We'll be at Sheffield Doc/Fest!

We are so excited to announce our international premier at Sheffield Doc/Fest in Sheffield, UK! We can't wait to screen BORN TO FLY in England, the location of Streb's biggest, most energizing piece yet!

Get Your Tickets for Film Forum Now!

Our Film Forum page just went live, so go get your tickets now! If showing in this amazing venue isn't great enough, director Catherine Gund and choreographer Elizabeth Streb will be holding Q&A sessions all week! Check it out!

Born to Fly at SXSW!

It was our first time at SXSW, but we truly hope it won't be our last. We had a great time from food trucks (I'm looking at you Chi'lantro) to pedicabs to great films and great company to Allen's boots and tacos, tacos, tacos. We really felt embraced by the festival community - as well as the people of Austin, who are eerily and authentically nice! 

Our world premiere at the Stateside Theatre was a thrill, and Jim Fouratt filmed our Q&A! Cat and Elizabeth's re-telling of the now infamous bowling ball dropping story is not to be missed! You can watch it here. Then we were on to The Violet Crown Cinema - where all the chairs are pretty much couches or beds (meaning AMAZING!). The audience for this Q&A asked some pretty insightful questions about the nature of documenting such revolutionary work, and how Elizabeth can surpass the London performance. Laura Flanders filmed! You can watch it here

Also, we started an instagram account in honor of SXSW; here are a few highlights!

Born to Fly World Premiere at the Stateside Theatre!

Born to Fly World Premiere at the Stateside Theatre!

Catherine, Mickey Cottrell (Inclusive PR), Elizabeth Streb, and Jonah Blechman (Inclusive PR) after a long day of interviews.

Catherine, Mickey Cottrell (Inclusive PR), Elizabeth Streb, and Jonah Blechman (Inclusive PR) after a long day of interviews.

Laura Flanders, Elizabeth Streb and Catherine Gund 

Laura Flanders, Elizabeth Streb and Catherine Gund 

Associate Producer Jessica Ruffin playing it cool next to the robot-headed monster.

Associate Producer Jessica Ruffin playing it cool next to the robot-headed monster.

But SXSW wasn't all running around downtown Austin taking selfies, we also had a couple great dinners hosted by filmmaker (and B2F archival camera person!) Ellen Spiro and longtime supporter of contemporary artists and Art Matters Board Member Laurence Miller. Like SXSW and so many aspects of Austin, Spiro's and Miller's homes both demonstrated a creative convergence of art, comfort, and forward-thinking. Laurence Miller has converted his home into an exhibition space for artists to explore the domestic through their practice - it's called testsite. The current installation is by artist John Cooper - who wove garden hoses throughout the house - creating a maze that brought out the kid in all of us.

Sadie, Catherine, and Jessica at testsite.

Sadie, Catherine, and Jessica at testsite.

Andrea Mellard (The Contemporary Austin) and Catherine enjoying testsite.

Andrea Mellard (The Contemporary Austin) and Catherine enjoying testsite.

Elizabeth Streb also presented a talk at the Contemporary Austin - Jones Center. We were thoroughly impressed by the innovative architecture in the Community room. And we were even more impressed by the number of people who pushed their way through downtown traffic in order to hear Elizabeth speak.

All in all a great success. Looking forward to Cleveland this weekend and Full Frame on April 3rd!

Visit #borntoflymovie on Instagram for more great pics!

BORN TO FLY will premiere at SXSW!

We are thrilled to announce that BORN TO FLY will have its world premiere at SXSW this March. Out of pool of 892 documentaries submitted to the festival, only 8 were chosen for the documentary competition. We are totally psyched! You can read more here.

We've also cut a new trailer to celebrate. Check it out below. And spread the word, Like, Share, etc!

