After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene decides to leave behind her prominent position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the U.S. to create her own boundary breaking art. Tracking the personal and professional challenges that await her, Elvira Lind’s film lovingly and intimately documents the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. BOBBI JENE delves into what it takes for a woman to gain her own independence in the extremely competitive world of dance and to find self-fulfillment in the process.
Bobbi Jene Smith
Born in Centerville, Iowa. From 2005-2014 she was a member of the Batsheva Dance Company under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin. She is an alumnus of the Juilliard School, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Her choreography and solo work has been presented by The Batsheva Dance Company, PS122 COIL Festival, The Israel Museum, Luminato Festival, The Wild Project, Machol Shalem, Sacramento Ballet, The CCA, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, NYU, and The Juilliard School. She has worked in Punchdrunk's production of Sleep No More as Lady Macbeth as well as 'Dido and Aeneas' and 'Orphic Moment' choreographed by Zack Winokur. Her film and video work include, “Annihilation,” directed by Alex Garland; “MA,” directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall; and “Yossi” directed by Eytan Fox. Bobbi is a certified GAGA teacher and has taught Ohad Naharin's repertory in schools and universities around the world. In 2015, Smith relocated to New York City, NY.
Jan Bijvoet - Theo
Jan Bijvoet was born in Antwerp in 1966. He has been one of the artistic directors and actors of the Antarctica Theater since 2005. He has also performed in film and television, guest-starring in a number of series. He has starred in the films AD FUNDUM, THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN (Academy® Award nominee), and BORGMAN (Official Selection – Competition, Cannes 2013). In 2007, he was nominated for the Flemish Culture Award of Scenic Arts. Referring to the German explorer who was the inspiration for his character, he reflects that even though Grünberg tried to integrate with the native people, he could not let go of his white spirit. “He had the western way of thinking, and he wanted to carry hundreds of things to study. Love is possession, too. He is also afraid of death. He doesn’t understand why, but it’s because deep down, he is a materialist since his formation, even though he tries to drift away from it.”
Brionne Davis - Evan
Brionne Davis was born in Texas and started acting at a very early age, playing Tom Sawyer. He has starred and taken leading roles in more than 30 independent feature length and short films and television series, including REST STOP: DON’T LOOK BACK (2008), DOROTHY AND THE WITCHES OF OZ (2012), Pandemic (2007), NARCISSIST (2014), SAVAGED (2013), and HOLIDAYS WITH HEATHER (2006). In New York, Brionne starred in the Theatre Row adaptation of Sam Shepard’s “True West.” He has appeared in many theater productions all across the country, including “Wallenburg” at the Soho Playhouse, “A Noble Exile” in Los Angeles and “Nueva York,” a one-man show that he wrote ￼ and produced, inspired by the writings of Tennessee Williams. Davis’ character “Evan” in EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT was inspired by the great botanist and explorer Richard Evans Schultes, and he feels close to him in his love of and search for plants and nature.
Antonio Bolívar Savador - Old Karamakate
Antonio Bolívar Salvador is one of the last survivors of the Ocaina people. He resides near Leticia and has had some previous experiences in filmmaking, but he prefers not to speak about them because he feels that they were disrespectful to his culture. Besides playing one of the main characters, he also served as interpreter for the Tikuna, Cubeo, Huitoto languages and even English, as he became the teacher of the international actors. He represents the best of the Amazonian people: willing to trust foreigners, to transmit their knowledge and thankful to be treated respectfully. That’s the most important aspect of the film to him: “It is a film that shows the Amazon, the lungs of the world, the greater purifying filter and the most valuable of indigenous cultures. That is its greatest achievement.”
Nilbio Torres - Young Karamakate
Nilbio Torres has never set foot in a gym; his amazing physique has been sculpted by the hardships of the jungle and the hard work he’s done since he was little. The 30- year-old has only worked in agriculture and this is his first experience with the cinema. He has a hard time expressing himself in Spanish, as he speaks mostly Cubeo. But he manages to find words to tell what this experience has meant to him. He feels the film is faithful to the story of his ancestors. “What Ciro is doing with this film is an homage to the memory of our elders, in the time before: the way the white men treated the natives, the rubber exploitation. I’ve asked the elders how it was and it is as seen in the film, that’s why we decided to support it. For the elders and myself it is a memory of the ancestors and their knowledge.”
Yauenkü Miguee - Manduca
Yauenkü Miguee was born and raised in Nazareth, a Tikuna community of the Amazon, 26 years ago. He is now a student of physical education in Bogotá and is about to achieve his greatest goal: to become a professional. He defines his participation in the film as a new experience in his life, this time from the field of art and corporal expression, which reinforced his thinking and showed him how to see life from different perspectives. He believes this film should be shared not only with the people of the locations, but all across the country, with all the indigenous peoples in Leticia and the Amazon, with the leaders, in schools and universities. He is the voice of many Manducas, a voice that, far away from the so-called civilization, cries out for a more civilized attitude towards Colombia’s indigenous communities.
Elvira Lind - Director
Born in 1981 in Copenhagen, Elvira Lind graduated from City Varsity - School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town in 2006 majoring in documentary film. She has worked within that field since directing and shooting documentaries of various lengths for TV, cinema, and web on four different continents. Elvira now lives and works out of New York, where she also writes on various fiction projects.
Elvira's first feature documentary Songs for Alexis competed at IDFA in 2014 and screened at a long list of international festivals; she received CPH:DOX new talent award in 2015; and her first international documentary TV series 'Twiz and Tuck' launched on Viceland this year.
BOBBI JENE is Elvira's second feature documentary, which premiered at Tribeca 2017.
Julie Leerskov and Sara Stockmann - Producers
BOBBI JENE is produced by Julie Leerskov and Sara Stockmann, the two main producers at SONNTAG PICTURES.
Sonntag Pictures is a Copenhagen-based film production company with a strong focus on cinematic, auteur-driven documentaries for a broad domestic and international audience. Sonntag Pictures identify with films that combine a strong artistic standpoint to a global social thinking—often with an urge to create political impact.
The company is headed by award-winning producer Sara Stockmann: Producer of ARMADILLO (Cannes Critics Week – Grand Prix 2010, Emmy-award 2011) and IDFA-nominee MERCY MERCY: A PORTRAIT OF A TRUE ADOPTION.
Julie Leerskov joined Sonntag Pictures in 2016, she has produced THE WILL by Christian Sønderby Jepsen (Danish Film Critics Association award 2012, DOX award, Doc Alliance Award) and has also produced Elvira Lind’s first feature documentary film SONGS FOR ALEXIS (selected for IDFA).