On The Cusp, Longlist - Branded

Be Your Own Champion

Dan French

Papaya Films

When Champion came to us wanting to find real-life stories that represented moments of 'being your own champion' I immediately thought about black ballerinas. It's something that had been recently brought to my attention on social media within the dialogue on BLM and I was blown away that there weren't even ballet shoes made for darker skin tones until recently. I wanted to work with someone that shook up the ballet scene and Sophia had that about her. She mixed in other forms of dance and would often do ballet to different styles of music too. She was super engaging when we had a zoom call and I knew she could lead the project with her story. We didn't really choreograph anything but rather let Sophia do her thing and picked up moments as we went, trying to find sections to match cut between the two locations. I wanted to combine the world of the traditional ballet studio with the more contemporary and untraditional London cityscape. Showing that we can shake up the scene and ballet can shift from the visual we're all accustomed to. It was a super tight crew and a small project but one of my favourites to shoot and the team was awesome.

Dan is interested in telling stories that make a comment on society. He loves cinema that makes a lasting impact on the viewer, making them think about a subject in a new way. He is, however, pretty versatile and finds himself drawn into various different styles of project having directed comedy through to fast action dance music videos. Dan is a true believer that concept is key and if there's a good idea, he's drawn into the anything. https://papaya-films.com/directors/dan-french/?category=directors-music-videos https://www.danthomasfrench.com/ https://www.instagram.com/danthomasfrench/