First Position Makes the Press (Read More)

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Review: Los Angeles Times – ‘Children in Love with Ballet in First Position’

“As directed by Bess Kargman, “First Position” is in part the latest wrinkle in a documentary sub-genre that’s proved wildly popular. Combine eager youngsters with the elixir of competition and, whether it’s spelling bee rivals in “Spellbound” or recreational dancers in “Mad Hot Ballroom,” you have a formula for maximum audience engagement.” See full article

PBS NewsHour: In ‘First Position,’ Ballet Behind the Scenes

Video Interview with Bess Kargman

Teen Vogue: Defying Gravity: Teen Ballerina Michaela Deprince

“Refusing to be held back by a nightmarish past or ugly stereotypes, teen ballerina Michaela DePrince is ready to soar.” See full article and
Behind the Scenes with Michaela at TeenVogue!

Review: Vulture – “Ballet Doc is Light on its Feet”

The kids who have it hard in Bess Kargman’s grueling/magical documentary First Position have chosen (or been thrust into) one of civilization’s most unnatural modes of expression: ballet, in which bodies are wrenched and twisted and molded to do what bodies weren’t designed to do — and in the process to enlarge our sense of what’s physically and spiritually possible.
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Review: New York Times – “Fledgling Ballerinas, Just Learning to Fly”

““Growing up, this was always a film I wished existed,” Ms. Kargman said from Los Angeles, one of many stops where she is promoting the movie. A native of Brookline, Mass., she studied ballet intensively at Boston Ballet as a child — in high school and college she switched to competitive ice hockey — and loved both fictional and documentary ballet films.” see full article

Review: Dance Magazine – “the film’s real appeal is in the backstories”

“First Position, a documentary following exceptional students from their home studios to the 2010 YAGP finals in New York City, not only shows the high-stakes nature of the competition, but the passion that these young dancers have for their art… The performances at YAGP provide a narrative and run the gamut from triumphant to heartbreaking, but the film’s real appeal lies in the dancers’ backstories. ” see full article

Review: Culture Catch – “Dancing for Their Souls”

“Not since Matthew Diamond’s splendid documentary on Paul Taylor, Dancemaker (1998), has a film honored the essence of Terpsichore, the muse of dance, so well as does First Position.” see full article

Review: The Women’s International Perspective – An “enthralling” documentary

“Being a ballerina is hard, and filmmaker Bess Kargman artfully builds the tension and suspense as she follows her subjects from their relentless practice schedules to the nerve-wracking stage at the many rounds of the Grand Prix competition… To be so devoted to your art, especially when you are obviously gifted at a young age, makes First Position an enthralling documentary – even for viewers who have little interest in dance.” see full article

News: New York Times – First Position joins Launch PAD initiative

“…Announcing a program to help documentary makers round up product placement money for the marketing and distribution of their wares. The program is called “Launch PAD” — the letters stand for “prints, advertising and distribution.” …The first round of truth-telling documentaries to test the program will include “First Position,” about ballet students; “Undefeated,” about high school football in Memphis; “Lemon,” about the poetry star Lemon Andersen; and “Knuckleball,” about major league knuckleball pitchers.” see full article

News: FP named among “Most Influential” dance films of 2011

“In First Position, audiences get a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes action at the Youth America Grand Prix finals in NYC. The documentary and its stars—Michaela DePrince, Joan Sebastian Zamora, Miko and Jules Fogarty, Aran Bell and Rebecca Houseknecht—received rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival.” see full article

News: First Position joins innovative branded documentary initiative

“The “Launch PAD” scheme will provide filmmakers with expertise and financial support in the areas of prints, advertising, and distribution (the ‘PAD’ of the program’s title) by developing strategic brand partnerships for individual documentaries.” see full article

Review: Film Journal International – “a supremely feel-good film…”

“Another HIFF doc revelation, this time on a hugely positive note, was Bess Kargman’s exhilarating First Position…. This supremely feel-good film, not just a treat for balletomanes, benefits from the wondrously talented, likeable hopefuls (from the U.S., Colombia, Israel) and their supportive families. Sundance Selects felt so good it picked up the film.” see full article

News: The Hollywood Reporter – Sundance Selects Picks Up Bess Kargman’s Ballet Documentary

Sundance Selects has picked up North American rights to director Bess Kargman’s documentary First Position, which follows six young dancers as they compete in the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition. see full article

News: indieWIRE – Sundance Selects acquires First Position

Sundance Selects announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to director Bess Kargman’s documentary FIRST POSITION. Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects, said: “This is a touching and inspirational documentary with great suspense that will keep audiences riveted.  Bess Kargman has made a beautiful film that captures the grace of these phenomenal performers.  We think it’s really going to connect with audiences nationwide and look forward to working with her.” see full article

Review: Variety – “touching, enormously satisfying docu”

“Never putting a foot wrong, touching, enormously satisfying docu.” “Poised for breakout success, the pic combines the built-in drama, tension and suspense of docus such as “Spellbound,” with exciting, beautifully lensed variations performed by the virtuosos of the future.”  see full article

Review and Interview: Criticize This – “a beautiful and thoughtful documentary”

“Kargman’s passion for her subject shines through and she has made a true masterpiece, a great feat for a first-time director.” see full article

Article: Variety – “Toronto dancing to docu beat”

“Bess Kargman’s First Position, about ballet school hopefuls, looks like this year’s Spellbound, with buyers immediately on the phone following its standing-ovation Sunday premiere.” see full article

Review: Now Toronto – another stellar review

“Along the way, the doc takes a frank look at costs, job opportunities, body issues, injuries and gender. There’s lots of great dance, plus a bit of unexpected humour thanks to one adorable 10-year-old who balks at his stage mom.” (Glenn Sumi)       see full article

Review: Sound on Sight – “beautifully shot and evenly paced”

There are few joys in the world like watching someone who is extremely talented do what they love. This is the best thing First Position has to recommend it. The film follows a handful of ballet dancers, ages eleven through seventeen, as they train to compete in one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world: the Youth America Grand Prix in New York.   See Full Article

Article: Variety – Toronto fest adds 30 world preems

Tiff Kids delivers the world preems of 3D toon “A Monster in Paris,” from animation vet Bibo Bergeron (“Shark Tale”); Bess Kargman’s doc “First Position,” following an international ballet competition; Hiroyuki Okiura’s lonely-child adventure “A Letter to Momo”; as well as an international preem of live-action/animated “The Flying Machine,” from helmers Martin Clapp, Geoff Lindsey and Dorota Kobiela.       See Full Article

Article: Toronto Life – Announcing Doc Premieres at TIFF

The program formerly known as Sprockets Family Zone has been redubbed TIFF Kids, but we can expect a variety of kid-friendly selections from around the world, including Bess Kargmans First Position, a documentary that takes viewers behind the scenes of a children’s international ballet competition, and the self-explanatory A Monster in Parissee full article