A personal reaction to 'Born To Fly'

Elizabeth Streb and two of her dancers. One Extraordinary Day . London 2012

Elizabeth Streb and two of her dancers. One Extraordinary Day . London 2012

“The highs were so high, I’m still coming down” Fabio, one of Elizabeth Streb’s dancers, said in recounting their monumental performance of “Human Eye” in London. In this amazing event that was part of a series of shows in London called One Extraordinary Day, the dancers were strapped to a Ferris Wheel and executed their performance in the air, 400 feet above ground.

Streb’s mind-blowing work is something that speaks for itself, but hearing her and her dancers talk about it reveals a whole new layer of courage, talent, passion and fear. It’s extraordinary how as a viewer, when looking at Streb’s work, I could almost feel the blows, the falls and the hits that the dancers performed. Hearing Streb talk about the human body, referring to its ability to ‘carve the air’ and changing its relationship with its surroundings, you begin to re-evaluate the nature of your own body in the world. Listening to the dancers speak of their experience of this extreme performance gave me a sense of what it must take to become a part of Streb’s vision. They speak of immense fear and worry, but also excitement, energy and the feeling of invincibility.

The Ferris Wheel. London 2012

The Ferris Wheel. London 2012

I was also very impressed with Streb’s personal relationship with her dancers. At the London performance One Extraordinary Day, as the STREB Action Heroes climbed towards the sky far above the safety of the ground, Streb’s eyes followed them. She accompanied them; she was scared with them; and she was excited with them. As a viewer, I could not help but wait at the edge of my seat to experience what would happen next. In this kind of work, the dancers are the flesh of the art piece. And as the art and the artist climbed up that ferris wheel, I felt myself climbing with them, holding on to the cold metal, covered in safety straps and experiencing how the wind feels that high up. Unencumbered by crowds, trees and the busyness at ground level.

STREB dancers strapped to a Ferris Wheel, 400 ft in the air. One Extraordinary Day. London 2012

One of the things that I really enjoyed about the movie was the fact that the human aspect was very much explored. The dancers who compose Streb’s action pieces are interviewed and provide a d­eeper understanding to all of the complex layers and the hard work that Streb’s pieces need in order to be executed. To me that was one of the most interesting parts, that the film would be able to switch back and forth from the private world of the people who embody the work, to the broader vision of Streb’s thinking process and overall direction.

When Streb started her career as a dancer she pushed her body to its limits even at the expense of her health. Now she needs to direct others to follow her footsteps that require physical risk, emotional strength and determination made of steel. I loved seeing how Streb deals with those complicated and personal relationships. Her overpowering vision of dance, the human compositions that via performance investigate the different aspects of what it means to be a moving mass of flesh; this with the fact that her art is made of people for whom she cares for and worries about.

It is only natural to feel out of your comfort zone with Streb’s work. It is meant to pull you out of the common perception of yourself, to wheel you in and expose you to a world of flying people, spinning bodies and dancers far above your head.

 

Aubin Pictures is seeking interns!

We are currently seeking interns for the Fall. Join our team as we work to share Elizabeth Streb's passion with the world. Interns with Aubin Pictures have gone on to the Daily Show, top colleges, production jobs, and general greatness! We accept high school, college and graduate-level applicants for this unpaid internship. Applicants must be available at least 15 hours per week. Email a brief letter of interest and resume to Jessica Ruffin, jessica@aubinpictures.com. 

Read the full description here.

Rising college freshman Kevin Jones recording sound at a STREB rehearsal in May 2012, alongside cinematographer Esy Casey.

Rising college freshman Kevin Jones recording sound at a STREB rehearsal in May 2012, alongside cinematographer Esy Casey.

THE HERO Team at IFP Independent Film Week

Wowza! We have been having such an amazing and inspiring time at IFP's Independent Film Week - from learning about all the great films being made out there to getting great feedback from industry leaders; reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. And! Would you believe we've had over 25 meetings in the last couple days?! It's been exhausting and exhilarating, but most importantly, we've learned that people love HERO!

