Flamenco is a cinematographers dream and in the opening words of a new documentary out of Los Angeles…
Dig deep enough, in every major city around the world and you will uncover a rich vein of flamenco artists and aficionados that have been struck by this powerful art form. A culture that reaches deep into your soul and lights a forever-burning fire, and yet! Understanding flamenco, is no small feat. Personally, I do not believe it can be taught easily. At some point a student – of say, flamenco dance – needs to go beyond the idea of attending a regular weekly class and begin on a lifetime study of flamenco’s rhythms, songs, instruments, palos, stars, legends and culture. This film puts it simply, you need to live it!
It takes a very special person to be able to lead someone down this rabbit hole and instil the respect that flamenco and its artists deserve. What often starts as a misunderstanding of what flamenco is, will, for a select few, become a lifetime of devotion and great joy!
Flamencos perform and teach their craft out of love for something they can no longer control. Passion is no longer a word that describes it, it is an obession! An ancient way of life, caught up in a modern world of classes, YouTube videos, gigs and digital profiles. In the 21st century it could never be more important to find; family, accompaniment, and above all, respect to stay true to the flamenco heartbeat.
Local flamenco shows and workshops are performed and conducted, rarely for profit, but instead, out of a genuine desire to keep the art alive in one’s city. Business and survival will always creep in, performers have to dance and play for their supper, at great expense to their energy reserves, and often for clients who have no understanding or respect for their unique talent. So, the rewards must therefore lie deeper. The self-confidence that comes from personal achievement, the inspiration that swells from seeing great flamenco, the simple expressions of appreciation from fans and students who understand, or that beautiful sound that only you hear, when the penny drops or the technique is under control. Flamenco is a world all unto itself.
Once you undertake flamenco, no task is ever the same. Walking, driving, taking a shower, sitting at a wooden table… Flamencos can hear their music, their sound, from the quietest corner of a noisy environment, it is a language the speaks from the heart and drags you in. A true flamenco aficionado can no longer listen to flamenco music as simply something played in the background, it immediately gets them clapping, shouting, dancing or contributing to the sound musically with some part of their body.
So yes, be warned… If you love flamenco YOU WILL love it until you die!
KUMPANÍA is a Romani word meaning ‘people who travel the same territory.‘
This new flamenco documentary film features; Antonio De Jerez (singer), Antonio Triana II (guitarist), Briseyda Zarate Fernandez (dancer), Gabriel Lautaro Osuna (guitarist & singer), Gerardo Morales (percussionist & guitarist), Jose Tanaka (guitarist), Joey Heredia (percussionist), Kai Narezo (guitarist), Manuel De la Cruz (dancer), Marysol Fuentes (singer), Mizuho Sato (dancer), Paloma Rios (dancer), Timo Nunez (dancer), Vanessa Acosta-Albalos (dancer) and many others.
Produced, Written and Directed by Katina Dunn. Cinematography by Avi Cohen. Film Editing by Noah Berlow. Music supervision by Kai Narezo. Sound design by Canyon Cody & Gnotes.
KUMPANÍA is now screening on the international film festival circuit and has already won; the Audience Award at the Madrid International Film Festival, Best Documentary at the On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival, and the Audience Award at the Buffalo International Film Festival.
One can only hope that a film festival in Australia, decides it would be a good idea to bring this film to our shores.
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