The Wonder of Improvisation

Affectionately known as the grandfather of Improvisation in Australia, this documentary celebrates the life and work of Al Wunder. From New York to Berkeley, then finally making his way to Melbourne, Australia, Al overcame 4 broken legs as a youth to dance in Alwin Nicholais' company, then go on to develop his own unique form of improvised movement training. Through both physical and mental challenges, he has used turned weaknesses into strengths and his methods of teaching allow others to do the same. He has taught dancers, performers, artists, circus clowns and everyday people like counsellors and jail wardens around the world via his company Theatre of the Ordinary. A positive and inspiring story about performance, learning, teaching, love, overcoming challenges... and a life improvised.

  • Michelle Dunn
    Director
  • Michelle Dunn
    Writer
  • Michelle Dunn
    Producer
  • Al Wunder
    Key Cast
  • Ruth Zapora
    Key Cast
  • Terry Sendgraff
    Key Cast
  • John Britton
    Key Cast
  • Andrew Morrish
    Key Cast
  • Born in a Taxi
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Other
  • Genres:
    Dance, documentary, education, positive aging
  • Runtime:
    35 minutes 51 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 16, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
    Australia
  • Country of Filming:
    Australia, United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Michelle Dunn

Michelle Dunn has worked as a photographer since 2007, then film maker since 2012. Initially coming to film making as a way to enjoy her camera again beyond work, Michelle started making mini 2 minute documentaries on local artists after moving from Melbourne, to the regional country town of Ballarat, Australia in 2011.

Her first mini documentary, produced with her wife Alison Shirley in 2012 was selected for screening at Byron Bay International Film Festival in 2013, then screened on ABC news 24 (Australia) later that year. Another early mini documentary on street artist Cax One was also screened on ABC news 24 in 2013. In 2014, Michelle was commissioned to created a 4 part web series on the making of Missy Higgins album "Oz", along with a 4 part acoustic session music video series from the album.

In 2015, Michelle began the ambitious project of creating her first longer form documentary, The Wonder of Improvistion, on improvised movement performer and teacher Al Wunder. Almost wholly self funded, this film has taken 3 years to complete, working tirelessly in any free time she could find.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I have learned so much along the way in making this film, both technically and in subject matter. Al's teaching goes way beyond the world of dance. In fact, in facing many challenges in making this, my first documentary, it was often the words of Al and many others interviewed for this film that kept me going. A reminder to follow my joy and to look for the positives in what I was doing instead of breaking myself with all the negatives.

I hope that this film helps Al's legacy live on and allow many others to find, learn from and be inspired by his work, regardless of their creative discipline or every day life journey.