Experiencing Interruptions?

Her Magnum Opus

A circle of friends gather to celebrate their mentor and learn that what lasts is those you leave behind.

  • Marta Renzi
    Besties, Her Children Mourn, 890 Broadway, Wildwood, etc.
  • Marta Renzi
    Wildwood, 890 Broadway, Plow Plant Reap, Her Children Mourn,
  • Paul Galando
  • Jonathan Demme
    Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, The Agronomist, etc.
  • Aileen Passloff
    Key Cast
  • Charles Caster-Dudzick
    890 Broadway, Honeymoon, Aqua-booty
  • Cari Ann Shim Sham
  • Caleb Townsend
    Ricky and the Flash, Miles Ahead, How Far She Went, Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids
  • Heather Gross
    Wolf of Wall Street, Quantico, Queen of Katwe, Spotlight
  • Robert Vergara
    Ricky & The Flash, The Manchurian Candidate, Heart of Gold, Her Children Mourn
  • Lev "Ljova" Zhurbin
  • Lorenzo Wolff
  • Kitty Brazelton
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature
  • Genres:
    Drama, Dance, Aging
  • Runtime:
    1 hour
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    HD Video
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Port Townsend Film Festival
    Port Townsend, WA
    United States
    September 15, 2017
  • YoFi Film Fest
    Yonkers, NY
    United States
    November 5, 2017
    Westchester Premiere
  • Upstate Films
    Rhinebeck, New York
    United States
    October 29, 2017
    Northeast Premiere
  • Rivertown Films
    Nyack, NY
    United States
    December 13, 2017
  • Borrego Springs Film Festival
    Borrego Springs, CA
    United States
    January 20, 2018
    California premiere
  • SF Indie Fest
    San Francisco, California
    United States
    February 1, 2018
  • Jacob Burns Film Center
    Pleasantville, New York
    United States
    April 3, 2018
  • Vero Beach Film & Wine Festival
    Vero Beach, Florida
    United States
    June 9, 2018
    Florida Premiere
  • ReelHeART Screenplay and Film Festival
    Toronto, Ontario
    July 5, 2018
    Canadian premiere
    Best Dance or Music Related Film
  • Dance on Camera Festival
    New York, NY
    United States
    July 21, 2018
  • ADF Movers by Movers
    Durham, North Carolina
    United States
    July 14, 2018
  • RED International Dance Film Festival
    August 12, 2018
    Scandinavian Premiere
  • Anthology Film Archives
    New York, NY
    United States
    September 25, 2018
    NYWIFT screening
  • Herstory Cinephilia Society
    Nashville, TN
    United States
    November 17, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Blow Up Arthouse Film Festival
    Chicago, IL
    United States
    November 11, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Rollout Dance Film Festival

    December 31, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Warsaw Dance Center
    March 21, 2019
    Polish Premiere
  • [C] Screen Spring
    April 26, 2019
    Spanish Premiere
  • Sunrise Film Festival
    River John, Nova Scotia
    May 30, 2019
    Nomination: Best Drama
  • Nyack Film Festival
    Nyack, NY
    United States
    August 15, 2019
    Official Selection
  • VOB Film Festival
    Carmel, NY
    United States
    August 24, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Festival Angaelica
    Duluth, MN
    United States
    October 10, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Cult Critic Movie Awards
    Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Dance Camera West
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    January 12, 2020
  • Trail Dance Virtual Film Festival
  • Miami Screendance Festival
    Miami, FL
    United States
    January 10, 2021
  • KatEye International Film Festival
  • New Wave Short Film Festival
    June 5, 2021
    Best Feature Film
  • Golden Harvest
    February 5, 2022
    Japanese premiere
  • Toronto Indie Film Festival
    December 1, 2021
    Best Female Director
  • Rome Prisma Awards
    Official Selection
  • Japan International Film Festival
    Tokyo (online)
    May 22, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Toronto Indie Filmmmakers Fest
    Toronto (online)
    March 27, 2022
    Best Female Filmmaker
  • Berlin International Art Film Festival
    Berlin (online)
  • New York Tri-State International Film Festival
    Albany, NY / online
    United States
    September 30, 2022
    Official selection
  • Ciudad del Este International Film Festival
    Ciudad del Este
    September 17, 2022
    Latin American Premiere
    Official Selection
  • 8&HalFilm Festival
    October 7, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Hollywood on the Tiber Film Awards
    October 15, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Arrow International Film Festival
    January 27, 2023
    Best Experimental
  • Bare Bones Music & Film Festival
    Muskogee, OK
    United States
    April 26, 2023
    Oklahoma Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Manifest Dance Film Festival
    July 27, 2023
    Indian Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Star Film Festival
    March 1, 2024
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Marta Renzi
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Marta Renzi

Marta Renzi has directed, choreographed and edited more than 20 short films which have won awards in over 100 festivals both nationally and internationally. In many cases, festival curators have included Renzi's short videodances in their programming for 2-5 years consecutively, evidence of the work's ongoing appeal to festival audiences.

