Dispatch from Seattle, Part One

Communities Regroup in a Year of Adversity

Flow artists gather in Seattle before the pandemic. Courtesy of Seattle Flow Arts Collective.

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Reinvent. Pivot. Fundraise. Stream. Rally.

These are just a few of the terms circus folks became all too familiar with in 2020. 

As the circus community at large reckoned with the impacts of Covid-19, racial injustice, financial disarray and technological shortfalls in the past year, Circus District began taking a closer look at the local circus ecosystems determining our collective future.

From businesses that have shuttered in the last few months, to individual artists who are reimagining how they connect with audiences, the effects have hit circus professionals hard — with their ramifications spiraling outward to students, patrons and producers of the art form.

This series will explore how circus communities across North America are navigating a future fraught with unanswered questions, using collaboration and determination to draw their own road map through the chaos.

Seattle has long been a haven for performing arts, with its proximity in geography and culture to the Oregon Country Fair (established in 1969) and its 17-year history of hosting Moisture Festival, a month-long celebration of comedy and variety arts. 

Like every other U.S. city, Seattle saw its circus events, workshops and performances grind to a halt in March, as the pandemic forced almost all circus artists to put their routine social and professional activities on hold.

Students at SANCA after its reopening in 2020. Photos by John Cornicello.

John Tannous took over as executive director of Seattle’s School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in January 2020. 

Prior to the shutdown, the school’s 20,000-square-foot facility in south Seattle served 1,000 students per week with a staff of about 60 people. Offerings included flying trapeze, acrobatics, youth programs and in-house performances.

“What I saw with SANCA was this incredible potential,” Tannous said. “A lot that had already been realized with a solid foundation for truly transformative work.”

Tannous said he wanted to reach more underserved communities, expand SANCA’s professional programming, and even launch touring shows.

“Obviously Covid changed all of that,” he said. 

Following shutdown orders in mid-March, SANCA began offering free online classes by the end of the month.

“We kept our online classes 100 percent donation-based for several months,” Tannous said, noting that many patrons of the school actually paid double the normal hourly rate to support the business during the shutdown — allowing those who had suffered job or income loss to take advantage of the free lessons.

SANCA reopened for in-person classes with stringent Covid safety measures in July, but had to cease operations once again during the state shutdown in November and December.

Tannous said that assistance from the federal paycheck protection program, state and county grants, and CARES Act funding were instrumental in SANCA’s survival through the last year.

“The government support is absolutely essential to keep us afloat,” he said.

Students enjoy an aerial class at SANCA after their reopening in July. Photo by John Cornicello.

Tannous is no stranger to handling crises. He interviewed for his leadership role at the American Indian Art and Culture Museum in Arizona on the morning of September 11, 2001, and immediately had to manage the cultural and economic impacts of that tragic day.

Later, as executive director of the Flagstaff Arts Council, he navigated the organization through the devastating effects of the 2008 housing crisis.

Despite his familiarity with adversity, he said the past year has felt different.

“The most taxing part of the pandemic has been the emotional fallout of not being able to perform, and not being able to connect with audiences and communities,” Tannous said. “Because even during those previous crises, we were still able to do our craft.”

While Tannous was taking over a long-established non-profit, other groups were just getting started.

Flow artists perform in Seattle before the pandemic. Courtesy of SFAC.

The Seattle Flow Arts Collective (SFAC), a hub for flow arts, fire spinning and circus, incorporated on January 2, 2020. The non-profit does not currently occupy a physical space, but is meant to bolster organization and collaboration in the flow community.

Arlene Smith, co-founder and director of programs for SFAC, said the non-profit was able to adopt two of Seattle’s long-standing flow arts productions — FlowShop and Spin Jam — to keep them going in virtual fashion.

“That was the purpose of the organization — to give those programs more of a backbone,” Smith said, noting that FlowShop’s weekly workshops and talks (happening every Tuesday) have been a saving grace for those struggling with the pandemic’s stress and unpredictability.

One of SFAC’s priorities in 2021 is to expand educational programs through organizations like the Boys & Girls Club.

“We don’t necessarily want to be adding a ton more screen time for kids, but this is something that can get them away from screens,” Smith said. “It’s really difficult to scroll social media and spin poi at the same time.”

Co-founder and board chair BJ Burg recognized that it will take some time to build SFAC’s reputation as an organization worthy of grants and funding. But they are excited to give the burner community a voice and promote an organized path forward.