Yesterday we had the opportunity to screen our sequence from London for industry members, crew, and friends. We were pleased to have cinematographers Albert Maysles and Esy Casey there with us - both of whom were with us for that crazy 25-hour shoot in London last July. Here are a few pictures from the screening.

 

Director Catherine Gund introducing HERO at the Micro-cinema screening, September 17, 2013. 

Director Catherine Gund introducing HERO at the Micro-cinema screening, September 17, 2013. 

Check out Albert Maysles front and center!

Check out Albert Maysles front and center!

Catherine and Albert before the screening - he insisted the picture be "just the heads!"

Catherine and Albert before the screening - he insisted the picture be "just the heads!"

It Feels So Good To Dance

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Dancing is one of those things that can make you feel good about yourself and make you feel confident that you can do almost anything. I believe that dancing can make you feel as if you could actually almost fly because it pushes you to do things that you thought you probably could never do. According to Psychological Reports (2012), dance offers a plethora of benefits – including improvements in health, brain function, and social skills. And many of these benefits can last long after you’ve stopped dancing!

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Dancing can be beneficial to everyone, regardless of the type of dance, or the age of the person doing it. As far as improvements in health, dance can help those with physical and mental disabilities to improve their motor skills and even to express things they want to say through the movements. Dancing requires the brain and body to work together, which helps improve cognitive and emotional skills. It is a belief that when a group of people dance together, their hearts beat at the same tempo, becoming synchronized. This improves social skills, allowing people to talk to others more openly and feel related to others. Overall, dance brings such joy to people and lays down the foundation to success because it forms a sense of limitlessness and allows you to push yourself to always keep trying.

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Besides the traditional ballet, jazz etc., which all help improve skills in their own way, I believe Elizabeth Streb’s POPACTION can improve skills all around. POPACTION incorporates not only artistic styles derived from ballet and more but also incorporates freedom. Her style of dance has people dancing from great heights and moving their bodies in unbelievable ways. Her dances are a combination of many styles of dancing, which I believe may allow the mind and body to improve at a great speed and extent. Her POPACTION style of dance not only forces people to go beyond their everyday limits but to do it with confidence.

HERO Selected for IFP Film Week

We're feeling good over here, as HERO has been chosen to be one of 50 documentaries to participate in IFP Independent Film Week this September.  The event brings together filmmakers from around the globe representing 163 current film projects (from documentaries to dramatic thrillers), to meet, talk, and conspire about the future of independent film. We are thrilled to be a part of it.

Archer Gray Productions Supports HERO!

Archer Gray Productions' support brings us to 60% of our budget raised! More than that, it is a great show of faith from a consistenly successful company, famous for their successful Broadway productions of the musical Once, winner of 8 Tony Awards and the smash hit play Seminar, as well as their recent film projects: the Toronto International Film Festival selection Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012)  and the Sundance Film Festival selectionThe Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete (2013). Thank you Archer Gray!

 

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Nik Wallenda: Walking On Air

 AP Photo

 AP Photo

Nik Wallenda recently surfaced in world news for walking a quarter of a mile across the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon…on a tightrope, with no harness, and no safety net. Here at Aubin we immediately started looking up videos and articles about this action hero who had somehow never crossed our radar. What we found is astounding.

 

34-year-old Nik Wallenda comes from a long line of high wire performers. He’s been learning to master the stunt since he began to walk, and was performing professionally by the time he was thirteen. Although there have been quite a few tightrope deaths in the family, Nik was determined to pursue the family trade. After watching his parents struggle to make a living in the circus, however, he decided to evolve the practice into something a little more lucrative, but more importantly, a little more daring.

 

The performers in his family have executed some incredible stunts, including a 7-man pyramid. The clan eventually coined the term Skywalk when they started parading across wires in new locations, tall buildings, and remarkably high public spectacles. Today, Nik Wallenda has taken Skywalking to a new level.

