Grace Fury: A Voice With Legs

Expanding upon her 2018-2019 film festival success with Grace Fury, Scottish dancer/ballerina turned choreographer/filmmaker, Laura Carruthers, reconciles her doubts and desires to make an independent feature film by reflecting on her foundations, retracing her steps, and assembling her discoveries. Grace Fury: A Voice With Legs emerges. With a dynamic cast of professional dancers, Carruthers takes us on a *lyrical* journey through her mind and experience over the years in tradition and on the creative frontier.

Playfully expressed in body and word, with much left to mystery and interpretation, her graceful musings, intimate to cosmic, become the film itself. As she spirals through “the elements” of her journey, she wrestles with core insights, questions, hopes and frustrations that both empower and confront the artist, firsthand – unsheltered by industry or institution. In a final moment of darkness, she draws strength from the stars. She rebounds, reaches out to open hearts and minds, and finds new resolve to keep going from a different place of awareness and purpose on her road less traveled.

The grace and fury of one woman’s passion can embody and move big ideas.

The film is a song of devotion and defiance, in unique “dance-umentary” format, with only the last fifteen minutes offering a more familiar, behind-the-scenes view of her making from different cast and crew perspectives. She speaks to everyone and all ages, but especially to lovers of artistic freedom, exploration, and purpose…to curious imaginations that want to groove with the music, movements, images, and ideas, bonded at the heart of an artist, as she grows from dancer to filmmaker to Grace Fury: A Voice With Legs.


Film Festival Recognition

Winner: West Europe International Film Festival - Best Editing

West Europe International Film Festival – Brussels, Belgium — Best Editing

Winner: Manhattan Film Festival - Best Experimental Film

Manhattan Film Festival – NYC — Best Experimental Film

Winner: Golden State Festival - Best Dance Film

Golden State Film Festival – L.A. — Best Dance Film

Winner: Fusion International Film Festivals - Rising Talent Award

Fusion Film Festival – Warsaw, Poland — Rising Talent Award

Winner: SF International New Concept Film Festival - Best Director & Choreography

San Francisco International New Concept Film Fest — Best Director & Choreography

Winner: WorldFest Houston - Platinum Remi Award

WorldFest – Houston International Film Fest — “Platinum” Remi Award

Winner: World Music & Independent Film Festival - Best Woman Filmmaker

World Music & Independent Film Fest — Best Woman Filmmaker

Official Selection: BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Fest Chicago

BLOW-UP International Arthouse Film Fest – Chicago – Official Selection

LA Underground Film Forum: Honorable Mention for its vision and contribution to cinema

L.A. Underground Film Forum – Honorable Mention for vision & contribution to cinema

Finalist: Brazil Film Festival

Brazil International Film Festival – Finalist

Official Selection: Chicago Amarcord Arthouse Fest

Chicago Amarcord Arthouse TV and Video Awards – Official Selection

Nominations: International Filmmaker Festivals - Nice, Madrid, Amsterdam

International Filmmaker Fest of World Cinema – Nice, Madrid, Amsterdam – Nominations

Official Selection: Canada Independent Film Fest - Ontario

Canada Independent Film Festival – Official Selection

Honorable Mention: Experimental Film Fest - Los Angeles

The Experimental Forum – L.A. — Honorable Mention

Official Selection: International Women's Film Fest

International Women’s Fest – Official Selection

Official Selection: Glendale Film Festival - Glendale, California

Glendale International Film Fest – Glendale, CA – Official Selection


Critical Comments…

“Thought provoking and freeing, immensely entertaining and trailblazing…to weave together all of these artistic disciplines into a cohesive whole is nothing short of miraculous and impossible to forget…leaves you ready to watch it again…an absolute must see for connoisseurs of the arts and unique, compelling artistic expressions.”

— Richard Propes,
The Independent Critic

“…master visionary with that magic combination of creative rebelliousness to make her mark…a fully immersive, fantastical experience…a journey of self-discovery through the eyes of a dancer that dares to challenge the paradigms…an important story with a very human appeal…”

— Jana Ritter
in Magazine / inmag.com

“…a very good job on the editing… It really did capture the beauty of the art form and how fluid those movements are…There’s a level of calmness that comes with watching these performances… so much honesty in the way she is delivering her thoughts…this documentary was refreshing and inspiring. True creatives and artists will appreciate the work that has been done.”

— Amanda Guarragi,
Candid Cinema

“…can’t help but notice a natural exuberance and magnetism that translate across Celtic, classical, and contemporary techniques…Her overarching artistic philosophy is intrinsically bound to her unshakable insistence that art have a place in today’s increasingly money-focused and conformist culture…impossible not to be inspired…The film is a beautifully intimate experience… but it also speaks to the greater human experience.”

— Analise Electra Smith-Hinkley,
Notes From The Salon

“…definitely one of the most rare and unique artist/storytellers I’ve come across in a long time.”

