Bess Kargman -- the director, producer and editor of FIRST POSITION, the new documentary that tracks talented ballet students vying for acclaim at a prestigious ballet competition -- saw the earlier and very fine documentary, Only When I Dance, a film by Beadie Finzi, which also tracks talented ballet students vying for acclaim at a prestigious ballet competition? (Distributed by Film Movement, Only When I Dance was also an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival back in 2009.) I ask the question because the two documentaries have such similarities that, while watching Ms Kargman's movie one might easily confuse it with Ms Finzi's, especially where the films' leading South American male dancer is concerned (Kargman's hails from Colombia, Finzi's from Brazil -- and both are dark and gorgeous young men with incredible abilities in ballet). But while Only When I Dance* profiles two young dancers and runs 78 minutes, First Position tackles a half dozen of them and lasts a bit over 90.
Sundance Selects, opens this Friday, May 4, in New York City at the IFC Center and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center. In the Los Angeles area, it will open at Laemmle's Royal Theater in West L.A., Encino's Town Center 5 and Pasadena's Playhouse 7. In the weeks to come it will be arriving in theaters across the country from Atlanta to Washington DC.
*In addition to its similarities to Only When I Dance, this film also calls to mind another youths-in-competition documentary from last year, the under-seen Make Believe -- which followed six amateur magicians on the road to possible professional status.