Merce Cunningham and his dancers, 1958 © Richard Rutledge/Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust

SYNOPSIS ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· TOP

CUNNINGHAM is a 3D cinematic experience about legendary American choreographer Merce Cunningham. The film, directed by Alla Kovgan, follows Merce’s artistic evolution over three decades of risk and discovery (1944–1972), from his early years as a struggling dancer in New York City to his emergence as one of the most visionary choreographers in the world. Misunderstood by the dance world of his time, Merce persevered against all odds and developed a new dance technique and a new way of thinking in collaboration with composer John Cage and visual artist Robert Rauschenberg.

Rooted in both imaginary worlds and actual life experiences, the film features excerpts from iconic Cunningham works, performed by the last generation of his dancers and re-imagined for 3D cinema on location indoors and out. The painstaking choreography of the camera allows the viewers to have an experience reminiscent of “stepping inside" the dance. The archival materials evoke the atmosphere of the time, while Merce’s diagrams and drawings provide insight into his creative process.

3D technology weaves all the elements together, creating a moving and visceral journey into the choreographer's world.


“Dancing is a lively human activity,
which by its very nature is part of all of us, spectators and performers alike.
It is not the discussion, it is the doing and seeing…”


Melissa Toogood and Ashley Chen in Summerspace 3D

NEWS & TIMELINE ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· TOP

November 17-23, 2017
CUNNINGHAM is one of the 8 films on art selected for the round table pitch session at IDFA, Amsterdam.

September, 2017
CUNNINGHAM is awarded funding from NRW (Cologne) Fund and Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart) Fund, Germany.

September, 2017
CUNNINGHAM is featured in Dance Magazine.

March, 2017
CUNNINGHAM is awarded funding from the German-French Project Development Fund (MiniTreaty Fund).

December, 2016
Dance Magazine critic Wendy Perron named discovery of Cunningham dance "Changeling" the best "unearthing" of 2016.

CUNNINGHAM is awarded funding from BKM Fund, Germany.

November 18-19, 2016
SUMMERSPACE 3D is presented at the
New World School of the Arts, Univeristy of Florida (Miami) as part of the 30th anniversary celebration. Melissa Toogood is an alum.

November 4, 2016
IFP and executive producer Stephanie Dillon host an event in support of CUNNINGHAM in Minneapolis.
For more information, email to:


October 25, 2016
An audio piece about Legacy, Memory and Cunningham dance "Changeling" by Bart Warshaw. It includes interviews with "Cunningham" cast member Silas Riener and director Alla Kovgan:

September 2016
CUNNINGHAM is awarded funding from Hamburg Film Fund, Germany.

July 2016
CUNNINGHAM is pre-sold to ARTE TV.

June 20–July 1, 2016
rehearsals with dancers in New York lead by Jennifer Goggans.

May 5, 2016
CUNNINGHAM is awarded funding from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

March 30, 2016
CUNNINGHAM is awarded post-production fudning from
Le Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (Nouvelles Technologies en Production (CNC), France. Helge Albers from Achtung Panda (Germany) joins as as co-producer.

January 30, 2016
Joséphine Derobe presents SUMMERSPACE 3D at 3D Film Market in Belgium and curates it for the program “Le corps dans tous ses états” (“The body in all its states”) at the Digital Image Summit in Paris at the Centre des Arts d'Enghien.


December 31 , 2015
New York Times article, mentioning
Changeling and CUNNINGHAM 3D.

October 22, 2015
ArtFuse article about
Summerspace 3D and discovery of Changeling.

October 22, 2015
New York Times article about Changeling.

October 21, 2015 - January 24, 2016
(2 minutes 15 seconds, loop)
at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Read press release

October 2015
Cunningham 3D is selected for New Cinema Network 2015, Rome, Italy.

October 2015
Cunningham 3D is presented at the Production Finance Market, London, UK.

June 18, 2015
New York Times and ArtForum article about the discovery of Changeling.

March 9-11, 2015
Shooting Cunningham 3D trailer and Summerspace 3D in Paris with Ashley Chen, Dylan Crossman, Cori Kresge, Marcie Munnerlyn, Jamie Scott, Melissa Toogood, Jennifer Goggans and director of photography Mko Malkhasyan, stereographer Joséphine Derobe; VFX house La Maison. The trailer and the Making OFF are available upon request by emailing to


January 2015
Cunningham 3D is at the Cinemart, at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Netherlands.

