Stink Films has added award-winning Slovakian filmmaker Adam Csoka Keller to its global directorial roster, marking the partnership with the launch of his short film, The Rite.
Created in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, Royal Ballet and Nowness, The Rite captures the passionate and primal culmination of dance troupe Culture Device’s residency. The first dance troupe of its kind, Culture Device is comprised solely of extraordinary dancers with Down syndrome. Starring actress Sara Gordy MBE, the troupe's performance marks the 106th anniversary of Stravinsky’s scandalous work “The Rite of Spring.” Encapsulating the revolutionary spirit of the original and the Ballet Russe, it aims to challenge perceptions of what classical ballet can be.
Daniel Bergmann, founder and president of Stink, said: “We are so proud that we have been able to collaborate on this very meaningful project. I’m blown away by the result: it’s very powerful to see dancers with Down syndrome performing so beautifully and emotionally in this incredible Stravinsky piece. The whole team was so focused and respectful; this collaboration with the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet will remain one of the pinnacles in Stink’s history.”
Bergmann added, “When I first saw Adam’s work I was immediately taken: he is a real artist filmmaker who expresses himself in a unique way; marrying artistic theatrical elements with fashion, conceiving and creating original and emotionally powerful films. The Rite is a perfect example of this.”
With an aesthetic rooted in his Cold War upbringing, Keller has collaborated with some of the world’s most prestigious cultural institutions, publishers and fashion houses. Moving fluidly between genres, whether recreating the second summer of love for Gucci and Frieze, documenting post revolutionary Ukrainian youth as part of his ICA residency, examining state control and uniformity through fashion or bringing drag to the opera, there is always a strong social message.
Keller said: “Stink does not operate like every other production company in the world and nor do I as a director. In the past year and a half, while searching for the right partners, I was told to re-shape myself into a ‘replica’ of the director profile each production company has created for themselves. But at Stink, my unique world view and unusual approach to filmmaking were instantly appreciated by the entire team. And they have more than proven themselves with the endless support I have been offered in creating our first artistic collaboration (The Rite).”
The director’s powerful work has earned him several high-profile awards and festival selections, including Best New Director at the Fashion Film Festival Milano 2017 and LA Fashion Film Festival 2018, the Fringe Queer Film Fest in London, Shanghai Queer Film Festival, SHOWstudio Fashion Film Awards, the Austrian American Short Film Festival and Diane Pernet’s ASVOFF.
Client Royal Opera House/Royal Ballet/Nowness Production Stink Films Adam Csoka Keller, director; Igor Smitka, DP; Masha Peva, costumes, set design, art direction; Daniel Vass, David Pickering, choreography; Katie Lambert, Rosie Litterick, producers; Daniel Bergmann, exec producer; Anthena Paginton, makeup. Editorial Nicola Powell, editor. Postproduction Lucia Kavalova, colorist. VFX Enes Guc, VFX artist; Andrej Barcak, Andrej Canecky, visual identity. Sound Joao Poppe Toulson, sound designer/composer; Mauro Polito, Donato Ponoccio, Joao Silvestre, sound recordists.