— Mike Sargent,
Reelworld/Niteshift, WBAI-FM / NYC

“Breathtaking choreography and cinematography…riveting, thought-provoking…biopic dance documentary interspersed with poetic narration and gorgeous scenic video clips…”

— Wendy Schadewald,
Short Redhead Reel Reviews

“The piece seems to combine all the training, technique, and passion Laura has for all the forms she’s explored into a kind of catharsis… explores the childlike frivolity of the title character, but also offers social critique, a call to action…”

— Joya Mia Italiano
Huffington Post

“…breathing new life into Scottish Highland Dancing…Grace Fury offers up boundless variety.”

— Pop Culture Passionistas

“…stunning…well executed, well scripted, and well performed…”

— Herbert Golder,
Writer, Director, Professor of Classical Studies,
Boston University


Director’s Statement…

Grace Fury_Director_Photo by JReiss

My journey in and out of circles, some long-established and some short-lived, fundamentally informs Grace Fury. My early, family-driven enculturation in competitive Scottish Highland Dance eventually shifted to fast-track training in classical and contemporary dance which led me to membership in a State ballet company and its culture.  These community experiences in conjunction with academic study in history, philosophy, math, and drama, graduate work in justice and ethics, and a lifelong passion for film, all influenced my curious ventures into independent production. I have created and directed various works for stage and film over the past twenty years that have migrated from one interest or idea to the next, each one influenced by the previous.

To that point, I have woven preserved elements of earlier works into this “evolved” culmination of my artistic struggles and successes. By building Grace Fury’s uniqueness, in part, from projects past, I sought to authenticate my dance over time. Moreover, I did so to bring a kind of wholeness or life to the film. That is, Grace Fury doesn’t pretend to offer a narrowly focused rendering of “perfection, but rather she exists to reflect being – aesthetically and philosophically alive. “Somewhere between” Celtic, Classical and Contemporary, fiction and non-fiction, whimsical theatre and cerebral film, the idealistic and realistic, at times confident, otherwise conflicted and multidimensional Grace Fury spirals to a new destination. From the depths of her darkness, she finds light. She recognizes her limits in co-existence with so many others in struggle to find happiness and peace and promises to grow in mind and mission, if allowed. But to reach the stars – for real – is to be true. She resolves, by cosmic duty, to keep going … in the words of Walt Whitman, to “contribute a verse”.

Grace Fury: Pep TalkIt’s no wonder Grace Fury defies the boundaries of genre, heretofore received as a musical dance film, an autobiographical documentary, an experimental work, and an arthouse production. As such, she also defies a dangerously dominant, utilitarian approach to art that threatens its very definition, sees it as just another route to money-making and mass addiction rather than mass development, and reduces us to tool and consumer in algorithm and business model. But, in the words of Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society “We’re not laying pipe. We’re talking about poetry”, and like other projects in the world, the daring consequence of Grace Fury’s complex being actually broadens her scope. It makes her my living, emergent experience – greater in purpose than the sum of her parts. (Thank you, Aristotle).

In her totality, I see my resistance to all the forces, insidGrace Fury Director Talks to DP - Photo by TPratte and out, that warp and degrade human creativity, but I also find my point. Our common power to let imagination and skill run wild together and into form, so we might delight, frustrate, and engage minds, so we might open doors and conversations with each other, makes it all worthwhile. Art is one beautiful reason why we even bother to make money and to live. The art in us gives us some redeeming justification, through the worst of times and the worst in us, to thrive. Our personal stories, however remote, can be epic and timely in that effort. They can serve a broader purpose and make a difference in shaping and sustaining a healthier world. If we lose sight of that ambition and perspective, which cannot and should not come from the same routes, places and people, exhaustively for all the wrong reasons, then we lose our humanity, our true greatness –- what defines us beyond our bones and basic survival.

Grace Fury: Laura Carruthers, Director Shot List Review - Photo by TPrattGrace Fury is my voice, real and sincere, not by exclusive platform, but by artistic action from the ground up, with all I’ve got and the help of friends. She is the walk in my talk. She is the change I want to see in myself and in the world, to paraphrase another great spirit. She respects the grace and intelligence of her audience, which is not her failing, but a compliment and a call to action, an invitation to dance for 76 minutes and to collaborate forever after. She is my activism and my peace – my Grace Fury. May all of her edges and curves, moods and mystery, insight and imperfection – her full, nuanced being – brought to life with little institutional or industry support “touch for good” and move hearts to join me in her message of hope and faith – in us. (Published March 15, 2021)


Cast & Crew…

Executive Producer
Carruthers & Co., LLC

Grace Fury Action: Laura Carruthers - Photo by JReiss

Producer, Director, Choreographer, Production Designer, Writer, Editor, Voice
Laura Carruthers

Co-Producer
Mark Grossman

Associate / Casting Producers
John J.Todd, Matthew Powell, Seth Belliston

Dancers
Seth Belliston, Laura Carruthers, Matthew Powell, John J. Todd, Kim Mikesel,
Deanna Doyle, Richard Glover, Evan Swenson, Monica Stephenson,
Lauren Hamilton, Lawrence Neuhauser, Kelly Ann Sloan,
& Carlos Hopuy

