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10 minutes with Joanna Weller

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Make Your OWN Dance Film
10 minutes with Joanna Weller...

As part of Greenwich Dance's Online Festival and inspired by the tasks set in our Up My Street ONLINE films, we put a call out for anyone interested in filmaking who had little to no experience and gave four selected applicants the opportunity to make thier OWN dance film and have it edited by a professional.

Each successful applicant was paired up with a mentor, one of the four chorographers featured as part of Up My Street ONLINE, who offered creative guidance throughout the filmmaking process.

FILM THREE: Each Stitch Holds a Memory by Joanna Weller
Movement Director and Mentor: Zoie Golding
Editors: Matt Pear/Martin Collins

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I live in Blackheath where I retired six years ago after working in art therapy and community health in London's East End. I love being near the river and Kent countryside for long walks. I've also continued with my own art practice, I trained in textiles but now paint and work across the fields but never before film!

Before Make Your OWN Dance Film, what has been your relationship with Greenwich Dance?

I moved to Greenwich a few years ago and discovered Greenwich Dance almost by accident. I love to dance, especially contemporary and when I saw the Dancing To the Music of Time over 55s class, I knew I had to join. We have a fantastic teacher, Maria Ghoumrassi, a lovely and supportive group of dancers and the mix of dance and choreography works really well. Of course during COVID19, classes have been online for which I've been very grateful.

What inspired your idea for your film?

I use embroidery in my art work often to remember and give respect to the subject and I had begun to embroider nightdresses as a way of remembering those people who have died in care homes during COVID19. I also wanted to use the movement of hands as a way of expressing emotion and care for one another. Lastly, I wanted to make reference to being older and was thrilled that dancers from DTTMOT were happy to take part and contribute to the film.

What has been the biggest challenge you have had to face during the filmmaking process?

Without a doubt it's been having to do everything online from meetings to workshops, listening to music and all the technical stuff. I would have enjoyed being involved in the editing too but that just wasn't possible.

What was it like working with Zoie Golding?

Zoie was very professional and supportive. I felt she really listened to my ideas for the film and was fully invested in seeing them come to fruition. Her choreography was very sympathetic to the theme of the film and dancers taking part.

What do you hope people take away with them after watching your film?

I don't feel I can suggest what reactions people will have after watching the film as I believe they will all be different, but it would be nice if they wanted to watch it again!

Do you think you will continue to explore filmmaking?

I have enjoyed the experience so, yes, I've already got another idea!

What has been your highlight of the process?

I think, although working online has been the greatest challenge, it has also meant that all those involved, from the dancers who wanted to take part in the film, to all those involved in the making, we have all had to go that extra mile as a result of the technology and for that I am very grateful to everyone.

Jo's film, Every Stitch holds a Memory, will be going live on our Digital Stage and Youtube channel this Wednesday 16 December, be sure to check it out!