Dana Plays

Dana Plays
Montage from Exquisite Corpses - Dana Plays

Dana Plays is a winner of the 2011 HCC-Ybor Festival of the Moving Image Florida Filmmakers Contest, winning a $100 cash prize Merit Award in the Florida Independent Filmmaker (non-student): Atlantic & Pacific Productions Award category, for her film Exquisite Corpses.

The Atlantic & Pacific Production awards were presented by Charles Lyman, President, Atlantic & Pacific Productions, Tampa, and Professor Emeritus of Film and Electronic Media, University of South Florida.

About the Artist

Dana Plays
Dana Plays

Dana Plays is an award winning experimental filmmaker and digital artists and professor of Film and Media Arts at The University of Tampa.

Her work was exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the exhibition The Color of Ritual, The Color of Women Avant-Garde Filmmakers in America 1930-2000, programmed by Whitney curator by Chrissie Isles. Her work has also been exhibited at more than 50 international film festival screenings, including Edinburgh, Montreal Nouveau, and Seattle International Film Festivals. Her films have garnered more than 25 film festival awards including the prestigious First Prize Jurors' Choice Award at the Black Maria Film and Video Festival for Nuclear Family; Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the Ann Arbor Film Festival for Zero Hour; Best Experimental Film at the Houston International Festival for Across the Border; and Best Documentary Award at the New Orleans Film Festival for Love Stories My Grandmother Tells, which also was broadcast on VPRO, a Dutch national television network.

Plays also serves on the board of directors for Canyon Cinema, one of the longest running cooperatives of experimental film in north America serving international distribution of avant-garde cinema.

About Exquisite Corpses

Exquisite Corpses is a formal study that alludes to the decay of cinema and the advancing of digital film through a series of devolving images from the history of photography, and early motion picture technology.

Director Dana Plays uses random chance operations of the exquisite corpse, by creating vertical triptychs, and mixed frame combinations, of stacked motion picture footage of Muybridge’s horse in motion, Edison early toys with her own footage shot with a 16mm camera of the subway train arriving at the station, and animal locomotion study she shot in high speed digital cinematography.

The exquisite corpse was a word and picture game used by the surrealists and later a child’s game that evolved into a triptych of a drawing made with a paper folded in threes. Ultimately the film is a reflexive comment on narrativity as it interweaves image and text, of Plays’ evolving historical project, the story of Ottilie Moore, her great aunt who provided safe haven for refuges, including the Jewish at Villa L’Hermitage, in Villefranche sur- Mer, in the late 30s and early 40s.

Through complex structural and formal approaches, including vertical and horizontal structures, Plays visually explores the intersections between private and public histories, making metaphorical connections between location, setting and place, oral and written story telling and refers to the devolving process of history of motion picture film, from the silent era with use of inter-title text and image combinations.

This piece was made by Plays using her digital JK Optical Printer optical printer to reprocess found footage she salvaged from dumpsters. The piece has evolved from a series of digital installations exhibited in Prague, Czech Republic, at the Skolska 28 Gallery, and an earlier permutation of this piece exhibited as part of the Film Lingual II exhibition, at C. Emerson Fine Arts Gallery in St. Petersburg Florida curated by Lori Johns.