About this project
"Clean Socks" is a feature-length documentary about Mongolian contortionand tells the story of one of the best Mongolian contortionist in the world,Serchmaa Byamba, and her student Lance. The story takes place both in Mongolia and the United States of America. We started this documentary project when two of Serchmaa's students, Lance and Kristina, followed her to Mongolia to experience the culture and learn where Serchmaa Byamba's teacher first started training in contortion art.
We are attempting a second fundraiser with less ambitious goals in Mongolia. This $5000 will cover the minimum the cost of
*hiring one extra crewmember in Mongolia to help the film maker with visual and sound.
*renting lighting equipment and transport for the film making crew
*film and photo supplies
*Artist fees required by professionals in Mongolia so footage of acts, training and interviews can be documented.
This $5000 will raise this documentary out of a one man venture to professional level. Though it may not be as extensive as planned it will still contain the essentials the crew was hoping to film in Mongolia. Anything over $5000 will only give more filming, photography and equipment resources to the crew and improve quality more.
We are going to introduce a Mongolian boy, who is also training to be a Contortionist in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. In most circus areas and genres it is widely believed that in order to become a successful and professional circus performer, one has to start from very early age. Which has a truth in it, especially in Contortion, because with children as young as 4 or 5 years old, their bones and joints are still soft and teachers and instructors can push their body to it's maximum flexibility, but with adults with their already formed bone structure, if it is pushed without a limit, it often times just breaks. Serchmaa Byamba believed this theory until she moved to America.
Her teaching career started when some business man decided to take a chance with up and coming Contortionists to choreograph a Contortion act with 21 people. Serchmaa accepted the offer and searched young children to train for the 21 Tara act. After moving to San Francisco, CA, Serchmaa performed in many different circus shows and events, but after settling in San Francisco, she decided to stay and only perform in local events where it close to her family and pursue her teaching.
Serchmaa Byamba maintains the classic training technique passed from her teacher but encourages her students to ‘own the movements’ themselves and create their own style. As a world renowned performer and trained by the founder of contemporary contortion- Serchmaa brings not just technique but a perspective on living that she passes on. She feels the greatest thing she can give students is not just flexibility but a positive change in their life and attitude towards living it. She also believes contortion is something that can physically benefit anyone, that is can be practiced safely and easily, she wants to open contortion up to everyone who is inspired and interested by it. The techniques passed from her teacher are beneficial to all kinds of people with all kinds of goals.
Many of her students started performing and seeing the results have completely changed Serchmaa's opinion about training with adults. She was very impressed with her students' determination and will to learn to be a performer. One these students is Lance.
The art of contortion has long history in Mongolia. When people imitated animal's movements and placed them into performance acts, contortion was born in Mongolia. After becoming a socialist country Mongolian Contortion became part of the Circus genre and the very first traveling circus assembled the official Contortion training.
Contortion is called Uran Nugaralt in Mongolian, meaning Artistic bending. Our Clean Socks logo has the ancient Mongolian script saying those exact words.
Co-Producer, Tsogtbayar Namsrai, graduate from the University of Film Art in Mongolia. Tsogtbayar then moved to the United States to further his career. He has worked on many aspects of short films and documentaries for international NGOs and private industries such as: Unisef, Globe International, and the MMA. He is the 48hour film festival producer for Mongolia.
Co-Producer Faern, is creating the still photography for the Clean Socks documentary. She is well-qualified for this, as she has many years of photographing the body to her credit, as well as extensive studies in cultural anthropology. The documentary investigates Mongolian contortion and its development in the West by looking into teacher and student development. It also examines the cultural importance of a traditional Mongolian art form that is handed down through the children, and is now being taught to foreigners of all ages. From a proud lineage of artists this unique style is now taking a new shape in America. Faern is creating in-class and training images which shows a different side of the performer than might have been glimpsed before. These photographs capture a more raw, real person, the private side, and directly contrast with the more timeless and familiar images from the performances, where the character that they are portraying is a smooth drape over personal human emotion. All of the facets of the photographic portion of this project have been created in order to support the film documentary, but also represent a progression of images that stand on their own, and are both artistic and photo-journalistic in nature.
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