Directed by New York based creative Celia Rowlson-Hall, Unto The Locusts is an interpretive film that blends Rowlson-Hall’s love of dance, fashion and film. Rowlson-Hall, who initially moved to New York to pursue dance, has since stepped behind the lens using her innate understanding of the physical movement to create highly stylised films. Blending natural scenery with the gloomy and almost creepy industrial backdrop of the Lower East Side, Rowlson-Hall manages to create a mystical journey with an underlying darkness penetrating the overall storyline.
Creating in chapters, Rowlson-Hall told Portable she hopes to create more instalments to the narrative piece, focusing in highlighting the individual talents of more dancers. Fashion is also a prevalent element to Unto The Locusts with Rowlson-Hall’s fascination with how the fabrics drape and fall as her subjects twirl and slither in flowing creations from The Reformation, Holy Tee and floral head-dresses from Ashley Lloyd Millinery. Starring dancers Bobbi Smith, Megan LeCrone, and Rowlson-Hall herself, Unto The Locusts is unique in that it uses dance at the forefront to tell the story while still remaining culturally relevant in the covetable realm of fashion film. Portable spoke to Rowlson-Hall about the project and the marriage between film and dance.
P: What is your background in film?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: A few years ago I moved to New York and began dancing and choreographing for music videos, commercials, and films. A couple years later after watching how it all was done, I started making my own films.
P: What draws you to the connection of fashion in film?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: I love fashion in film mostly because it means the film will be just that much more beautiful. I appreciate the attention to detail, especially the lines and shapes that are created.
P: What inspired this film?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: I have wanted to work with both dancers Bobbi Smith and Megan LeCrone for a while now and I wanted to place them in beautiful settings to perform.
P: Who or what are your influences?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: Terrence Malick, Pina Bausch, Robert Wilson and Alejandro Jodorowksy to name a few.
P: You also used a lot of movement to portray the story, why did you do so?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: Movement is my preferred way of storytelling. I believe dance tells a story succinctly without hitting the audience over the head with it.
P: How did the collaboration with Metal Magazine come about?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: They interviewed me a few months back for their magazine and we casually discussed me maybe making a film for them in the future. After I shot “Unto the Locusts”, I sent them the video and asked if they would want to feature it, and they gladly accepted!
Portable: Why was the use of ‘chapters’ necessary to the story?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: I plan to shoot many more chapters of “Unto the Locusts” and feature many more dancers.
P: What equipment or techniques did you use?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: We shot on the Red Camera for Chapter One and Two and Canon 7D for Chapter Two. In Chapter One we set up dolly track in the woods (which is quite tricky because of big rocks and uneven ground) and also shot from a canoe. Chapter Two was all handheld and the dancer performed on a plank of wood we found on the beach and balanced on two posts so she could look like she was dancing on air. Chapter Three we shot super fast because I bought a limited amount of candles and they burned to nothing really quickly!
P: Where was it shot?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: Chapter One was shot in the woods of Guilford, CT, Chapter Two was shot at Jacob Riis Park, and Chapter Three was shot in my friend Alex Alexander’s haunted house in the LES.
P: Do you have any projects coming up in the future?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: Yes, I just directed three music videos for the bands Chrome Canyon, Atlas Genius, and The Neighbors. All of those will be coming out shortly!