Modern Dance student Marty Buhler’s Screendance film shown worldwide

April 10 2017

Marty Buhler’s Screendance Film, Three on Four, is wowing audiences at home in Utah as well as far away ones in Finland. Buhler, a Utah native, arrived at the Screendance medium by way of musical theater, which is where he gained his first exposure to a technical dancing class and fell in love with the art form. While studying dance at the U, he saw a video project created by Tori Duhaime, which inspired him to create his own film.

Written by guest writer and MFA Student Sarah Taylor.

Screendance goes back to 1999 when the Department of Modern Dance presented its first International Dance for Camera Festival and Workshop. Founded and Directed by Distinguished Professor Ellen Bromberg, the festival was an annual event until 2002, after which it has continued on a bi-annual or tri-annual basis. In 2001, in conjunction with the Festival, a student competition was inaugurated. As a completely student run event (funded by College Fine Arts Fee Grants), this component has been adjudicated by professional dance filmmakers, educators and festival producers over the years, providing students with an opportunity to learn about the jury process. In recent years, a cash award for the Best of Festival was inaugurated.

“Three on Four is about the re-imagination of sound and movement. Through the decorporealization of both body and sound, I created choreography and a sound score that emerged from within the elements given. Creating a new work that does not exist in the corporeal sense. Like most of my ideas, I see visual images of what I want to create. For this one, I saw three men at a table doing gestural phrases. From there I decided I wanted to create a sound score using both movement and editing to create new choreography.”

— Marty Buhler

After Buhler’s initial first two projects, Transmit and Alter Prism, Buhler enrolled in a Screendance class where he gained an understanding of how to improve his work, and then created “Three on Four.”

To say that Three on Four has been well received may be an understatement. The film won first place the Utah Dance Film Festival, an excerpt is currently in Finland’s top 10 for 60 Seconds Dance and is the official selection for both the International Music Video Underground Festival and the Iowa International Screendance Festival. In March, “Three on Four” was selected to been shown at 12 Minutes Max, a monthly showcase of short new works and works-in-progress by local Utah artists at the Salt Lake City Public Library. When asked about the film’s success, Buhler expressed surprise. “I was so happy when I saw that I won first place at UDFF, then when it was selected internationally as a semifinalist for 60 Seconds Dance, I knew it was something special. As of now it has been selected for every festival I have submitted. In fact, I feel that because of all the success on the first try, I feel a lot of pressure to figure out how to make the next one even better.”

The combination of film and dance has been ideal for Buhler, who hasn’t always felt confident in his skills and talents. He says, “this has given me the confidence to get to where I’m at now. I know I have a long way to go, but to go from feeling like a nobody to having my work being seen worldwide ...I feel very blessed.”

Buhler has had positive experience in the Modern Program, which he feels has allowed him to find his voice and passion for dance and art. “I feel so honored to have Ellen Bromberg here at the U to teach Screendance. I feel very blessed to have her as faculty and an advisor for my projects. I feel that the Modern program has given me the artistic tools to create dance and screendance has given me a different medium to portray dance.”


You can view and vote for Three on Four in the 60 Seconds Dance International competition here.