November 2014
Cunningham 3D is awarded funding by Le Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (Nouvelles Technologies en Production (CNC), France to create a 3D trailer. Stephanie Dillon joins as an executive producer of the project.

December 2013
Cunningham 3D is given the Best Pitch Award and desribed as the Most Promising 3D Project of the year at the 3D Film Market, in Liege, Belgium.

August-September 2013
Cunningham 3D producer Kelly Gilpatrick participates in the Trans Atlantic Partners program through IFP New York to pitch the film at international film conferences and markets in Berlin, Halifax and New York. As a result French producer, Ilann Girard comes on board.

July 2013
6 weeks of rehearsals with dancers at the City Center, followed by 3 days of 3D Tests with the New York based company Off Hollywood and stereographer Alonso Homs (THE GREAT GATSBY).

September 2012 - May 2013
Director of choreography Robert Swinston, Associate Director of Choreography Jennifer Goggans and director Alla Kovgan review over 80 dances created by Mr. Cunningham between 1942 and 1972 and select excerpts to be adapted for 3D screen. Kovgan conducts an extensive research for Cunningham 3D.


Shooting Summerspace 3D, Paris, March 2015

TEAM ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· TOP

The CUNNINGHAM international team includes:

· · · an award-winning Moscow-born filmmaker Alla Kovgan (NORA, TRACES OF THE TRADE) with an over decade of experience in documentary filmmaking and dance film collaborations. Her films have been presented worldwide, including at Sundance, Toronto, Rotterdam; on PBS, ARTE, SVT; at Tate, Louvre and MOMA:

· · · director of choreography Robert Swinston, who worked at Cunningham’s side for thirty-two years, directed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final world tour and now heads Centre National de Danse Conremporaine in Angers, France;

· · · Jennifer Goggans, associate director of choreography, who danced with The Merce Cunningham Dance Company for twelve years and now works for The Merce Cunningham Trust and stages Cunningham works around the world;

· · · the stellar cast of dancers, including Cedric Andrieux, Ashley Chen, Brandon Collwes, Dylan Crossman, Rashaun Mitchell, Marcie Munnerlyn, Silas Riener, Jamie Scott, Melissa Toogood, Andrea Weber (all former members of The Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Cori Kresge (former member of the Repertory Understudy Group) and others;

· · · director of photography Mko Malkhasyan, an award-winning DP who shares his time between US and Europe and who has an innate understanding of filming dance as he worked with Kovgan on all her dance film works for screen and stage;

· · · director of stereography Joséphine Derobe; an internationally acclaimed French stereographer and a 3D cinema artist, who often works with the German director Wim Wenders;

· · · VFX house La Maison (Luc Froehlicher, Eve Ramboz, Annie Dautane and Co.), a Paris-based creative studio that specializes in making high-end visual effects;

· · · producers Ilann Girard (Arsam International, France; MARCH OF PENGUINS, GOODBYE BAFANA, LEBANON, I, ANNA), Helge Albers (Achtung Panda, Germany; HAVANNA, MI AMOR; SILENT WATERS; COMRADES IN DREAMS; ABOVE AND BELOW), Derrick Tseng (Chance Operations (CO), USA; DARK HORSE, RED OAKS, PALYNDROMES), Kelly Gilpatrick (CO, USA; OPEN, HOWL), Elizabeth Delude-Dix (CO, USA; TRACES OF THE TRADE; SENSE THE WIND), and executive producers Stephanie Dillon (STAY THEN GO, BIKES OVER BAGHDAD) and Talal Al-Muhanna (WHOSE COUNTRY, DISPORTRAIT).

and many other gifted and talented individuals, including René Bastian (co-producer), Laura Weber (line producer, US), Marie–Noëlle Hauville (line producer, France), Guy Courtecuisse (post-production supervisor), Jeffrey Norman Wirsing (costume designer), Jean Chesneau (grip/crane), Mathieu Bremond (gaffer), Sergio Ochoa (on-line editor), Richard Marizy (3D editing), Erwan Quinio (sound mix, Studio Bastille) and others.