“Our community is kind of at that crossing point where we’re starting to have more resources and institutional support, and we don’t know what to do with it yet because we can’t actually run (in-person) events,” Burg said.

On February 20th, SFAC will host a virtual town hall to further clarify their organizational mission and get feedback from local practitioners.

To reach those outside of Seattle’s existing flow arts network, SFAC is hoping to broaden the general public’s knowledge, exposure and understanding of flow arts.

“In a lot of ways, what we’re doing is just marketing the art form itself and developing it,” Burg said. “A lot of people just don’t know, because we haven’t taught in a senior home, we haven’t taught in a school, we haven’t taught in a community center. So all of these things are really just about defining it.”

The organization also looks forward to instilling self-confidence and nurturing growth mindsets in their students.

“I think part of the goal of our organization is to encourage the self-empowerment that happens when you see a thing, practice it and get better — and learn that that’s how everything works,” Smith said.

Come back next week for Dispatch from Seattle, Part Two, in which we talk to Charly McCreary about what it was like to lose her circus studio in the ruthless wake of a global pandemic.

The Legend of the Great Spirits of Jugglingcraft

(If you’re suddenly very confused, it might help to read last week’s post first, after, or at some random point in the middle of this.)

Once upon a dark and stormy night, in a nearby land, a child cried out in boredom. This cry was followed shortly by another more terrible cry… the sound of the child’s parent. The powers of these cries echoed across the land, floated up the Potomac, swung from tree to tree into the misty mountains, and eventually but surely reached the quiet abode of


Caught in the midst of a fierce debate over the exact weight of the perfect juggling ball, the Great Grandmama Spirit and Grandson Spirit of Jugglingcraft suddenly fell silent, heads turned to better catch the echoes.

Their hearts were moved at these pitiful sounds of boredom, frustration, Zoom meetings and idle hands wafting up from the region. With great dedication (and relief for Grandson who had been losing the argument), the two great spirits and their loyal pup set to work.

Each juggling set was meticulously assembled of the finest, upcycled, recycled and regularly printed materials. Each individual juggling ball’s contents was measured precisely with kitchen spoons, and the final product was inspected with a master’s eye, infused with the joy of learning new things, and neatly tucked into a patented plastic-juggling-ball-bundle with a nifty set of beginner-friendly, easy-to-understand instructions, and sealed with a beautiful sticker. Each bundle was a work of art; a masterpiece.

When all the juggling bundles were finished with love and packed into the handy dandy carrying case from their favorite circus organization, the Great Spirits of Jugglingcraft rested. Grandmama Spirit invited Grandson Spirit to sit with her on the seat in front of their wooded abode.

“Grandson,” she said to him in a quivering voice thousands of years old, “you have worked hard and become a great master of the ancient jugglingcraft. These are skills and techniques that have been passed down since the very beginning of the universe itself. I am growing older, and it is time that you inherit our ways. We have reached the end of an era. There are new styles that need to be invented, new kinds of juggling balls to make, new ways of juggling heretofore unknown.” She paused to catch her breath.

“I want you to come with me on this trip,” Grandmama Spirit said. “Let us journey together to the District of Columbia and its surrounding lands to bring these good people the joy of juggling.” At these words, Grandson Spirit leapt up, filled with joy and pride.

“I will try hard, and I won’t let you down!” he said.

And so, off they went.

Down the mountain slopes, navigated the great forest…

…passed over treacherous landscapes…

…and through strange and foreign spaces.

After a long and difficult journey, they arrived at their first destination: a place of thoughts, hopes and dreams. Carefully avoiding any passerbys, the pair of Spirits carefully placed one of the lovingly crafted juggling kits for a curious soul to find.

This was only the beginning though. They had a lot of work ahead of them, and a lot of distance to travel. There were many curious things in this world, and they tried their best to stay focused on the task at hand. Mostly.

Using a variety of stealthy transportation options, they soon arrived at the next of many, many, many Little Free Libraries– the best method for bringing the joy of juggling to all people of the DMV! With great secrecy, the Spirits secreted away this bundle of juggling goodness into the Little Free Library.

After this victory, they went on to hide bundles of juggling balls in Little Free Libraries all across the District, Maryland and Virginia (but not too far out, because they were traveling by scooter after all). From neighborhood to neighborhood, east to west to north to south, the Great Spirits of Jugglingcraft journeyed to bring the joy of juggling to the people of the District.

Grandson Spirit learned all the magical ways to travel, to bring a juggle bundle to even the most populated areas without being seen, and most importantly, to make sure his hand wasn’t caught in the door when Grandmama Spirit was in a rush.

