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“Oklahoma Hit a Spike in COVID Cases” | Erica Tremblay, Fancy Dance

Two young women walk along a dirt path in a park. One wears a purple fringe jacket, a band t-shirt and black bike shorts with checkered vans. The other wears a sleeveless red t-shirt, black jeans and sandals.Fancy Dance by Erica Tremblay, courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Every production faces unexpected obstructions that require creative solutions and conceptual rethinking. What was an unforeseen obstacle, crisis, or simply unpredictable event you had to respond to, and how did this event impact or cause you to rethink your film?

When we started production on Fancy Dance, we had originally planned to shoot our powwow scene at a community powwow, but as the shoot dates got closer, Oklahoma hit a spike in COVID cases and we were forced to rethink our plan. With COVID protocols in place, the only way to safely shoot the scene was to throw our own powwow where we could control the environment. We worked with the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City and found a way to invite and test almost 200 extras and dancers. We invited vendors, food trucks, drum groups, and powwow announcers that frequent the powwow circuit. Creatively, we wanted to portray an authentic experience, so we did our best to throw the best event we could. We even had dozens of raffle prizes we gave away throughout the night. One lucky attendee left with a big-screen TV that we raffled off when we wrapped at 6:30 a.m. The powwow community showed up in such an incredible way, and we absolutely could not have done it without their talent and support.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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