Dantela’s first film, a survival arts feature, was a disaster.
The film was a commercial flop.
A director who was previously considered one of the best in the industry is now facing an uphill battle to make a profit.
She is a self-described ‘body snatcher’, and the idea of working with a corpse has always appealed to her.
She has been working in the field of corpse-snatching for a long time now.
‘I have never felt comfortable with my body in that way.
I have always been afraid of the dead.
I’m afraid of people that are living,’ she says.
‘When I first started working on that film, I was just so scared of people, so I was afraid of them.
Now I have a more positive feeling about it.
I feel safer now.’
Dantell has worked with some of the world’s most famous dead people, including a former British prime minister, former President of the Philippines, and former US president.
The idea of going on a shoot to recover a corpse is one that Dantelle is all too familiar with.
‘It is a lot of fun to be in a dead place.
I’ve worked with them all.
I just want to do it and not let them take my life,’ she adds.
‘The only thing that ever bothers me is the idea that they might take my body and do something to it.
And if they do that, I want to be able to go to the morgue and get a new body.
I want that to be a part of my life.’
In her films, Dantella is always looking for the perfect angle.
The first time she shot a scene where a dead corpse was being removed from a room, it had to be staged in a manner that would give the viewer a sense of immediacy.
‘If you have a corpse in the room, you can feel the presence of the body in the scene,’ she explains.
‘A dead body doesn’t have a personality or a personality that can go on to live on.
It is like a corpse on display, but it’s still there.’
DANTEL SURVIVAL AND LIFE IN HISTORY DANTELL SURVIVE: The film explores the origins of Dantels first survival art project, which was a success in Japan.
‘One of my best friends was in an accident and we had a funeral procession that went through the countryside, so we did not want to miss any opportunity to take pictures of the funeral procession and of the scene in the hospital,’ Dantelo says.
In the film, DANTELS friend is given a bag of flowers to carry to the funeral and Dantelia is tasked with taking them back to the location.
‘As a young person, I had never seen a dead thing before, so my first reaction was: “I hope it doesn’t hurt.”‘
I had to make sure I didn’t fall over because of the bag of the flowers.
Then I had a thought: ‘I am going to try and take them back, but how will I get them to the cemetery?’
‘I knew that a corpse could not move so I had made a plan: ‘If I could do that and take a bag and carry it to the grave, I could go back to my house, I would just lie down and take the bag and the flowers, and then we would be done.’
The plan worked, but there was still the fear of not having enough to do in the first place.
DANTLÉS LAST FILM, ‘THE BLACK BOMB’: The most recent film in Dantelfest’s trilogy was released in 2012, but she says that the film she is working on is her last.
DantEL SURVEY: ‘The Black Bomb’ is an exploration of the role of the black bomb in the assassination of Kim Dotcom.
Danteel is part of the team who shot the film.
DANCE, THE END OF THE NIGHT DANTEEL SUR VIVA: ‘We have a lot to do, so the next two films are not going to be the last films we make,’ she reflects.
DANE DANTLEE: ‘In my heart, I believe in the power of storytelling, in the idea you can make a movie out of nothing, because you can’t tell the whole story,’ she tells the audience.
‘But we need to tell the full story, to make it a good film, and we need people to be brave enough to tell their stories.
I think that’s what the end of the night is all about.’