The Fits
April 12th, 2018

The Fits
Thursday, April 12th, 2018 / 7:00pm
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center

2016 / 72 minutes / English / Color
Directed by: Anna Rose Holmer
Print supplied by: Oscilloscope

Please join Cultivate Cinema Circle and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center as we showcase the debut features of some of today’s modern visionary filmmakers with a year-long series dubbed Women Direct. Our third selection is Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits [2016] with an introduction by Buffalo International Film Festival director Tilke Hill.

Ticket Information: $8 general, $6 students & seniors, $5 members

Event Sponsors:

341 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202



courtesy of press notes:

Toni trains as a boxer with her brother at a community center in Cincinnati’s West End, but becomes fascinated by the dance team that also practices there. Enamored by their strength and confidence, Toni eventually joins the group, eagerly absorbing routines, mastering drills, and even piercing her own ears to fit in. As she discovers the joys of dance and of female camaraderie, she grapples with her individual identity amid her newly defined social sphere.

Shortly after Toni joins the team, the captain faints during practice. By the end of the week, most of the girls on the team suffer from episodes of fainting, swooning, moaning, and shaking in a seemingly uncontrollable catharsis. Soon, however, the girls on the team embrace these mysterious spasms, transforming them into a rite of passage. Toni fears “the fits” but is equally afraid of losing her place just as she’s found her footing. Caught between her need for control and her desire for acceptance, Toni must decide how far she will go to embody her new ideals.

Director Statement/Bio

courtesy of press notes:

Director Statement:

We collaborated with Queen City Boxing Club and the Q-Kidz Dance Team to cast real teenagers from the West End of Cincinnati. Working with young athletes allowed us to focus on the physicality and nuanced movements we needed to tell the story from beginning to end. Casting all of the girls from the same real-life dance team meant that we could emphasize the authentic sisterhood and collective memory-making that young women experience when they bond on a team. We filmed The Fits in an immersive environment, living on location and inviting the young cast to see themselves not just as performers, but as co-authors of the characters on screen.

At its heart, The Fits is a meditation on movement as seen from the perspective of adolescent girls. The film explores the particularly young female phenomenon of mass hysteria, also known as mass psychogenic illness. The rapid spread of symptoms affects members of a cohesive group whereby physical ills have no corresponding organic cause. The Fits juxtaposes the precise, powerful, and intentional movements of drill with subconscious, spontaneous, and uncontrolled movements of collective hysterics.

I directed The Fits as a dance film, considering the movements of the actors and camera to be choreography in each scene. From stand battles to obsessive workouts, from the way Toni carries her body down the hallway to the freedom in Beezy’s play, we approached storytelling from the physical performance first. Through these movements, we explored our thematic questions:

What are the indications of belonging to a group and how do those markers develop?
How do girls use their bodies as a mode of communication?
What is the self?
Is the body separate from the self?
Is identity a performance?
How does one differentiate between self and other?
Is it possible to truly betray one’s self?

Director Bio:

Anna Rose Holmer was listed as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015.” Her narrative directorial debut, THE FITS (Venice International Film Festival 2015), is a selection of the Venice Biennale College 2014/2015 and the Sundance Institute Editing Intensive Fellowship. She recently produced Jody Lee Lipes’s BALLET 422 (Tribeca Film Festival 2014, Magnolia Pictures) and Mike Plunkett’s SALERO (IDFA 2015). With filmmaker Matt Wolf, Anna co-directed and produced A BALLET IN SNEAKERS: JEROME ROBBINS AND OPUS JAZZ, a companion documentary to NY Export: Opus Jazz, (SXSW 2010 Emerging Visions Audience Award) which aired on the PBS Great Performances/Dance in America Series. Anna’s first documentary feature, TWELVE WAYS TO SUNDAY, was one of ten films to participate in IFP’s 2009 Documentary Filmmaker Lab and premiered with Rooftop Films in 2010.


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