Graphics
Mark Grossman, Laura Carruthers

Grace Fury_Camera, Direction, Lighting_Photo by TPratt
Alex Theatre – Glendale, California Unit

Chief Director of Photography
Anka Malatynska, ASC

 Documentary Camera
Liz Hinlein

Production Manager, First Assistant Director
Kim “Kacy” Palmieri

Co-Director of Photography
Danny Alaniz

 Lighting Designer
Jared A. Sayeg

Light Programmer, Board Operator
Chris Osborne

Grace Fury_Center House Camera_Photo by TPratt

Camera Operators
Danny Alaniz, Michael “Jake” Kerber,
Edd Lukas, James Takata

Steadicam
James Takata

Camera Assistants
Barry Sebert, Tom Funk, Daniel “Benny” Bailey

 Data Managers
Lance Hashida, Jennifer O’Leary, Mark Grossman

Dolly Grips
Paulie Lambiase, Deric Ned, Casey Slade

Grace Fury: Touch Up - Photo by JReiss

Lead Make-Up/Hair
Ann “Abby” Lyle Clawson

Key Makeup Assistant to Ms. Lyle
Emily Blackmun

Makeup Assistant to Ms. Blackmun
Michelle Anyanwu

Costuming
The Dancers

Wardrobe Consultant
Richard Glover

Wardrobe Assistants
Ann “Abby” Lyle, Seth Belliston

Still Photographers
Josh Reiss, Terry Pratt

Catering/Craft Service
Andrea Bessey, LA Spice Catering

 Production Assistants
Velvet Blackbear, Abelardo “Abel” Orta

Set Construction
Darrell Comte, ArizonaTheme Built

Grace Fury: From The House - Photo by TPratt
Alex Theatre – House Staff & Crew

Director of Marketing and Events
Maria Sahakian

Theatre Manager
Jack Allaway

Tech/Stage Liasion, Superviser
Robert O’Neill

Event Services Manager (Front of House)
Lee Lightfoot

 Master Electrician
Brendan Grevatt

Stage Electricians
Kyle Ross, Max Foreman,
Jacob DeWilde, Brianna Pattillo

House Audio
Darren Mora

Master Carpenter
Boston Stergis

Stage Carpenters
David Hemphill

Equipment Vendors
VER
Hollywood Rentals
Atomic Production Supplies
JL Fisher, Inc.
Rose Brand
Tempe Camera

Grace Fury at Ancient Stone Carving Scotland

Argyll, Scotland Unit

Director of Photography
Alan McSheehy

Assistant Director of Photography
Alick Fraser

Sound Operator / Recordist
Cameron Mercer

Jib Operator
Kenneth Moulson

PDG Helicopters

Grace Fury: On A Road Less Traveled

Carefree & Kirkland, AZ Unit

Director of Photography
Jim Jacques

First Camera Assistant
Mark Grossman

Production Assistant
Renee Sarkis

Graphics
Torsten Voss

***

Pasadena Dance Theatre, CA Unit

Director of Photography
James Chressanthis, ASC

First Assistant Camera
Scott Birnkrant

Key Grip & Dolly
Scott Johnston

Production Manager
Mark Grossman

Production Assistant, Props Master
Steve Heggarty

Production Vendors
Panavision, Inc,
Chapman/Leonard, Inc.,
Grosh Backdrops & Drapery,
J L Fisher, Inc.

***
MUSIC

Brigadoon – Frederick Loewe
Prologue/ Brigadoon
Down in MacConnachy Square
Come to Me, Bend to Me
The Chase
I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean

Johann Sebastian Bach
Goldberg Variation No. 22
Invention No. 4
Toccata and Fugue
Sifonia No. 15

John Allan
The Opening
Performed by John Allan (ASCAP)

Francis “Fritz” A. Doddy
Fire: Ablaze
Earth: Groundwork
Wind: Freedom Finale

Performed by Elias Arts LLC
Elias Arts Music Design (ASCAP)

Laura Carruthers
Other and all traditional and Classical music arrangements


Music Mastering
Matthew Murman

Film & Audio Mix/Mastering
Bob Giammarco
AE Media, Inc. – NY/Phoenix

Grace Fury: Cast & Crew - Photo by TPratt

Special Thanks

Connie Carruthers, Mark Grossman,
James Chressanthis,
John J. Todd, Seth Belliston,
Matthew Powell, Deanna Doyle,
John Abarta (pipes & Percussion),
John Allan, Susan Winsberg,
Fritz Doddy, Vincenzo Lorusso,
Cynthia Young – PDT,
Bob Harvey – Panavision,
David Stoller – Enterprise Travel,
Robert Schimmel – KOWL

To all friends and colleagues, at home and abroad, who have inspired and helped along the way