“I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I'm frightened of the old ones. ”


Marcie Munnerlyn in Summerspace 3D

Marcie Munnerlyn in Summerspace 3D

SUPPORTERS ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· TOP


The Merce Cunningham Trust that generously provided a Master License for all the dances featured in the film.

Le Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (Nouvelles Technologies en Production)

The Hamburg Film Fund, Germany

The German-French Film Development Fund (MiniTreaty or Minitreaté)

The BKM Fund (Kulturstiftung des Bundes)

The Baden-Württemberg Fund, Germany

The NRW Fund, Germany

The Rockefeller Foundation

Dance Films Association

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

The Walker Art Center

La Maison

IFP Minnesota, IFP New York

Sophie Dulac Productions

and many individual supporters: Clara Wainwright, Lyda Kuth, Deborah Hawkins, Amy Ellsworth, Sue Pucker, Barbara Schwartz, Terry Barczak and others.

Our sincere THANKS and DEEP GRATITUDE to individuals and organizations who continue sharing their expertise and wisdom, inspring us to persevere (in alphabetical order):

Michael Amundson
Grant Anderson
Maggie Anderson
Jason Andrews
Ella Baff
Ernest Baker
Reihnard Bek
Philip Bither
Sylvie Blum
Carolyn Brown
Katrina Browne
Melissa Butts
Trevor Carlson
Kevin Carr
Emily Carson Coates
Debra Cash
Danielle Castronovo
Rachel Chanoff
Zachary Chauvin
Sara Coffey
Michael Cole
Richard Colton
Mary Coyne
Andrew Cross

Elizabeth Delude-Dix

Shelby Dillon
Amy Dodson
Marc Downie
Kristy Edmunds
Jan Erkert
Pepper Fajans
Scott Ferril
Joan Frosch
Ben Geffen
Julie George
Pia Gilbert
Anna Glass
Julie Gleich
Alan Good
Jason Goodwin
Lisa Hahn
Deborah Hawkins
Barbara Heizer
John Hinrichs
David Henry
David Hinton
Annie Hoffman
Magali Jammet
Tanisha Jones
Kayla Jenkins

Alice Kaiser
Paul Kaiser
Joe King
Patricia Knowles
Boris Krichevsky
Shanna Kudowitz
Laura Kuhn
Lyda Kuth
Jacqueline Lesschaeve
Patricia Lent
Lew Lloyd
Christy MacClear
Ellie Maples
Julie Martin
Robert Mattison
Cassie Mey
Sam Miller
Chris Muller
Alyce Myatt
Carrie Noland
David Parker
Wendy Perron
Andrew Petterson

Georgiana Pickett
Chris Rauschenberg
Colette Randall

Gus Reed
Robert Richter
Kim Rowe
Mary Shepard
Anne Sheehan
Vernon Scott
Allegra Snyder Fuller
Allan Sperling
Kerry Stichweh
Abigail Sebaly
Ken Tabachnick

Deirdre Towers
Thuy Tran
Derrick Tseng
Nick Urbom
David Vaughan
Renée Wadleigh
Dedalus Wainwright
Christine Walker
Pebbles Wardsworth
Susan Weil
Mark Weingartner
Lynn Wichern
David White
Chi-hui Yang
Michel Zana

Centre national de danse contemporaine (Angers, France), CF Peters, Cofiloisirs, Dyenamix
(Raylene Marasco & Kristian Kraai), Euromedia, Gaumont, Holowalls (Dan Les), OpenEndedGroup, Transpalux, TSF, University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana).


“Clearly, it's impossible but we will do it anyway...”

Jamie Scott in Summerspace 3D

CONTRIBUTE ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· TOP

Chance Operations accepts tax-deductible contributions through its fiscal sponsor, IFP Minnesota.

To make a tax-deductible contribution, please make your check payable to: IFP Minnesota. In the memo section of your check, please note our project: CUNNINGHAM.

Tax-deductible contributions may be mailed directly to:

IFP Minnesota
550 Vandalia St., Suite 120
Saint Paul, MN 55114

You can also contribute on-line via PayPal through IFP Minnesota website by clicking


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CONTACT ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· ·· TOP

For further information, please contact: INFO@CUNNINGHAM3D.COM




© Chance Operations, Achtung Panda & Arsam International, 2017