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Program Spotlight: How I Choose to Spend the Remainder of my Birthing Years, dir. by Sarah Lasley

Program 2: Saturday April 9th, 4:45pm
How I Choose to Spend the Remainder of my Birthing Years, directed by Sarah Lasley. Synopsis by filmmaker: Blending personal narrative with shared pop cultural experience, the artist manifests a longheld childhood fantasy set within the love scene from Dirty Dancing.

Any young woman of this day and age sees themselves within the words of the filmmaker Sarah Lasley’s How I Choose to Spend the Remainder of my Birthing Years. The film is an exploration into the sexual awakening so many of us have, primarily without ever even knowing it was happening. And Lasley delves into such a personal anecdote about a film that most people have seen, that most young women have seen, and has made an impression on so many young women. 


From watching the film we know that she chose Dirty Dancing because of her own growth from the film, but it also gives an easy avenue for the audience to understand what she felt because of how universal the film is, and how well understood the effect it has on those who watch it during their formative years.


There are few ways to describe the feelings that watching How I Choose to Spend the Remainder of my Birthing Years other than you feel seen. The experience described by Sarah is one that is specifically unique, it’s a generally well understood moment in every little girl’s life. It’s feelings that don’t make sense, and won’t for a long time, and it is so refreshing to hear your own perspective shared by another woman, especially when it’s in relation to such a culturally significant film as Dirty Dancing.


And when looking at the technical aspects, it is remarkable the achievements made when Lasley inserts herself into the scene, at some points dancing with the ghosting visage of Patrick Swayze executed expertly allowing us, the audience, to focus on the meaning of the image before us. There are no distractions or seams— thanks to Lasley’s impeccable technique, we get to appreciate the story laid out before us instead of being brought down by any unwelcome greenscreen fuzz..


At heart, the relatability of How I Choose to Spend the Remainder of my Birthing Years is the cornerstone of what sucks the audience in and keeps them engaged. It lets the audience know that their experiences are valid and should not be isolating in the slightest. 


The other films in Program 2 follow a similar spirit of unexpected juxtapositions, internal thought, mindfulness, and playfulness. Like Lasley’s film, several others rework footage from other sources: For All Audiences (dir. By Josh Weissbach) builds and unbuilds a movie trailer, while We are such stuff as dreams are made on (dir. by Sam Crane) attempts to re-stage Shakespeare in the, well, unexpected platform of Grand Theft Auto. HRDPF: A Brief Rendering (dir. By Emily M Van Loan), Ellery’s Body (dir. by Sarah Soucek), and Clara (dir. by Janelle VanderKelen) explore the images and spaces of memory. Twitch (dir. by Lauren Hammersley), Defabricated #2 (dir. by Biswajit Da), Binaural Glass (dir. by Shelley Hopkins), and Singing of the waters (dir. by Tassia Mila Novaes) offer abstracted imagery for meditation and enthrallment. Water Falls, New York City (dir. by Ann Deborah Levy) and Bell Jarred (dir. by Alexander Fingrutd) find new ways of looking at familiar spaces. Alexander Mosolov. Three Pieces (dir. by Natalia Ryss), The Withdrawal (dir. by Chandni Srivastava), Faceless (dir. by Thina Zibi & Slindile Mthembu) and I sit and look out (dir. by Gábor Balázs) combine non-traditional techniques with contemplative thought and expression. Finally, Simé Love (dir. by Ugo Vittu & Peter the Moon) is an explosion of playful animation techniques and music, and Death Valley (dir. by Grace Sloan) offers a collision of exuberance and mindfulness, not to mention apocalypse and yoga.

- Kat Shehan                                  

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