“Night Dancing,” the latest collaboration between partner/editor Marco Perez of bicoastal Union and director Barney Cokeliss of RSA, will have its world premiere on opening night at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The short, laden with elements of romance, intrigue and fantasy, is a return to narrative filmmaking for Perez, who recently edited a string of acclaimed documentary spot projects, including CNN “Why We Go” (CNN/Klaus Obermeyer), a SHOOT Top Spot in June of 2016; Apple “Dillon’s Voice” (TBWA Chiat Day/John X Carrey); and Hershey’s “Hello From Home Simone” (Arnold Worldwide/Tyler Manson) - ranked #1 among Adweek’s 10 Most Compelling Rio Olympics ads (his “Hello From Home Jordan” was #4).   

The 6:30 “Night Dancing” stars Jason Thorpe (well-known in the UK for comedy, taking a more dramatic turn here) as a man whose nights are consumed by visions of a street dancer (Louise Tanoto). Unsure whether she - or her partner (Jacob Ingram-Dodd) - are real, our protagonist relates this to his therapist (Alister Cameron), in an attempt to qualify his sanity, or, perhaps, to free his soul.

"I’ve loved editing with Marco ever since we first started working together on commercials in Paris (Peugeot, CIC Bank), and he’s become a close friend as well as a massively valued collaborator,” said Cokeliss, who also wrote and produced the film. “‘Night Dancing’ was a great opportunity to work together on a creatively ambitious drama piece, at a longer running time than we’ve had together until now. For me it was a no-brainer to wait until he had a gap in his busy schedule - I knew I wanted his artistry, attention to detail and his great sense of humanity for this tender and delicate film.”

Likewise, Perez relished the opportunity to work with Cokeliss on a longer form project. “Barney and I go way back and have similar sensibilities, and as he moves forward in his long form feature and TV career, we seize any chance to collaborate,” he said. “When he called to say he had found some time to shoot this in Prague, I was so excited. It’s a project people attached to because they believed in this beautiful story.”

Perez also embraced the challenge of editing a dance-driven piece in which the dance was largely improvised. The absence of rigid choreography contributed to an especially creative postproduction experience. “It was a magical couple of weeks working in New York with Marco, while the film’s composer, Anné Kulonen, wrote the music simultaneously as we edited,” Cokeliss recalled. “So the edit informed the music, and then the music informed the edit in a really interesting circle.” 

“I want to express my appreciation to Union Editorial and Union Entertainment Group, which provided a lot of support,” noted Perez. “I’m proud to be with a company so deeply committed to good work.” “Union is an inspiring environment to work in - both in terms of the people and the space,” Cokeliss concurred, “and it was fantastic to have their support both for the offline and online parts of the process.”

The end result, said Perez, is a film that “resonates strongly because we each have our own weird side and we try so hard to reconcile it with what we think we should be. ‘Night Dancing’ is about coming to terms with our humanity.” 

For his part, Perez hopes to continue working across a variety of genres and platforms (on the feature front, he edited the doc “Uncertain,” which won the Albert Maysles Award at Tribeca and was named one of Newsweek’s Best Docs of 2015; and the narrative 2014 Tribeca entry, X/Y, with fellow Union partner/editor Sloane Klevin). “It’s fun to juggle, and I bring tools from documentary to narrative, from films to spots and vice versa,” he observed. “This helps me to find new ways to tell stories, and makes all of my work stronger.”

About Union
Union Editorial has offices in Santa Monica, CA, New York City, Austin TX, and London, where it maintains an alliance with Marshall Street Editors. The company also develops and produces original content, in partnership with Killer Content companies through its Union Entertainment Group banner. Other Union companies include Platform, a creative and advertising solution for the gaming industry; and Resolution, a visual effects boutique specializing in visual effects for commercials, features and gaming. 

Union is presided over by Partner/Managing Director Michael Raimondi and Partner/Executive Producer Caryn Maclean. The Union roster is comprised of Partner/Editors Jim Haygood, Einar, Jay Friedkin, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez, and editors Nico Alba, Jinx Godfrey, Nicholas Wayman-Harris, Rachael Waxler, Daniel Luna, Jason Lucas, Paul Plew, Ben Longland, Laura Milstein, Eric Argiro, Karen Kourtessis, Zach Kashkett, Andrew Doga, as well as select projects with Tim Thornton Allen, Patric Ryan, and Ryan Boucher.