Episode 022: Sima Gonsai

This week is the 3rd episode in 4-part Flatpack Festival special. Flatpack is a really inventive and subversive event that happens in Birmingham every year, screening a whole host of films and art forms that you might not have seen before. And in that vein, I was really chuffed to get to speak to this week’s guest Sima Gonsai, who is an independent film director and producer specialising in screen dance.


Screen dance is a movement-based arts form that combines cinematography with choreography in its storytelling. Sima will do a much better job of explaining what that is and how she came to be involved in it. This year at Flatpack she programmed an event called Merce Cunningham at 100: Innovations in Screen Dance, in which she explored  the ongoing conversation between dance, film and digital technology through a brief history of Merce Cunningham, a pioneering contemporary dancer and an early innovator in splicing performance with projected imagery.


So I’ll admit I was slightly out of my comfort zone for this interview, because visual arts is something I know next to nothing about and I really was asking questions without much understanding of what Screen Dance was, but it turned out to be really fascinating. We talk a lot of about funding, about being an independent filmmaker and what that looks like, as well as how Sima’s career changed after she had her daughter, so I really appreciate Sima’s honesty there. I think Sima is testament to the fact that you can make and screen your work even if it doesn’t fit neatly into a category or operates outside the mainstream.