The Open

Where dance, athleticism, and emotion intersect: in conversation with director Kit Pilosof on Cardboard Stage’s film, ‘The Open’

In this age of global anxiety, can fashioning oneself as a form of play counter our angst?

Cardboard Stage’s film, ‘The Open’, is one that is unmatched. Director Kit Pilosof incorporates her personal experience with anxiety in a movement based fashion film in collaboration with designer, Maryam Keyhani, with a taste of Wimbledon choreographed by Dasha Schwartz.

The Open - Kit Pilosof

The Open is a film about anxiety, and coaching ourselves out of it through play and the way we dress. My research revolves around designers, artists and collaborators who dealt with extreme anxiety and created a world through clothing and play to shield themselves from others”, says Pilosof

The film was originally inspired by 1960’s Wimbledon archival films. After noticing how satirical the films were, Pilosof was compelled to create a fashion focused piece with tennis as an influence. One that had never been done before. More than this, was the fact that Pilosof’s father, an avid Wimbledon and tennis fan, battles anxiety in which tennis is his form of play — an escape.

“Anxiety is an aspect of my life that is deeply connected to my father, who has dealt with severe anxiety for most of his life and helped me to recognize my first experience with anxiety. It has made us stronger people and allowed us both to explore the aspects of our lives that help us combat it – fashion for me, and tennis for him – both forms of play.”

Tennis, being so closely related to battle, is used as a metaphor in ‘The Open’ for fighting this anxiety in our lives. In collaboration with Maryam Keyhani, through the use of hats, Pilosof will play to the theme of anxiety. Keyhani is a long-time collaborator of the platform. Her pillow-esque hats convey a multitude of emotions in their varying sizes, shapes and color schemes. According to Pilosof, Isabella Blow once famously said, “fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away.”

The Open - Tennis

The Open is structured into two sections, ‘playful’ and ‘anxious’. The dancer (Emily Skubic) battles herself throughout the film in ecstatic close-ups and movement shots intertwined with internal struggles one goes through in dealing with anxiety. Shot in a stark tennis court in Caledon, Canada, the film goes to both extremes of the highs and lows in battle.

Pilosof hopes that viewers will take away the idea that in certain instances, anxiety doesn’t have to be a battle – we can benefit from it and use it to cultivate our creative practice.

For more information on Kit, you can visit her website

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