After a long day, their work was finally done. The joy of juggling had been brought far and wide, and now that Grandson Spirit knew the way, he could continue to journey down the mountain and through the woods and take the S2 bus to deliver new juggling ball kits throughout the dark and cold DC winter to children and their parents. Because juggling is for everyone: old and young, thrill-seekers and patient perseverers, the easily bored and the hyperactive.

With an empty carrying sack and light hearts, the Grandmama and Grandson Spirits of Jugglingcraft made their way home, and celebrated with a well-earned relaxation.

They all lived happily ever after.


And with that oddity,
dear friends, we’d like to bid you happy holidays,
a great Hanukah, merry Christmas, cheery Kwanza, delicious Ōmisoka,
and a brilliant New Year with Peace and Circus for all,

Christian & Lottie

Behind the Scenes Making of:
The Legend of the Great Spirits of Jugglingcraft

You can read more about the Free Juggling Ball Project in last week’s post. Special thanks to local artists, Pablo and Rodin, for their beautiful masks and embodying the Spirits of Jugglingcraft.

*Please note: The 5 members of the Jugglingcraft Project operated as an isolated “bubble” before and during the production of this project, so you won’t see any facemasks in these photos while we’re indoors. We bubbled to keep us safe and you safe while we assembled your juggling ball kits. While all kits did additionally sit for at least two weeks after assembly and before distribution, we recommend using alcohol to wipe down the surfaces before use. It’s always a good idea to make sure your equipment is clean, even in normal times.

Found a juggling ball in your nearby Little Free Library?

A mysterious thing is occurring across the city…

Juggling ball kits are appearing in Little Free Libraries! How can this be?

On an exceptionally rainy weekday evening earlier this fall, a clandestine operation was taking place in Takoma. The infamous Thom Wall, of Philadelphia’s Modern Vaudeville Press, ran across the street hugging a giant black trash bag nearly bursting with *dramatic music plays* empty plastic balls. He deposited the bag into the open trunk of a nondescript white vehicle, and ran back to gather an additional box of Supplementary Materials. Meanwhile, the owner of the nondescript white vehicle began to plot a secret route to acquire the valuable Ball Filling Supplies. Thus was the beginning of the Great DC Juggling Ball Project! *more dramatic music*

At least, it happened more or less like that.

As the Modern Vaudeville Press explains,

Thanks to an incredible donation from the Flea Theater in New York City, Modern Vaudeville Press has found itself in a unique position — we have supplies to make some 3,500 juggling balls using mostly upcycled materials. With this shell donation, we can make hundreds of juggling kits to give away at extremely low cost / free to community programs all along the East Coast.

And we just had to get involved. Who knows which of these lucky finders may become the world’s next famous juggler? We requested help from some local friends, and have so far assembled and distributed 50 free juggling kits for the joy and amusement of people of all ages across the DC area.

Who are those juggling-ball-assembling friends, you may ask? Why, the Great Spirits of Jugglingcraft, of course. Next week, you can follow their story as they made their magical visit down to DC.

And if you haven’t found a set yet, don’t worry.

Maybe the Spirits of Jugglingcraft will hear your plea, descending from their foresty mountain home to leave a kit sometime this winter….

Spirits of Jugglingcraft prepare juggling balls


Circus Photographers Keep Art in Focus

The District Ringer recently spoke to Dani Pierce and Shamal Halmat, both of whom excel at keeping circus arts in the frame. Learn about their life experiences with photography in part one of this series.

In part two, we share Pierce and Halmat’s advice on how to raise your photography and videography game, including practical tips, online resources, and artists who have personally inspired their work.

Photo by Shamal Halmat, (c) Shamal Deare Creative, 2019.

Pro Tips from Circus Photographers


  • Think about the story you want to tell. That’s the point of all art, photography and circus — to actually revolve around good storytelling.
  • Fire spinners: Slow down! To get a good photo, you kind of have to spin differently. Usually it’s too fast and chaotic. For ‘super spicy’ fire pictures, slow down as much as you can.
  • Good content is good content. For video, a lot of it comes down to making good, interesting content that people can relate to. It doesn’t really matter if you’re filming on an iPhone or a cinema-grade camera.
  • Master the basics. Learning the basics of photography and video — composition, frame rates, lighting, audio and editing — can go a long way. Try filming at ‘golden hour’ to embrace the power of natural light.
  • Circus artists: Give credit, and give back! Giving credit all the time is pretty important. And when working with a photographer, let them get something that could be for a portfolio — something they could actually use to get more work. Always keep them in mind and give them referrals to other people. If you’re dealing with event coordinators a lot, pass on the information for the photographer to work the same events.


