St. Luke’s Terence Nance debuts film at Sundance and Dallas festivals
By SHERON C. PATTERSON
Terence Nance stars as the self-conscious suitor of Namik Minter.
The journey from singing in the youth choir to joining the coveted ranks of Sundance Film Festival filmmaker is one that Terence Nance only made by faith.
The 30-year-old Dallas native, who grew up in St. Luke “Community” UMC, now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nance was back in Dallas recently while on a national tour with his debut feature film, An Over-Simplification of Her Beauty.
Nance wrote, directed and stars in the 88-minute film, which combines live action with animation. An Oversimplification, which depicts his personal reflections on relationships, was screened at the Dallas International Film Festival on April 14 and 16.
Whimsical animation is a hallmark of the film.
“My work weaves together documentary, fiction, animation, movement and sound into a formal space elastic enough to accommodate the narrative oddness of real life,” Nance explained. “Showing the work to audiences in a theater is a way of formalizing my experiences and consecrating the most affecting of them. I’m justifying the validity of my existence and those like me by retelling my most personal of narratives.”
Getting his film into the Sundance Film Festival was a blessing, he told the UMR.
“It is the gold standard for filmmakers,” he said.
On a visit to St. Luke, Nance was struck by a modern take on worship – use of a tablet computer.
More than 9,000 films are submitted, and about 150 are accepted. His film received high praise from Sundance Film Festival writer Shari Frilot, who said, “Nance creates an exquisite tapestry of live-action and various styles of animation to delve deeply into his own young male psyche as he sweats and stretches toward maturity. The result is an exciting and original film that announces the arrival of a bright new cinematic talent.”
In the midst of his film’s screenings and media interviews, Nance expressed gratitude to the people “invested” in his success.
First is his family of artists. His mother, Vickie Washington-Nance, is an actress and director. His father, Norvis, is a photographer and videographer.
Terence Nance says he learned to edit film at St. Luke “Community” UMC.
“With my mother and father’s talent alone, I had all the ingredients for a motion picture,” he quipped. “I was trained as a child to know what a well-lit photo looked like.”
Nance is also a musician, as are his two brothers, Nelson and Djore. The brothers play in a band together in New York. And Nance’s sister, Classi, also inherited the artistic genes. She is a photographer in Dallas.
Nance also gives St. Luke UMC, “where I learned to edit film,” much of the credit for his success. While there, he sang in the choir and participated in MANdala, the African rites of passage program for boys.
“I also learned creative skills at the church,” he said. “Most of all, I learned how to believe in God and know that if I kept the faith, things would happen. This film took six years to complete. It took a lot of faith to get here.”
“An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” mixes animation styles.
Also at the top of Nance’s list of influences is St. Luke Pastor Emeritus Zan W. Holmes, who attended one of the screenings.
“Dr. Holmes asked me what in my life led to this film? I told him about a college football injury that was life-threatening and ended my sports career. I had to change my identity. I saw that God wanted me to do something other than sports,” Nance said.
Nance received his under-graduate degree from Northeastern University in Boston and made his first film while studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. In 2007, he earned his master of arts degree from New York University.
Several of Nance’s previous films have been shown in Dallas, including at Black Cinematheque Dallas as part of the annual Short and Sweet Film Festival and at the Dallas VideoFest.
Contact Terence Nance at Facebook.com/loveterence. See the trailer at Oversimplification.mvmt.com.