 

Mark Blinch / Reuters

Mark Blinch / Reuters

Before the Grand Canyon, Nik walked 200 ft in the air across Niagara Falls. The walk was 1550 ft across, which he performed with a harness. The event was epic, and by far the most challenging stunt Nik had ever done, having to endure high-speed winds and a wet zone. But this most recent stunt trumped even that.

Click here to watch what a television record breaking 13 million people watched live: Nik Wallenda walking across the Little Colorado River Gorge in Arizona. The 30mph winds clearly affect his stride; you can see the wire swinging. It is 1,500 ft up and 1,400 ft across. The most amazing part…Nik isn’t wearing a harness. This is a true action on the stage of real life. He may not be flying but he sure is walking on air.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Great Funding News!

It's been an exciting day here at the Aubin offices. We've received a couple pieces of wonderful news that we would like to share with you! 

          Aubin is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in support of HERO! The Warhol Foundation has a rich tradition of supporting challenging, innovative and rule-breaking artworks; it is an honor to be included among them. We are happy to learn that the foundation has faith in our vision and shares our belief in the power of Elizabeth Streb and her dancers! With this grant, we have raised over 50% of our budget! To be a part of it, visit www.strebfilm.org/donate.

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          In other news, it was announced today that HERO is one of 13 finalists for the San Francisco Film Society Documentary Film Fund award in support of post-production! The original pool consisted of over 200 applicants from around the world. It's so gratifying that the documentary field is thriving right now. We wish the best of luck to everyone.  Read the full press release.

 

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The Body, The Mind, and The Power of Risk

     My name is Natalie Ancona and I am a new intern at Aubin Pictures. I am from Portland, Oregon, where I live in a residential neighborhood five minutes from downtown and where everyone seems to know each other. As many New Yorkers started out, I am throwing myself into this city without any knowledge of where I am or how to be an adult. I am most definitely outside of my comfort zone, and I am by myself. But I know from experience and copious amounts of advice that great strides only come from moments of discomfort and fear. I think this parallels Elizabeth Streb’s statement: “Anything that’s too safe is not action.” So perhaps this summer I’ll be an action hero.

My sister, Olivia Ancona.  Photo by Richard Termine. 

My sister, Olivia Ancona. 

Photo by Richard Termine. 

     My sister is a professional dancer. She went to Juilliard and now lives in Tel Aviv working with experimental choreographers to develop new genres of movement. I envy my sister sometimes. She found a way to devote her life to sensation and power. Although my intellectual passions do make me feel powerful, I don’t think anyone can deny the exhilaration that comes from using the body and mind simultaneously. And the most enduring physical highs come from achievements that are unexpected or seemingly unattainable. This is why people run marathons, join the army, or play in tournaments. This is why people do hallucinogens that change the way they feel and see. People like to experience what they haven’t before; they like to see what the mind and body are capable of.

     Elizabeth Streb does just that. She wants to prove to herself, and to others what the mind can force the body to do. This reminds me of my cross country days. I only lasted two years on the team because although running requires great athleticism, I could not master the mental side of the sport. There were many races where I failed to accept that my legs could keep pace or move faster. However, there were a few times that my mind was strong enough to support my body, and the high that came from those personal records resonated. Once I accomplished one goal, I was able to move forward and demand more of myself. I was forced to look at my accomplishments as significant but not limited. Each goal could be surpassed by another.

STREB Extreme Action Company in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.   Photo by Scott Suchman. 

STREB Extreme Action Company in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  

Photo by Scott Suchman. 

     I channeled this drive into what I find to be slightly more enjoyable activities. For me it was my education and lacrosse; for my sister and Elizabeth Streb it is dance and movement. Watching the footage from HERO reminds me of why people try to expand their capacity to act. The dancers are physically falling on their faces. If this is the performance, imagine the rehearsals. Regardless, they look strong. This is why both Streb’s work and Cat Gund’s documentary draw people in. It inspires people to let go of fear in order to gain control over their body. It inspires people to find what makes them strong. 