  • Focus on the artist, and how to capture what they’re trying to convey. One of the things that drew me to the circus community is that it was a community of people who had taken seriously things that other people didn’t see as careers — and they really had a focused attention and commitment to their craft. I’ve always appreciated that. What I love about photography is that we’re able to capture other people’s art.
  • Explore ideas beyond the ‘best trick’ or ‘favorite pose.’ I will often see beauty in the form that maybe the artist — that isn’t the most dynamic part of their act, or maybe they didn’t like how their lines looked, but I think it looks beautiful. I think there’s a balance of being aware of what circus artists strive for, and then what they would actually want captured and shared.
  • For live performances, be prepared and stay in the moment! Sometimes there’s only like three chances for the best shot. You really have to be ready to go. There have definitely been so many opportunities where I think, oh man I totally missed that shot, and that was the last performance.
  • Value your time and your work. That idea of exposure and art for art? No! People need to eat and pay their bills. I charge because I know how important it is for other photographers — that I don’t just give away art for free — because unfortunately, the way that the art economy is structured, it just does everyone else harm.
Photo by Dani Pierce for Street Light Circus, (c) 2018.

Further Inspiration & Education

From Dani Pierce:

  • Acey Harper is a fine art photographer based out of Paris. He focuses heavily on the human figure, with many of his shoots involving acrobats and aerialists. See how he set up a stunning portrait of aerialist Morgaine Rosenthal hanging by her teeth from the back of a 1957 Chevy in this video. The portrait appears in the book [private acts] The Acrobat Sublime, photographed by Acey Harper and written by Harriet Heyman. “Both acrobats and photographers are used to working hard and in hardship for our respective art, and for [this book], we shared the difficulties of bringing our visions to life,” Harper said in an interview with Loenke Magazine. Read the full interview here.
  • Gregory Crewsdon is a New York City-based photographer who stages extraordinary suburban scenes that resemble cinema in their exacting consideration of lighting, sets and cast. He cites Diane Arbus and Edward Hopper as inspirations. His work often takes on a surreal quality through the staging of humans, nature and architecture.

From Shamal Halmat:

  • Taylor Jackson is a Canadian photographer who specializes in wedding photography and videography. He maintains a blog with multiple courses for aspiring multimedia creators. Many of the courses focus on weddings, but class titles also include ‘Creating Profitable YouTube Videos’ and ‘Make Money With Your Photos.’ His YouTube channel is full of knowledge about everything from event portraiture to landscape photography, based on his many years of experience shooting photos and film across the globe.
  • Larry Cohen takes poignant urban photos in Baltimore (where he is based) and other cities. His current focus is the social justice movement. He has also worked extensively with burner communities in Richmond, Baltimore, D.C. and Philadelphia. You can see his latest work at I Shot Baltimore, a diary of his photographic interests.
  • Doug Sanford is a studio and event photographer who lives and works in Washington, D.C. He takes lively and colorful portraits of artists and other subjects, including his starkly beautiful series Playing with Fire.
  • Aaron Kirn is a North Carolina-based photographer who takes masterfully lit, charismatic photos of fire artists and other variety performers. Check out his instagram to see his amazing work, and view his online portfolio here.

Special thanks to Dani Pierce and Shamal Halmat, who generously provided many of the photos you see on the header of the Circus District blog.

The Covid Chronicles: Reopening the Circus, Part Four


Note: This is the final installment of a four-part series highlighting the gradual reopening of DMV businesses. Part one profiles Emilia’s Acrobatics and Gymnastics, part two catches up with Pole Pressure DC, and part three visits Monarca in Flight.

From the collective shutdown to the current state of affairs, representatives of four companies specializing in recreational, artistic and competitive circus skills talked to The District Ringer about how the global pandemic has reframed their industry.

Before 2020, D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood attracted more than 2.2 million visitors in a six-month period. Fans of the Washington Nationals baseball team flocked there in 2019, crowding the streets and clamoring for pricey parking spaces.

As fans made their way to and from the stadium, many were probably surprised to discover another D.C. landmark — the local outpost of the Trapeze School of New York (TSNY).

The school’s blue-and-white building, with an indoor and outdoor flying trapeze rig, frequently caught the attention of passersby, and signaled that circus arts deserve a prominent home in Washington.

