CE. Why did you want to make a dance movie in particular? Was your original intention to make an hour long feature music video?
JK. You hear a lot about how the attention span is shrinking, and it would seem like evidence for this is pretty much everywhere. I wanted to try and make a film that would truly hold you captive, and that you might become so immersed in, or so possessed by, that you’d want to get up and join it. Music videos – these brief, conceptual, imaginative films – were the most intriguing thing on television to me when I was growing up, and I’m excited by using music to amplify life’s experiences, whether it’s at a party, a restaurant, or within a film.
CE. What was the audition process like with the dancers?
JK. I met Anne and John while filming dancers for a separate project several years before making Girl Walk. I asked ordinary people to come and dance to a favourite song, alone, for a camera. Anne walked in and performed an improvised routine to a Daft Punk song and I was completely blown away – I’d never seen anyone move so fluidly from one style to the next. In general, it was more important that the dancers could collaborate well and be flexible and feel personal investment than for them to be technically perfect. Our reach-out was mostly word-of-mouth, and in fact, we didn’t do any formal auditions.
CE. Was it difficult to film in the streets of New York? Did you need permits for filming at the Yankee Stadium and Central Park?
JK. Girl Walk // All Day was imagined as a celebration of public space – and what we can still do outside without being hampered by bureaucracy. We shot with an extremely light kit and crew, staying very mobile, and working without permits. Working within the streets provides a unique set of challenges – films are generally made with very little left to chance – but this is probably the biggest element that distinguishes Girl Walk from other films.
CE. How did you discover the artist Girl Talk? Do you feel it was lucky you found an hour length track in order to go along with the film?
JK. I’ve known Girl Talk’s music since his first mash-up album, Nightripper. I happened to be working down in Miami when his album All Day came out, and the first time I heard it, I knew it had the right broadness, intensity, and familiarity to make it the perfect soundtrack to set a feature-length dance adventure to. I also knew it was music I could listen to again and again and maintain freshness, which was crucial.
CE. Were the audience interactions improvised or planned?
JK. You have to start with a plan even if you ditch it the moment something more interesting comes along. There are a few moments in the film where we make it pretty clear that we’re working with the public – like with the Single Ladies scene down on Wall Street.
CE. What has the reaction been like from the public behind the screen and on screen?
JK. Reactions to the film are unbelievably joyous. It’s been the experience of my life sharing Girl Walk with people on beaches, in museums, at conferences and restaurants, and seeing their connection to what is happening before them. And occasionally it turns into the most positive dance scene on earth, which makes me very happy to see.
CE. What are the main messages you wish people to take away after watching your film?
JK. Never contain your excitement — we need to see more positive energy before our eyes.
CE. So what’s next?
JK. I’ve been making short films for the last year, and planning another film movement-film. Stay tuned, London: you’re in my headlights.