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2017 SBIFF Movie Spotlight: “Rebels on Pointe”

“Rebels on Pointe” offers a truly unique look into one of the world’s most recognized ballet companies, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

And if you’ve never heard of “The Trocks”, you definitely will after watching this film. With a touch of comedy, drama, and of course, dancing, the well-rounded and beautifully composed “Rebels on Pointe,” shines light on a number of topics that affect disenfranchised groups, not just in this country, but around the world, and how showing tolerance can lead to remarkable things.

Watch the trailer below.


Exploring universal themes of identity, dreams, family, loss and love, Rebels on Pointe is the first-ever documentary film celebrating the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The notorious all-male, drag ballet company was founded over 40 years ago in New York City on the heels of the Stonewall riots, and has a passionate cult following around the world.

The film juxtaposes intimate behind-the-scenes access, rich archives and history, engaging character-driven stories, and live performances shot in North America, Europe and Japan. Rebels on Pointe is a creative blend of gender-bending artistic expression, diversity, passion and purpose. A story which ultimately proves that a ballerina is not only a woman dancing — but an act of revolution in a tutu.

Q&A With Filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart

What inspired you to make this film?

When the Trocks came to Montreal to perform, I saw an ad in the newspaper and was immediately intrigued by the photo… wondering: WHO are these people behind the make-up and tutus? You see, I’ve always been fascinated by our shared humanity and building bridges of understanding… which led me to a BA of International Relations in college, not film.

So I wanted to learn more about these fascinating men and find the universal human elements that would help connect them as people to a wider audience, not just as dancers. So while the film celebrates the company and the dancers as artists, it goes much deeper to explore universal threads like dreams, identity, love, determination, resilience and family.

In the film, there are different countries Trockadero travels to, to perform. Which destination was your favorite to shoot in and why?

I’d have to say favorite filming destination on this project is between Edinburgh and Fossano. I’ve always wanted to visit both Scotland and Italy! I found the people in both places so wonderful, the history fascinating and the architecture just so beautiful… not to mention a chance to sample some great local microbrews in Edinburgh while watching a bit of the FIFA World Cup! I am also a major foodie, so of course I had the most amazing meals in Fossano, which is such a beautiful, quaint city with breathtaking views of the Alps off in the distance!

Was there anything you left in the cutting room floor that you would have loved to include in this film?

There are ALWAYS moments that I dread cutting out of a film, that I so wish I could keep! It is one of my least favorite crossroads as a filmmaker, because every scene is my “baby”! In the case of Rebels on Pointe, I would say the moments hardest to leave on the cutting room floor were some of the behind-the-scenes moments with the corps du ballet… the dancers who did not necessarily become a main character, but whom I cared about so much. They often had such wonderful contributions about their art and life, but sadly I could not keep all of it. But I just love them all and feel bad I couldn’t include more of those moments!

What makes this documentary unique?

First of all, this is the first time that Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have allowed a documentary film crew behind-the-scenes to make a cinema verite film. It was such an honor that they trusted me to take on this story and I was so thrilled that all the dancers really enjoyed it once it was completed… that it did honor to their lives, their story, their contributions to art and making our world a better place.

I am proud of how the film reveals the humanity behind being a male dancing on pointe in a tutu… that yes, it is brilliant parody and you cannot help but leave their live performances with a huge smile, but the documentary also reveals a side of their lives that helps you care about the human being underneath… which I feel will bring their fans even closer to them and those who have never seen them will really care about them, connect with them, and of course, really want to go see one of their shows!

If there is one thing you want audiences to be conscious or aware of after watching this film, what would that be?

I really hope that audiences walk away from this film with a deeper respect for this incredible ballet company that has conceived and delivered an incredible and unique brand of dance to our world for more than 40 years (sprinkled with a wonderful gay sensibility), despite the hardships they have faced by thinking and dancing outside the box of the often conservative and conformist classical ballet world.

What was your favorite thing about making this documentary?

My favorite aspect of making this documentary has been the people! From the core team of Tory Dobrin, Liz Harler and Isabelle Martinez to all the dancers of the company itself, and support crew as well… I quickly discovered how they are like a huge, quirky yet warmly welcoming family who took me in and shared their fascinating world with me.

I am so honored that they trusted me and opened up their lives and hearts for this film, which in my opinion, is the greatest gift a documentary filmmaker could ask for. I am passionate about making observational films that ultimately celebrate our shared humanity… and this type of film is only as powerful as the trust I build with the people whom I follow, and I am honored to have shared this journey with them all.


Friday, February 3 – 8:20 p.m. – Metro 4 Theater, Screen 2 Sunday, February 5 – 10:20 a.m. – Fiesta 5 Theater, Screen 2

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