dir Sarah Elgart
Ghost Story follows four dancers in search of a narrative as they prowl the interiors and exteriors of Bjarke Ingels’ new “court scraper” VIA 57 West in NYC, responding to the building’s architecture and scale with movement. While the image of a figure in a red rain slicker is occasionally seen lurking or giving chase, two male dancers, Ghost and Storyboard P, often emerge as the real mysterious and more sinister seeming characters.
VIA 57 West’s was recently awarded the Deutsches Architekturmuseum’s (DAM) 2016 International High Rise Award (IHA). Artist Stephen Glassman’s “Flows Two Ways”, the 8-story sculpture forming its entry, was heralded by Architect’s Newspaper as “The most innovative New York City wall work in fifty years”.
words from the filmmaker
Before I made Ghost Story, my husband, Visual Artist Stephen Glassman, was in the middle of a 20 month project in which he had been commissioned to create an 8-story-sculpture in NYC. The sculpture, Flows Two Ways, acts as an entrance to Architect Bjarke Ingels flagship building Via 57 West in New York City. It's an incredible building… a pyramid shaped sky scraper overlooking the Westside Highway and the Hudson River - that encompasses most of an entire Manhattan block. Obviously, Stephen was spending a lot of time in NY and I would periodically go with him and also spend time at the building. As a site-specific choreographer I almost always intrinsically respond to sites with ideas for movement… it’s kind of my way of seeing and responding to space and place. But - interestingly enough (to me) - I wasn’t actually thinking about doing anything there. One day in LA, we were driving around and out of the blue Stephen said to me, “Sarah, you should do a dance film in VIA 57 West." It hit me so hard as absolutely right that I actually wept. I was in pre-production for months, and lots of great things just fell into place. We enlisted Aaron Slavin, Stephen’s SG Studios Project Manager (and great friend) as Producer. I found my amazing DP, Victoria Sendra in NY, I was led to 3 great dancers from NYC: Chelsea Bonosky, Storyboard P, and Albert aka “The Ghost” Esquilin Jr…. And a dancer with whom I had already worked a great deal, Charissa Kroeger - was going to be in NYC at exactly the time we were shooting. Then at the eleventh hour, just as I was about to go with a Plan B, Issey Miyake signed on the provide his incredibly beautiful and architectural clothing line for the film. My biggest problems were figuring out which spaces in the building I was not going to use… and also - in editing - sifting through five and a half hours of gorgeous, usable footage with my amazing editor Steve Pyne.
Finally, at the time I made Ghost Story I was still mourning the recent death of my father. The entire process of creating the film was an evolution out of mourning, and into the next stage of acceptance. I was raised with art as a religion in my family - both my parents were painters - so somehow, making work and getting creatively and artistically engaged, always engenders hope and new possibility for me. I’m grateful to all involved, especially to my husband, who’s beautiful work is also of course, a central site and feature in the film.
why we love this film
A fascinating contrast between movement quality and architectural design.
Studio Executive Producer
Hair & Makeup
Albert Esguilin Jr. (aka "Ghost")
Chappelier Fou "Darling, Darling, Darling"
Sarah Grace Mariani
meet the filmmaker
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