A film devoted to the long dance career of INESITA
The project that began on May 25, 2019 was an idea of Claudia Wells, actress ( of Back to the Future fame)and business woman whom I met in 2016.
We were immediately taken with each other as women who had long careers albeit in different worlds of the entertainment industry.
Numerous ideas were germinating in Claudia’s mind to bring my work to a wider commercial public. Ideas were explored in a number of areas such as talk shows; news stories on the major networks and even plans to have makeup and hair styling done. None of these approaches came to fruition as time went on.
The 10th anniversary of my association and collaboration with APAC under the artistic direction of William Yee was an opportunity to film the performance as a starting point. This was accomplished with the permission of Mr. Yee. Only later did I discovered that the footage used was hardly a complete view of my work but merely bits and pieces that highlighted only facial expression and much time on my feet and shoes without any thought to emphasize my technique. The date was May 25th, 2019.
On May 27th an elaborate crew with a great deal of technical equipment of cameras and lighting was set up in my home and effected an actual movie set to do an Interview with Claudia and me. All the furniture was rearranged to simulate a different scene.
At this moment it was announced that a 90 minute feature film was to be made. No prior discussion of this was offered to me. I was not given the privilege of deciding if I had any interest in a documentary of my career and life. This seems odd and unfair to say the least! Since the die was cast, there was no turning back. Five hours was spent in this indicial session. An interview conducted by Claudia herself and me; both of us dressed in glamorous clothes was filmed. A sequence devoted to my playing of the Harpsichord was wasted on up-close camera angles showing the inner workings of the instrument itself and little on my fingers over the keyboard. Some time was spent filming the surroundings of my property with its elaborate gardens front and back. More camera work was done in my dance studio with an explanation of my various percussion instruments such as castanets, tambourine and dance shoes; and the display of posters on the walls of past performances. Not a bad beginning, but it was only an introduction.
The following week later, another date for more footage was set up and an exhausting session of six hours ensued. I realized then that no clear plan or “script” was had. The hard work of six hours was wasted in a haphazard manner. Talk and demonstrations of the dance and a mock “lesson” was done with Claudia as the “student” which did not flatter her and seemed innocuous.
The film used did not show me to advantage and I regarded it as useless.
The following month I was booked into the Havana Bar and Restaurant for a show, (my ninth time) and the last I did. Calix Lewis Reneau became intensely interested in the event and arranged to spend the evening with Mario Colangelo and another lady assistant to film this performance.
When I announced that a small exhibit was set up at UCLA Library in connection with my Archive papers, Calix again was excited to shoot a sequence there. The staff at the Charles E. Young Research Library did not really give us permission but a day was arranged that we meet and do still another shoot.
After that we met two more times in my dance studio to film additional material of my activities. Again, the sessions lacked any specific plan or thought. Calix Lewis Reneau wanted to film me putting in a plea or “pitch” to Martin Scorsese the most prominent figure in the film world because of his early connection with the student indie film at NYU back in 1962/03 when he as the cameraman and three other young film makers became interested in my work as a “flamenco dancer” and were very eager to make a movie of my work. The original film which featured me in three dances with my own guitarist and flamenco singer ( both from Spain, was lost or discarded but “a work print” was made at the time which I had in my possession. This was eventually uploaded onto YouTube by Robert J Siegel the director of the 9 minute film.
Mr. Siegel was and is a great fan of mine and was interviewed in New York by associates of the production team here in Los Angeles. I have the interview and it is very complementary and it is most precious to me. However Robert seems to have trouble with some of the memories in connection with the work. He relates an incident where I invited him and Scorsese to our hotel for lunch for a Spanish meal. This never happened. I know. No such event took place. My memory remains excellent.
Finally, a concert was set up at El Arte Flamenco Dance Theater in Alhambra. The date was March 14, 2020 and called ‘An evening with Inesita”. This was planned for over a year by Clarita my singer and fellow artist of many years and on the Sunday before, our company of 10 rehearsed for three hours. The weekend of the 14th fatefully saw the outbreak of the pandemic and the sellout house of 150 was reduced to perhaps 20 hardy attendants to the performance. Out of fear of infection by the deadly Covid-19 understandably the film crew also abandoned us due to their concerns. It was suggested that because of my advanced age that I, too. should cancel. This I found outrageous and unprofessional and something I would never contemplate. I was furious that they expected me to do their bidding, To let everyone else down would be totally unfair. My obligation to the rest of the company was firm. I regarded this almost insulting and I was incensed by this idea. This does not mean I did not take the virus seriously. I took the risk knowingly. That was my prerogative.
The program was received with great success. Well wishers afterwards were eliminated as a precaution.
Even my wardrobe mistress and her husband, a film art director urged me to cancel and I flatly refused. No one was infected. I received a standing ovation after my final piece.
Following this an additional shoot was in order; and with my connection to Clarita as an artist and close friend, the crew set up a session at the location and an all day filming session was accomplished on August 28th. A compliance officer was in attendance to ensure safety and we were all required to be tested for Covid. I was negative as was the rest of the crew. I spent an arduous day of an interview on camera and was filmed in five of my costumes doing portions of dances for camera effects. And that was it. No more was or could be done with the virus running rampant through all our lives. I survived due to my strong constitution and immune system and was successfully vaccinated twice with no illness what so ever.
At last some editing was finished and I understand it was done by assistants and not the main producers/cameramen. These were individuals whom I don’t know and don’t know me.
Some of this material is undoubtedly interesting, but the slow motion effects begin to be repetitious; besides the pace cancels out the tensions in the dance patterns. The best passages of my performance seemed to be left out and the judgment of what is exciting or distinctive in my performance is not present. Narration by me used as a voice over is over done and distracts from the actual dancing.. However one item to me is effective and should be retained. At the end of the entire film which they presented, I am heard to say “My name is INESITA and I am a Spanish Dancer”. and then I disappear behind the curtain. A dramatic and special gesture.
At this point, I don’t know what will happen with the work. The production team wishes to continue. I remain dubious whether the results will reveal or impart my personal attitude about the art I have devoted my entire life.
Time will tell.