Your Approval is Not Essential

Directed by Leen Michiels
Director of Photography Mark Sanders
Choreographers Jelena Kostic
Dancers Ulrika Kinn Svennsson, & Majon Van Der Schot
Composers Fady One
Costume Schueller de Waal

When a chance supermarket encounter unlocks untapped passion in an ordinary woman, her grey life quickly goes into sensory overload. ‘Your approval is not essential’ sheds a colourful, whimsical light on what happens when you let go of your inhibitions and – out of the blue – start embracing life’s quirky pleasures.

Your Approval is Not Essential won it’s first price at the Argentinian Fashion film festival, for best performance.


Interview with Director Leen Michiels & Choreographer Jelena Kostic

Describe, in as many or as few words as you see fit, the genesis of or inspiration behind Your Approval is Not Essential? Jelena & Leen: The main idea behind the movie was to portray the life of a woman who’s anxious to break free from her life full of rules.
Leen: a lot of people living in cities nowadays are stuck in their lives.

How long did Your Approval is Not Essential take to film?
We had 3 days of shooting the film and three months of preparation. How long was post-production? Post production was about 3 months

If this is your first dance for film production, what are a few things you learned about making a dance for film that surprised you? If this is not your first dance for film production, what are a few things that you are continually trying to refine or learn as you have sought to work thru this medium of dance and film together?
Jelena: This is my fourth dance movie. This movie serves a different purpose than all the other movies I made. Our main goal was to change the view on fashion movies. Therefore we used different art forms of which dance was one of them. A nice and challenging part of this project was that every person in front of the camera had to fit in three categories: acting, dancing and modeling. We we’re lucky to find the right cast to live up to every ones expectations. I learned that this can be challenging but at the same time it’s very good for me to look at the function of dancers I am usually working with.
Leen: It is my first short movie and my first movie with dance. I work since 15 years  as a documentary maker and developed a passion for dance and fiction.

What is interesting or intriguing to you about dance for film vs. dance for stage? Or, if you are coming from a film background and working with dance is a more new medium for you, what drew you to wanting to capture and work with dance?
I mainly make dance performances for stage but I always drew my inspiration from movies. Instead of talking about dance steps I always give my dancers a certain role. I always transform my dancers into cinematic personages, submerging in their role like actors. On stage they undergo conflicting emotions, dragging the spectator out of his com-fort zone and into their struggle. So rather than just moves and steps, I give my dancers characters.
Leen: Whenever I see dance on stage i can’t help but think about how I would film it.

Are there any projects, dance film or otherwise, that you are working on currently that you would like to share with our audience?
Jelena: Presently I’m working on a dance performance called UNBOUND which premieres February 2018. Furthermore I’m in the middle of preparing my new dance movie ‘HOME’ for which I am collaborating for the second time with Branded Cinema.
Leen: I’m preparing the script for a next short movie that will also be with dance. But this time with an older male dancer.