Director Elvira Lind on Bobbi Jene
Full Frame is proud to present the following Q+A with director Elvira Lind. Lind’s film, Bobbi Jene, will screen for free on June 22 as part of the Full Frame Road Show Summer Series, presented by Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. and American Tobacco Campus. The screening of Bobbi Jene is co-presented by the American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers.
Q: What drew you to this particular person and her story?
A: When I met Bobbi six years ago I immediately knew that I would want to follow her around with my camera. We were working together on one of her projects she was creating with a fellow friend of ours; I was filming a performance they did together. Bobbi was just magical to film and I knew right away that I wanted to work with her on my next project.
I wasn’t looking for a particular story when I met Bobbi, but was looking for a woman around my own age who I’d be able to identify with on some level. Someone who was facing the consequences of her choices as an artist—the loneliness, the struggle, the doubt, but also the satisfaction when following your instinct and finding your path. Bobbi was strong and inspiring, she was unchained by taboos, she was honest and she was about to change her life dramatically. So, I had a strong feeling it would be an interesting ride with her.
Q: Your access in this film is remarkable. Can you describe how you approached balancing intimate scenes of Bobbi Jene at home with footage of her dancing?
A: Bobbi enters a different world when she dances, expressing herself through movements is so ingrained and natural to her as an artist and as a human being, it is like another language. I think Bobbi uses dance as an outlet, both emotionally and as a way for her to digest reality. This became really important for me to try and portray in the film.
My editor Adam Nielsen and I spent a lot of time trying to carefully layer these different elements. It was important for us that it didn’t become a separate more fictional layer where Bobbi was interpreting her own story through dance. We wanted her dancing to be incorporated in the story just like it is in reality. The hope is that the audience will experience how her incredible artistic mind works, and how she processes what is happening in her life when she creates her pieces.
Q: Do you see similarities between your own process as a filmmaker and Bobbi’s as a choreographer? Between yourself and Bobbi as artists?
A: Creating a very personal film like this is a journey that you go on and really commit to, perhaps slightly similar to when Bobbi works on and performs her pieces—obviously nothing really compares to her commitment, but both things take a lot of determination. I think the reason why Bobbi and I were able to collaborate on such an intimate level making this film is because we both work from a place of curiosity for the process of the creation, rather than being driven by the result of the outcome.
Of course, the film itself is important to me, but the honesty in the scenes are, for instance, more important to me than what I could get if I tweaked reality a bit, so I don’t compromise. And neither does Bobbi, she’ll dance on with broken toes basically. So, in that way I guess we are similar. We go all in on what we make without compromise. We are an intense duo.
About the Director
Born in 1981 in Copenhagen, Elvira Lind graduated from City Varsity—School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town in 2006 majoring in documentary film. She has worked within that field since directing and shooting documentaries of various lengths for TV, cinema, and web on four different continents. Elvira now lives and works out of New York, where she also writes on various fiction projects.
Elvira’s first feature documentary Songs for Alexis competed at IDFA in 2014 and screened at a long list of international festivals; she received CPH:DOX new talent award in 2015; and her first international documentary TV series “Twiz and Tuck” launched on Viceland this year.
Bobbi Jene is Elvira’s second feature documentary, which premiered at Tribeca 2017.
For more information about the screening, including instructions for reserving free tickets via Eventbrite, please visit the Event page.