A Film By: Rob Fruchtman, Cornelia Ravenal, Mikael Södersten, Wendy Sax
Released: 2019 (educational)
Year of Production: 2018
Running Time: 84 min
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects: Arts, Multicultural Studies
Six diverse dancers from the acclaimed Battery Dance company travel the world to work with young people who have experienced war, poverty, prejudice, sexual exploitation, and severe trauma as refugees, teaching them the tools of choreography so that they can tell their stories through dance.
The film follows them to India, where they work with girls rescued from sex trafficking and gender violence; to Romania, with Roma (gypsy) kids from one of Europe's worst slums; to South Korea, with young North Koreans who risked their lives to escape; and to Iraq, where they work with a gifted young Muslim dancer, fighting to survive.
Incredibly, they have just one week to teach the tools of choreography and collaboration to kids who may be enemies, who may have been abused, who may be suspicious and fearful, so that they can create dances to perform for their communities. As they struggle to break through, the teachers confront their own frustrations. Yet their students respond in extraordinary ways - and as they prepare to perform in public in what seems an impossibly short time, both students and teachers experience surprising transformations, unlocking feelings and stories in wellsprings of creativity.
Winner of the Best Documentary Chesapeake Film Festival 2018
“With luck, “Moving Stories” and Dancing to Connect will inspire more adventures in creativity- and empathy-based cultural diplomacy. Art like this is not going to change the world as a whole. Evidently, though, it can make a royal difference for one scared soul at a time.” – Psychology Today
About the filmmakers
Rob Fruchtman is an award-winning director and editor of documentaries and television. He won the 2002 Documentary Director award at the Sundance Film Festival for Sister Helen, which aired on HBO, as well as three Emmies and several nominations for his work with HBO and PBS. He directed and produced Seeing Proof, about the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and its lingering effect on Cambodia for George Soros’ Open Society Institute. He also made Trust Mefor Showtime, about Jewish, Christian, and Islamic boys at an interfaith camp. He directed all 13 episodes of Samurai Sportsman for the Outdoor Life Network and Secrets of Angels, Demons & Masons, based on Dan Brown’s best-selling novels. His last film, Sweet Dreams, made with sister Lisa Fruchtman, about a women’s drumming troupe made up of women from both sides of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, has been screened and broadcast around the world.
Cornelia Ravenal (Producer, Writer) has won accolades as a writer and producer of theater and film. She was a producer of the NY Times Critics Pick Nirbhaya off-Broadway and has won 5 Best Awards at 25+ film festivals. As founder of WIP (Women Independent Producers), she’s an activist for women in the industry. Previously, she worked as a journalist in the U.S. and India.
Mikael Södersten (Producer, Co-Editor) has worked on over 70 narratives and documentaries in the U.S. and his native Sweden. As Scandinavia’s leading script doctor, he has developed winners at Sundance and Tribeca, including Let the Right One In and the Oscar-nominated Tinker Tailor Solider Spy. As a filmmaker, he produced and directed several award-winning shorts and two films broadcast on Swedish TV.
Wendy Sax (Producer) associate produced Particle Fever (New York Film Festival, Telluride, Abu Dhabi, Audience Award/Sheffield and the Stephen Hawking Award). As Artistic Director of IFP / Independent Film Week, work presented during her tenure included Academy Award Winner Born Into Brothels, Mad Hot Ball-Room, and Sundance winner Frozen River. She also co-produced the Sundance winner SongCatcher.