Loïe Fuller Doc ‘Obsessed With Light’ Acquired By Film Movement

Loïe Fuller

EXCLUSIVE: Film Movement has acquired U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to the acclaimed documentary Obsessed with Light, which explores the influence of one of the most remarkable figures in American arts – dancer-choreographer Loïe Fuller.

Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum directed the film, which premiered at the 2023 Rome Film Festival and has screened at DOC NYC, Hamptons Doc Fest, the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and the Cleveland International Film Festival. Tony Award winner Cherry Jones (Broadway’s The Heiress, HBO’s Succession) provides the voice of Fuller, while actress Erin Anderson (And Just Like That…, FBI: Most Wanted) provides the voice of Isadora Duncan, another pioneer of American dance.

Loïe Fuller

Film Movement

Fuller became a cultural sensation through her innovative use of lighting techniques in her stage performances.

Obsessed with Light is a meditation on light and the enduring obsession to create,” notes a description of the documentary. “The film pulls back the curtain on Loïe Fuller, a wildly original performer who revolutionized the visual culture of the early 20th century. Creating a dialogue between the past and the present, the documentary delves into the astonishing influence Fuller’s work has on contemporary artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Taylor Swift, Bill T. Jones, Shakira and William Kentridge. In the process, the film uncovers commonalities that connect these creative luminaries to Fuller and to each other. 

Loïe Fuller in performance

Loïe Fuller in performance

Film Movement/Autlook Film Sales

“The American creator of modern dance, Fuller (1862-1928) invented a completely new kind of spectacle which combined dance, fabric and movement. She also pioneered the ingenious use of electricity for the stage, even building a glass floor so that she could be lit from below. Anyone who has been to a rock concert has seen a modern version of her lighting designs. Fuller propelled herself into swirling abstractions that made audiences gasp and she immediately understood the importance of protecting her ownership of these innovations. Always struggling against a flood of imitators, Fuller was the first choreographer to attempt to copyright her dances and sued to protect her work as early as 1893.” 

Michael Rosenberg, president of Film Movement, said, “We’ve admired the previous work of these talented directors and we were fascinated by the story they so expertly told when we screened this film at DOC NYC. We look forward to sharing Loïe Fuller’s story as widely as possible across North America this coming year.”

Loïe Fuller in the dance “La Nuit,” 1896.

Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images

In a statement, filmmakers Krayenbühl and Oelbaum commented, “We are so thrilled to be partnering with Michael Rosenberg and the brilliant team at Film Movement. We’ve always been fascinated by Loïe’s strength and ingenuity and are excited to be able to share her inspiring story with audiences nationwide.”

The film was produced by Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl, associate produced by Carla Salomon and executive produced by Elizabeth Rodriguez Chandler, Ruedi Gerber, Denise Benmosche, and Susan Margolin.

Film Movement’s Michael Rosenberg negotiated the deal with EP Susan Margolin and R.J. Millard of Obscured Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers. Autlook is handling international sales.

Film Movement logo

Film Movement

Film Movement, founded in 2002, has released more than 300 feature films, including American independent films, documentaries, and foreign-language arthouse titles. Recent films include In the Rearview, the Oscar-shortlisted documentary directed by Maciek Hamela, and Art Talent Show, a film directed by Tomás Bojar, Adéla Komrzý about the intense competition to get into the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. The company also operates subscription streaming service Film Movement Plus.

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