Sodium are the team behind the whole production of the film. They are an independent UK-based film and photography production company.
They first started work with FlexN dancers for an arts festival in Manchester, UK and that's where the idea was born to create the film.
You can see more of their work here at shotbysodium.com
INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT?
We were first asked to document and make a series of films and online promotional shorts for Reggie Gray’s latest show, being choreographed and performed at the Manchester International Festival in 2015. A show where Reggie would handpick 10 dancers in Manchester and combine them with a crew of 10 dancers from New York and come up with an entirely new live show for the festival. The journey culminated for us in producing a short 15 minute documentary about the entire show. This film was never the goal, but we had that much content and interviews that we decided to stitch it all together to tell the story.
HOW WAS THE FIRST MEETING WITH REGGIE AND HIS CREW?
We’d done our research in the lead-up to meeting Reggie and his team that he brought across from NYC, and just a few hours after his crew got off the plane at Manchester Airport we met up with everyone and got to work. It was an immediate connection; we loved the energy and positivity that they had and really identified with how they adapted and improvised with what they were given; something that we do all the time in filmmaking. Their stories evolved throughout the first day of filming and it was a total hit for the entire team.
HOW DID THE IDEA DEVELOP TO WANTING TO MAKE A FEATURE FILM?
After things wound down towards the end of the festival, we were talking a lot about keeping the collaboration going and Reggie had always wanted to tell the story of Flexn on a bigger platform than just a stage and a theatre full of people. We were totally on board with the idea and thought there was so much we could bring to the project. There’s been severeal long Skype calls with Reggie about what the narrative should be and what the story should say.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS STORY THAT ENGAGES YOU?
It’s almost never the headline that’s the most interesting thing, there’s always a reason behind why people do what they do and that’s usually where the really exciting stuff happens.
The dancing and the culture are phenomominal and everyone we’ve met involved with the scene are totally inspirational people from all social backgrounds and cultures. Every dancer we’ve met brings a style to the table that is totally their own.
Their dancing is original because of their history, and it’s this history that’s the most interesting part of the story. Why are they doing what they do? Why are they right here, right now? Why are they the person they are? The dancing is engaging, because of their story you can see in it.
WHY ARE YOU MAKING THE FILM?
It’s such an important message that beyond the surface of the dancing, there's a deeper story about breaking free from issues of conflict and developing your character into something and someone better. Surely there’s no more inspirational and emotive story than that?
Flexn is more than just dancing, it’s a way to express yourself and a way to interpret the world around you.
The comparisons here to what we do as filmmakers are definitely fueling some of our motivations, but it’s the wider story of using Flexn as a way to make your life better and put it on a trajectory away from the path you may have walked otherwise.
We’re a team of filmmakers made up of what would be considered people from supportive backgrounds, where conflict is not on the same spectrum as some of the worlds we hear about, worlds that seem crazy and full of injustice. Anyone that has to battle with those kinds of systems and hurdles are totally inpisrational to us.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS ABOUT MAKING THIS FILM?
Being a film production company based in the UK, making a film that has its roots a 9-hour flight away was never going to be easy, but in respects it’s this distance that will keep the film a subjective documentary. There’s also a huge history and scene to condense into 90 minutes, so bringing the story into a cohesive and concise film, that’s watchable and leaving people caring about who they’re watching is going to be tricky.
WHO DO YOU THINK THE FILM IS FOR?
The immediate audience is obviously the Flexn scene. We’re already reaching out to people through our social media channels who are really excited to hear a film is being made about their passion. Beyond this there’s the dancing scene as a whole, anyone interested in the art of dancing and what it means to be a dancer. I think fundamnetally though, the film is for people that want to see social change and are engaged with making communities better.
WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS FOR THE FILM?
We’re not really a company driven by awards or accolades. For us it’s more important that the film is recognised by the Flexn scene as a true representation of the culture, and also by the wider communities that Flexn has been born from. We hope to inspire people from outside the culture, that personal and social change is possible.
WHERE DID THE TITLE ‘INFINITE’ COME FROM?
In one of our first chats with Reggie about making a feature film, we asked him about what his dreams are for the future of Flexn. He said “I want this journey to keep going, I want to see this culture continue to develop around the World, I want it to be infinite.”