Renzi is a seven-time recipient of choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has received numerous choreographic commissions from dance companies and university dance departments to create live work such as Book of Breath and for dance film work such as Plow Plant Reap which is an official selection of the 2016 Dance on Camera Festival, co-presented by DFA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Marta Renzi & The Project Co. takes every opportunity to perform outdoors for free in venues such as Central Park Summerstage and Jacob’s Pillow. In 1992 Renzi received a New York Dance and Performance Award (a “Bessie”) and in 1995 was the first recipient of a Dancing in the Streets award as “a fearless explorer of unconventional sites.” Her site specific choreography led to a half-hour videodance commission from the WGBH New Television Workshop in 1981, followed by another in 1989 for KCTA’s Alive From Off Center, entitled MOUNTAINVIEW, made in collaboration with maverick filmmaker John Sayles.

In the past, Renzi’s work has received funding from the Jerome Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, Met Life and Con Edison, among others. She was invited to serve on NEFA’s conference called “Building Community Through Culture”. Renzi was awarded a 2013 Bogliasco Fellowship at the Liguria Center for Arts & Humanities, and was funded by a RAW Community Supported Arts grant in 2014. She has served on the Artists Board of NYFA, and for a decade on the Board of Directors of Dance Films Association.

For more information: http://martarenzi.blogspot.com
Full filmography: http://aboutmartarenzi.blogspot.com/2006/12/

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Everyone is connected. That connection can be expressed in movement, without words. Everyone can dance. In fact, we already are.

With Her Magnum Opus director Marta Renzi asks of her audience a quietly revolutionary act: keep company with a large and fluid gathering of folks, let go of narrative expectations and fall into the rhythms of movement, mood and music while carried along by the currents of time and the seasons.

Award-winning director Jonathan Demme had already been a long-time fan of neighbor Renzi’s dance film shorts. Perhaps what drew him to nurture Renzi’s vision in post-production of this, her first feature, was his sense that “this is a new way of entertaining”.

Joanna Ney, curator of Dance on Camera at the Film Society of Lincoln Center calls it “Altmanesque”, singling out the variety of music that leads the action - into the forest, onto the beach, and back again and again to the little house that is the heart of the group.

The gray-haired force of nature who is the hub of this community, as portrayed by Aileen Passloff with earthy passion, led independent filmmaker John Sayles to call Opus “a Grace Paley short story told in movement.”

Shot on a shoestring over the course of 4 seasons on an extraordinary property in Renzi’s backyard along the Hudson River, Opus features a host of cinematographers, including Kal Toth, Cari Ann Shim Sham, Charles Caster-Dudzick and Paul Galando, whose hyphenated contributions also include producer-performer-father. Galando and his daughter Gigi, long-time Renzi collaborator Deborah Tacon and her daughter Maya, Renzi’s own two grown sons Amos and Lorenzo Wolff - and baby Aya born (off-screen!) to Tina Vasquez - improvise their visits to the cottage with the ebb and flow of an extended family, erasing the borders between real life and fantasy.

Although the ensemble also includes performers with memorable careers in major modern dance companies such as Bill T Jones / Arnie Zane (Arthur Avilés) and Martha Graham (Blakeley White-McGuire) their movement is understated, tuned to a very human scale that avoids bravura or pretension. Other performers include those with experience on Broadway (Max Kumangai, Amos Wolff) and on tv and film (Jim Desmond).

The score, a constant presence in Her Magnum Opus, comes from a wide range of sources - professional and amateur, classical and folk, with original music composed by Ljova threaded throughout. From Romanian singer Maria Tanase, to music by Tchaikovsky and Dvorak, the cottage in the woods might be inhabited by Baba Yaga - except for the distinctly American flavor of David Pulkingham’s acoustic version of Working on the Railroad, or Lorenzo Wolff’s rocking Flowers. About the sound design, created with Caleb Townsend in the studios of Oscar-winner Skip Lievsay, Renzi says: "After a decade of making DIY films, this kind of painstaking, world-making sound editing is a complete revelation."

Renzi also notes, “the wooden toys that come alive in Opus reflect my love of art that is home-made, hand-made: something crafted anonymously that calls to us across generations, and cultures.”
Just as, she hopes, will Her Magnum Opus.