started as a film screening at ten, ended as a dance party at almost two in the morning.