Step 2017

Directed by Amanda Lipitz Framing Reality

Fighting the tough realities of their disadvantaged neighbourhood, Step follows three irrepressible young women in an enlightened Baltimore school as they prepare for college – and rehearse for step dance glory.

Jul 21

Rialto Cinemas Newmarket

Jul 28

The Civic Theatre

Aug 03

The Civic Theatre

Aug 06

Event Cinemas Westgate

USA In English
83 minutes DCP
E

Director

Producers

Steven Cantor
,
Amanda Lipitz

Photography

Casey Regan

Editor

Penelope Falk

Music

Laura Karpman
,
Raphael Saadiq

With

Blessin Giraldo
,
Cori Grainger
,
Tayla Solomon
,
Gari McIntyre
,
Paula Dofat

Festivals

Sundance
,
San Francisco 2017

Awards

Special Jury Prize (Documentary)
,
Sundance Film Festival 2017

Elsewhere

If you come to NZIFF in search of real-life heroines, the ‘Lethal Ladies’ of Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women are here to steal your hearts – before they dazzle you in a blaze of step dance fury.

Opened in 2009 with a mandate to send every student to university, the school is well attuned to the fractured home lives and poverty facing many of its brightest charges. The film trails three very differently positioned seniors as each is guided through a nerve-wracking college application process. Where they find unity, relief and exhilaration is on the step dance team. Under the new step mistress, that’s no walk in the park either: she’s pushing them to kill at the state dance-off.

Director Amanda Lipitz gets close to her subjects and into their relationships with the women who champion and challenge them: their mothers, a heroically persistent college counsellor, and the no-bullshit step coach. With so much effort concentrated on getting into college, the outcome of the step competition assumes a lesser significance than in the standard ‘Best in Show’ documentary, which only makes it more loaded when the big moment suddenly arrives.

Step is so much fun, it could cause some doc purists to gripe at the glossy touches... but that’s where the film may ultimately prove most powerful. By offering some of society’s most marginalized members – young black women – their time in the spotlight without any inkling of condescension or exploitation, Lipitz does more than just entertain or enlighten. She’s breaking down barriers in nonfiction cinema.” — Geoff Berkshire, Variety