Award Winning Filmmaker’s Feature and New Short to be Screened at Celebrate Tango Festival in NYC

Award winning filmmaker Marianne Hettinger’s new short “Saint Vitus Dance” will be screened with her critically acclaimed “Mango Tango” (Best Feature, Ventura Film Festival. 2009) on July 24, 2011 at the Celebrate Tango Festival in New York.

New York, NY, July 19, 2011 --( Award winning filmmaker Marianne Hettinger’s new short “Saint Vitus Dance” will be screened with her critically acclaimed feature “Mango Tango,” followed by Q&A with the filmmaker on July 24, 2011 at Stepping Out Studios as part of the week long Celebrate Tango Festival in New York City. Her debut feature film, “Mango Tango,” a romantic comedy about a New York dance instructor looking for “Mr. Right,” has been described as "smart, sexy and seriously funny" by "Focus Magazine." It won the Jury award for Best Feature at Ventura Film Festival in 2009, and because of its great popularity has been screened at the Ventura film festival every year since. Ms. Hettinger, who wrote, directed and starred in the film, was named Best Director at the Detroit Independent Film Festival in 2010.

The Celebrate Tango Festival runs from July 18th to July 24th and includes the 6th USA Tango Film Festival and the 5th USA Tango Championship both held at Stepping Out Studios, 37 W. 26th St, 9fl., New York, NY 10010, as well as several ancillary events throughout New York.

In “Mango Tango” Marlene, a New York City dance teacher, while juggling her career and searching for a meaningful relationship is driven neurotic by monogamy phobic, obsessive and downright crazy men she encounters and dates. To get away from it all, she takes a vacation in the German Alps. Suddenly, she finds herself confronted with a life and death situation. The film features music by Grammy award winners Pablo Ziegler and Michael Bacon.

Ms. Hettinger’s new short film “Saint Vitus Dance” is about dancer “Margo Kaminski” who, on her way to a dance audition for her dream role, gets stuck in a traffic jam. Margo decides to make a run for it and finds herself dancing an unexpected duet with the Italian saint of dance. “A dancer’s life in New York City is full of challenges: physical pains, last minute auditions, traffic jams, and 200-1000 dancers competing for the same role. And why do we put up with this? Because we don’t have a choice. We dance out of love. But sometimes we can use a little help, even if it’s from a fourth century saint named Vitus from Italy," says the filmmaker.

Ms. Hettinger draws from personal experience as a professional actress, dancer and dance instructor. The versatile actress has done over 20 features, independent films and television shows. She’s worked with such acclaimed directors as Tim Robbins, Frank Oz, and Michael Apted. As an A-list dancer, solo guest artist with many national and international symphony orchestras, and U.S. and Canadian Ballroom Champion (American Rhythm and Theatre Arts), she’s brought down the house on Broadway in "Latin Rhythms" with Chita Rivera. She has coached celebrities Antonio Banderas and Idina Menza for the movie “Rent,” and teaches daily group classes at the New York Health & Racquet Club.

Fellow dancer, and student of Merce Cunningham, Frey Faust, who plays Vitus in the film, was her inspiration for the film. “We recently connected again and I asked him if I could capture his dancing on film. Since Frey lives in Europe now, he was available to shoot only one afternoon when he stayed in New York City for a brief visit. He came straight from the airport and we improvised a dance together. In the following months I created a story line around this improvisation,” says Ms. Hettinger. Margo, struggles against all odds to pursue what she loves, demonstrating that the universe will support you if you follow your dream, what Ms. Hettinger has learned while pursuing her career.

In 2004, the filmmaker sustained a serious injury during a rehearsal accident, and required knee surgery. Due to a technicality -- she was rehearsing voluntarily without pay -- her union would not help cover the expense. “I didn't have any health insurance and no means to pay $25,000 for surgery. Then, out of nowhere, a couple who I was teaching tango to at the time, stepped in and paid the whole sum. When I thanked them, they jokingly referred to Saint Vitus, the Patron Saint for dancers,” Ms. Hettinger recalls.

“Saint Vitus Dance” stars Marianne Hettinger, Norbert Schramm, Frey Faust, features music by Nicolas Neidhardt, Tosso Hettinger, photograpy by Thomas W Campbell, Norbert Schramm, John Hudak, with editing by Thomas W. Campbell. This 10:53 minute English language short is shot in New York City.

"With her first feature ('Mango Tango'), Marianne Hettinger proves to be a real multi-talent," reports NBC News. The filmmaker, actress, dancer, and dance instructor is completing a novel and is currently represented by Poets Wear Prada, Hoboken, NJ. Marianne Hettinger is available for interviews, dance performances and demonstrations. For more about Marianne Hettinger visit her website, mariannehettinger dot com.

Poets Wear Prada
Roxanne Hoffman
Caitlin Foster