Due to a planned redevelopment at the end of summer 2019, the school set up shop a few blocks east of its former home. While relocating was at times stressful and unpredictable, the biggest challenge came in mid-March as Covid forced the the business to shut down completely.

“I certainly have moments where I’ve been thankful for my lines-puller training and my meditation practice — for that ability to take a breath and respond rather than react.”

TSNY-DC general manager Mandy Keithan said that when facing the incredible impacts of a global pandemic, her experience practicing and coaching flying trapeze has truly paid off.

“I certainly have moments where I’ve been thankful for my lines-puller training and my meditation practice — for that ability to take a breath and respond rather than react — because there is a lot of fear and urgency around many of the decisions that we make,” she said.

While the early stages of the pandemic were spent applying for federal paycheck assistance, keeping an eye on case numbers, researching best practices, and helping staff with unemployment claims, the school was able to resume classes in late June.

One key to their successful return was (initially) limiting enrollment to students who had taken classes at TSNY previously.

With so many new safety protocols in place — from health questionnaires to mask wearing to sanitizing to physical distancing — the management team felt most comfortable working with a familiar student base.

Before accepting new students, Keithan said, “We wanted to make sure that we were ready to give them the same level of hospitality, warmth and security — that sense of security that comes from building a trusting relationship with someone you’ve just met, when they’re about to help you jump off a platform 23 feet in the air.”

“When that’s the community expectation, and everybody’s doing it, it feels like a little microcosm of what we wish we were all experiencing.”

Keithan said that while the D.C. government has made many good choices regarding the public health emergency so far, there is room for improvement.

“A big part of it would be clarity from the government about the stages that we’re in, how their rulings are meant to be applied/interpreted to different facilities, and what their path is moving forward,” she said.

Fortunately, the school’s classes in flying trapeze, aerial and trampoline have run smoothly thus far.

“It has felt surprisingly positive and easy to set and hold a really high mask and distancing expectation,” Keithan said. “When that’s the community expectation, and everybody’s doing it, it feels like a little microcosm of what we wish we were all experiencing” in the world at large, she added.

Like other circus businesses in the area, Keithan said that TSNY-DC has occasionally had to educate the public about myth vs. reality.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there, some it being spread very widely,” she said.

During the summer, she noticed an unsubstantiated rumor circulating online that the District of Columbia was shutting down all kids’ camps. At the time, TSNY-DC was operating a children’s program in strict accordance with D.C. health and safety regulations.

Keithan said a strong team of staff incorporating a variety of perspectives is crucial to keeping everyone safe and supported.

“We feel very safe and confident in increasing what we do and still making sure we’re managing the flow of people and the level of protection,” she said, adding that it’s important to empower staff to firmly apply the established protocols.

“You can have the very best, most thought-out policies, and still have to — in every situation — make difficult judgment calls,” she said.

Part of TSNY-DC’s reopening strategy was to temporarily scrap drop-in classes in favor of workshops that keep student and staff cohorts consistent for weeks at a time.

They have since resumed a limited number of drop-in classes, and have gradually expanded their roster as the community acclimates to the new guidelines.

In 2021, the school will transition to a tiered monthly membership model, adding more drop-in classes that can be combined with workshops to suit students’ individual learning goals.

Keithan, who loves teaching and performing partner acrobatics as well as flying trapeze, said she hopes that 2021 brings improved circumstances for circus arts that rely heavily on physical touch and spotting.

“I hope that we’ll be able to keep the counts down and get to the point where things like touching and acrobatics can happen again,” she said. “Those are some really concrete things that we miss that we’d like to bring back.”

Next Friday (11/20), find out what trapeze fundamentals and new tricks TSNY-DC staff are working on during the TSNY Staff Flying Trapeze Demo from 7-7:45 p.m.

This event is free to view on Facebook live, and gives new and experienced students alike great insight into the learning process from those who’ve ‘been there.’

To view TSNY-DC’s upcoming classes and workshops, visit their website or Facebook page.


Circus Photographers Keep Art in Focus

Note: This is part one of a two-part series. Look for part two on Nov. 20th.

Circus artists rarely stay still.

Our earthly limitations of gravity, strength and flexibility demand constant motion to maintain balance and control. Capturing the resulting whirlwind of kinetic energy in a single frame is a true feat.

Fortunately, DMV photographers are up to the task.

The District Ringer spoke to Dani Pierce and Shamal Halmat, both of whom excel at keeping circus arts in the frame. We learned what makes a good image, how the circus community can support their work, and what projects they’ve been dreaming up lately.