     Additionally, Elizabeth Streb shows the equality in strength among men and women. There is no difference between what the males and females in her company can do. Streb’s mental fortitude results in her physical strength, and the strength of all of her dancers. Her athletic mind produces spectacular physical feats, which instills a sense of confidence in her dancers as well as her audience. STREB solidifies the value of risk-taking, which can and should be implemented into all aspects of life.

STREB performs in front of London's Tower Bridge. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty 

STREB performs in front of London's Tower Bridge. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty 

     I can see why Cat Gund decided to make a documentary about Elizabeth Streb and her work. It’s hard not to feel like leaping off a bunk bed after watching the trailer. This is my favorite part about documentaries; by the end, they make you want to do something. I mean, documentary is the only format that would make me passionate about a topic like Lyme disease. Watching clips from HERO gets me excited about my own life. Navigating through a new environment on my own is a risk that I’m taking. Aubin will be part of this challenge. But I know that after I throw myself to the ground and fall on my face a few times, I will be capable of more than I was before. I imagine many others will be inspired in the same way from watching this documentary. 

Action Hero Profile: Larry "Lawn Chair Larry" Walters

Larry Walters, nicknamed “Lawn chair Larry,” is known as the man who took flight on a lawn chair on July 2, 1982. His tools for flight consisted of a lawn chair and 45 helium-filled weather balloons. With these tools, the lawn chair pilot soared through the sky, floating all the way from San Pedro, California into the controlled airspace that is close to the Los Angeles International Airport. Larry had dreamed of flying ever since he was a child, but because of his bad eyesight, he couldn’t do anything like join the U.S Air Force and become a pilot.
This aerial adventure started out as a thought from Larry at age 13 and then became a carried out plan twenty years later. On that fateful day, he started out with the idea that he could attach a bunch of helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and float about 30 feet above his backyard for a few hours. When he was ready to come down, he would use a pellet gun to pop the balloons and float gently down to the ground. But things didn’t fly the way he thought they would.
He soared up to an altitude of about 15,000 feet. He had brought his pellet gun, a CB radio, sandwiches, cold beer, and a camera on his journey. At first, he didn’t shoot any of the balloons because he feared that he might unbalance the load, causing him to fall off and plummet to his death. But, after 45 minutes of nonstop flight, Larry shot a couple of the balloons so he could begin to descend. In the process of doing so, he accidentally dropped his pellet gun overboard.
From the power line, he was able to climb down to the ground. When he reached the ground he was immediately arrested by the Long Beach Police Department and was fined $4,000 for violation under U.S Federal Aviation Regulations. But none of that mattered to him; all he wanted to do was fly, and he got to do it.

Exploring the Streb Archives

Hi this is Geraldo Mercado, the archivist at Aubin Pictures!  Aubin Pictures has been given unprecedented access to over 300 hours of archival footage spanning Elizabeth Streb’s early days as a dancer to her work as STREB’s action architect today.  I've had the honor of exploring the archives, as we bring HOW TO BECOME AN EXTREME ACTION HERO into post-production. 

Bodies fly and time is distorted in these early works by Elizabeth Streb. Top Left: Air Dance; Top Right: Target; Bottom Left: Space Object; Bottom Right: Ringside

Bodies fly and time is distorted in these early works by Elizabeth Streb.

Top Left: Air Dance; Top Right: Target; Bottom Left: Space Object; Bottom Right: Ringside

Elizabeth’s movements are used to animate a man on fire.

Elizabeth’s movements are used to animate a man on fire.

A performance starts off in a sketchbook before leaping into real life.

A performance starts off in a sketchbook before leaping into real life.

It’s a treat to be able sit down and experience the scope of an artist's work.  There are so many great moments that we can’t wait to share with you in HOW TO BECOME AN EXTREME ACTION HERO.