Dancing on the Inside

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Simon Fildes was an international award winning Scottish filmmaker, producer and curator. He was widely known for bridging the international dance film community through his prolific canon of work and his leadership roles, including director of Screen.dance, Scotland’s festival of dance on screen. Simon was best known as an editor. His work used improvisational performative approaches to explore ideas; drawing inspiration from and defined by the rhythms of movement; tracing and manipulating hidden (incidental) and created (intentional) choreography. Perhaps the most important lesson Simon left us was about being human. In 2021, he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away from the disease, after having lived with MS for over 10 years. His unwavering strength teaches us to continue dancing on the inside no matter what life throws our way. In this grouping, Simon’s work can be experienced through several career-defining roles, as a producer, mentor, concept/writer, director, editor or performer. This specially curated programme has been designed to leave you with a glimpse of the sublime, a sense of the impossible body, and strength in the face of adversity. Wyn Pottratz + Susan Christie Directors of GOAT Media Limited 1

UNLIMITED R&D PROJECT - EXHAUST Simon Fildes working with Janice Parker This study forms part of a research process, which unusually shows Simon in front of the camera. In 'Exhaust', we witness Simon beautifully negotiate the balance between movement and the felt sense of exhaustion from MS. A dance language based on the

UK 2014

choreographic dynamics and aesthetics of fatigue were investigated with Edinburgh choreographer Janice Parker at Summerhall.

2 mins

THE TIME IT TAKES Simon Fildes & Katrina McPherson This work was inspired by the landscape and rich history of the island South Uist in Scotland, particularly the Neolithic remains that have been discovered there in recent times. Drawing on their shared individual practices, the artists took an improvisational approach to making the work, gathering

UK 2013

11 mins

fragments of movements and responses to the environment. The finished video dance is a composite montage that strongly evokes a sense of this place, its character defined both by environment and the people within it. The richly fluid nature of the work allows for different narratives to be imagined.

the time it takes to arrive to live to make a land to find to fall to settle in to work to build to seize the day to journey to be happy to make a story to dance

to pick up the pieces to laugh to sing a song to love to grow to bury the dead to lose to uncover the past to walk to imagine the future to leave to return the time,

it takes 3



HIGH WINDS & SLIPPERY SURFACES Pernille Spence, Corinne Jola & Zoë Irvine In ‘High Winds & Slippery Surfaces’, a fleeting body fights to maintain control of their movement as they find themselves in an unstable and unpredictable environment. The film experiments with the friction between physical action, sound and space to awaken the kinaesthetic sense of the viewer. Repeated disruption in the flow of action and sound, together with the abrupt changes


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between involuntary and choreographed movements creates a dark, unsettling experience. The sonically immersive environment takes the viewer beyond the screen supporting a greater sense of awareness of the space surrounding them. GOAT Media commissioned ‘High Winds & Slippery Surfaces’ for Screen.dance.

1 min

FLOOR FALLS Jennifer Paterson, Abby Warrilow & Lewis Gourlay A woman stands, takes a breath, and moves, arching back extending further than seems possible. She steps forward, rising up onto the tip of her toe and over the threshold. We see blackness then she appears. Rotating and twisting, the camera and her dance around each other. She suspends, or has the floor fallen?

UK 2020

We focus in as she walks in air, gravity-free, not knowing where we are, what is up and what is down. Spinning through the space, gradually we see her disappearing, focus fading and she is gone. Commissioned by GOAT and mentored by Simon, ‘Floor Falls’ has enjoyed

3 mins

world-wide success and has been programmed in numerous international festivals including Screen. dance.

ETCH Abby Warrilow & Lewis Gourlay

A girl hikes across remote moorland. On a hill in the distance, stands a lone building, which she discovers is a long abandoned school hall. A little sun penetrates the dirty glass. An upright piano sits in the far corner. She takes off her muddy boots and with confidence in her gait, strides across to the piano and pulls it by one corner. The rusted wheels are jammed and


UK 2020

it pivots, creating an arc. A line is carved in layers of compacted dust and the ancient wooden floor splinters with the weight of the instrument. In the centre of the room, hinged on one foot, she extends her leg and rotates swiftly and with graceful power. Her feet trace, etch and carve in circular movements, creating marks in the layers of dirt. Her body

7 mins

contorts. She throws herself in controlled but frenetic choreography. The movements increase in size and vigour as a pattern emerges. Finally she stands back to witness the impression her dance has etched on the floor. Simon worked with the artists as an associate producer.

SIX SOLOS Simon Fildes

Simon's edits were moments of embodiment. He danced through his edits, even when his body was no longer able. His highly articulate kinaesthetic sense is evident in ‘Six Solos’, a multi-award winning single screen video produced by GOAT and City Contemporary Dance Company Hong Kong.

UK 2016

6 mins

“The film builds slowly until the wide shots become medium and close up shots with only parts of bodies emerging up into or disappearing out of frame. By the end of the film, the music and editing build together in a thrilling crescendo, with all six dancers now intertwined and moving together to create one powerful, yet abstract piece about the human condition. Simon Fildes’ work stands in a class of its own, and Six Solos is no exception.” -Sarah Elgart, award-winning LA based choreographer/director




DO YOU MIND CAN I ASK WHAT HAPPENED… (TO YOUR LEGS?) Simon Fildes, Abby Warrilow & Lewis Gourlay 'Do you mind....' is a seminarrative moving image work set in the stunning context of Coigach and Assynt in the Scottish Highlands which reflects upon what it’s like to experience having a progressive degenerative condition. As there tends to be a lot of work about despair in the face of challenge, this work’s attitude is quite the opposite.


UK 2020

In Simon’s own words: "I walk with the aid of crutches and an occasional wheelchair user. As I travel quite a lot and meet new people around Scotland and internationally one of the first questions I’m asked is along the lines of …“ Do you mind can I ask what happened to your legs?

16 mins

“I tell them I have MS and their next reaction is often to apologise and look away. I often respond by saying yes it really sucks but I’m still alive and kicking and dancing inside. "




We would like to express our warm thanks to all the artists for their involvement in the programme. We would also like to acknowledge the Crowdfunder supporters whose contributions, insights and messages enabled us to complete 'Do you mind...'

New award-winning work ‘Do you mind…' is now screening at festivals around the world. To present this film or the ‘Dancing on the Inside’ programme, contact Wyn Pottratz at info@at-go-at.co.uk.

The Simon Fildes Family Sarah MacIntyre, Creative Scotland Paul Burns, Creative Scotland Lucas Chih Peng Kao 高智鵬

DESIGN Ellie Bainbridge

IMAGES ‘Six Solos’ photo by Miranda Li ‘Do you mind...’ photo by Lewis Gourlay All uncredited images are film stills. 14

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