Bridgeway had offered their cinema for free and said it was an honour to host the first viewing of the film for the Crew. Long time supporters Bev Adair-Beets, Executive Director of Street Dance NZ, and Dziah Dance Academy manager TJ were also there to wish the film and Crew well.
I have been a huge supporter and fan of the Crew from its beginnings as a flash mob to its accolade in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest dance group. In the process I became an admirer of the vision behind the group, that of bridging the gap between old and young through the medium of dance. That meant being a supporter of the inspiration behind the idea, Billie Jordan.
The ninety minute long film is the story of Billie’s vision and belief that you can take a group of the most unlikely people, literally off the street, and mould them into a team that could achieve far more than each individual could ever have thought possible.
It was the story of the group that mattered to me and I admit to some concern that concentration on individual ‘stars’ would detract from the work they had all put into making this dream a reality.
I needn’t have worried. Producer of the film from Inkubator Ltd, Paula Jones, and film Director, Bryn Evans of Brave Star Media, have taken the raw material of over a hundred hours of filming and turned them into ninety minutes of pure inspiration. There is humour, wit, pathos and bathos. Even though I knew what had happened at each step of the way I still found myself wrapped up in the emotion of the moment. Tears, unasked for, ran down my cheek as I got caught up in hopes raised and dashed, then raised again. Truth be told, most of the second half I cried till I laughed as disappointments and successes were met with the wry humour that comes from characters with a lifetime of experience.
Perhaps the thing that pleased me most about the film was the portrayal of the other character that loomed large in the film, the island of Waiheke. It has been my home for twenty years and I didn’t want to see the usual wineries, sun drenched beaches and beautiful scenery, wonderful expression of the island though they are. I wanted to see the essential Waiheke of real people in real homes and real situations. I wasn’t disappointed. Characters come across as quirky, messy, interesting and individual, just like the island itself. There is no such thing as a Waiheke community, just individuals coming together for various common purposes who, in so doing, create a variety of different communites.
Clapping had interspersed the screening. It erupted as the film ended and the credits rolled. The Crew was thrilled with the result, as was I, which is a sure sign that audiences worldwide will be as well. On a personal note, I was pleased to see the Waiheke Local Board logo amongst the credits. With the exception of Paul Walden, the former Board had the vision to see how supporting the film would be beneficial for everyone on Waiheke - its economy and its people.
As film director Bryn Evans told the Crew at the end of the screening, “You can all be proud of what you’ve achieved. I am proud of the film because the story is inspirational. It shows that no matter who you are, or what age you are, you can be and do anything you set your mind to.”
Go and see it when it comes out on general release on 25th September. I think you, too, will be inspired.
For more information and to see trailers click here
For some background see my other blogs about the Crew