Dani Pierce for Street Light Circus (c) 2016

For Dani Pierce, photography began as a way to indulge her creativity without feeling the pressure of a live performance.

“I always had a camera in my hand, even when I was a little kid,” Pierce said. “I discovered at an early age that if I took a picture or made a video that was interesting, it was a way of passively getting attention without having to be a performer.”

She said the photography classes she took at the University of Akron offered a needed break from the law and business courses her family pushed her to study.

“I kind of wish that someone would have told me that there are people who actually make their careers out of photography, because I might have focused on it more in college,” she said.

Pierce said she felt lucky to be one of the last cohorts at the university to work with film.

Developing and printing photos in the darkroom gave her a tactile understanding of how to capture and edit an image, tools that digital photographers now manipulate with the click of a mouse. The darkroom also provided a comforting artistic space to glean inspiration from fellow creatives.

“The characters in that class were just all really unique, creative and welcoming,” Pierce said.

“I remember eating skittles while I was developing, which was probably so bad for my health,” she added, laughing.

From 2015-2017, Pierce took photos for the visual art/performance collaborative Street Light Circus, with exhibitions of her work appearing at American University’s Katzen Gallery, The Fridge (Capitol Hill), and The GallAerie (Mount Pleasant).

“It was a really lovely way to connect with other creatives,” Pierce said. “I think that was the first time I really felt like a part of the scene in D.C., doing something that people found interesting.”

Pierce said her ideal photo shoot would focus on the process of developing a circus act from concept to execution, showing the unpolished moments of creation that go into the final product.

“It would just be about capturing the artist and their emotions through really simple portraiture,” she said.

As for supporting photographers in the community, Pierce said acknowledgment and engagement are key.

“Make sure that if someone has offered you something, that you are giving them credit,” she said. “And I think the best thing you can do for other artists is to remember them and continue to involve them.”

Shamal Halmat, Shamal Deare Creative (c) 2019

Shamal Halmat started pursuing photography seriously about three years ago. Before that, he often found himself on the other side of the lens.

As a juggler, Halmat said he was “always seeing people taking videos and pictures, then never ever seeing the footage,” echoing a common frustration for circus artists in a world saturated by smartphones. “So I decided to get a camera,” he said.

Halmat’s father ran an audio visual company when he was a kid, and Halmat later studied mass communications, public relations and advertising in college. So while he had a firm grasp of the marketing aspect, he craved a deeper understanding of photographic technique.

Much of his education came from ‘YouTube University,’ which he described as “watching hours and hours of videos, going out and actually practicing, and talking with friends who were already established photographers.”

Soon enough, he was attending events like Sunset & Chill to snap photos and video of one of his favorite subjects — fire spinning. But getting the right shot wasn’t always easy.

“The fire will start out really bright, but then it gets dimmer, so you have to adjust your settings to keep up with it,” he said. “The lighting conditions are very tricky.”

Now armed with a portfolio of work, Halmat said he is interested in helping circus performers strengthen their branding through marketing and press packages, and would also love to create a documentary about organizations bringing circus arts to refugee camps and crisis areas worldwide.

This summer, Halmat served as an assistant filmmaker for Resist, a music video produced by Sunset & Chill supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. This mesmerizing short film highlights local flow artists backed by the tunes of Mustafa Akbar and Fort Knox Five Recordings.

“That was just great — being able to work with my friends, work with flow, and use a really nice RED cinema camera,” he said. “I’ve been really appreciative and grateful for all the things that Sunset & Chill has been doing for myself and the community.”

Credits: Directed By: Spencer Grundler Producers: Sunset & Chill (Max Labasbas, Sam Stevens, Wade Hammes) Edited By: Daniel Bowie Music Contributed by: Mustafa Akbar, Fort Knox Five Recordings 1st AC: Shamal Halmat Equipment Rental Courtesy of: Capital Camera Rentals Performers: Rae Hopkins Willow Snow Coffin Nachtmar AArrow Sign Spinners (https://aarrowsignspinners.com/tag/wa…) Sonny Tran Iman Bowman https://sunsetandchill.com

Further reading: How a diverse community harnesses its skills to support Black Lives Matter The Uncommon District, Aug. 21, 2020.


Join us next week for Part Four of The Covid Chronicles, profiling TSNY-DC (Navy Yard) in its quest to resume classes and maintain community (safely) in unprecedented times.

And come back on Nov. 20th for TRICKS OF THE LIGHT: PART TWO, including pro photo/video tips from our featured photographers and some insight into the artists who have inspired their work.