Last October, Nicki and I attended Stillmotion’s intense 1-day KNOW workshop in Philadelphia. Stillmotion’s devotion to finding ways to tell meaningful stories is incredibly inspiring. So when I had the opportunity to sign up for their 11-week Take Action Challenge, I didn’t hesitate.

This course focuses on every aspect of every decision you make for every single shot of every movie affect your viewer and your story. Why use a wide angle lens and not a telephoto? Why have an interview subject stand instead of sit? Why have someone look out of a frame instead of into a frame? For 11 weeks we worked through questions like these, all leading up to… the Final Project.

For my final project, I chose to tell the story of Savanna Stein, 10-year-old Irish dancer.

I’ve known Savanna and her family for over 8 years. Savanna’s mom, Jenny, has shot weddings with me, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for her as a photographer, a mom, and an overall superb human being.

I was thrilled that Savanna and Jenny were willing to go out of their way to allow me to shoot Savanna’s dance class, rehearsal and performances and take time out of their busy schedule so that I could tell the story of Savanna’s love of Irish dancing. I think that at age 10, Savanna has already had to learn the life lesson that when you love something, it may not be all unicorns and rainbows, but sometimes there are elements that you really wish you could do without. But you have to put up with them to keep doing what you love.

Thank you Savanna and Jenny for letting me make this movie!

– Christina

Thanks also to the Burke Conroy School of Dance, The Twentieth Century Club, the rest of the Stein family, my family, and my team at Syncopated Pictures, Randi Voss and Nicki Dembski.

And, of course, to the team at Stillmotion for constantly pushing us to do more than we ever thought was possible, take no excuses, and always ask WHY.

This film was shot on a Canon 7D and Canon 5D Mark II with lots of Canon lenses, Manfrotto monopod and Steadicam Merlin, and edited with Adobe Premiere.

Music: “Achaidh Cheide” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0?