more sundancing
issue no.
  january 15
c o n t e n t s
RED Reviews
'Torque' Runs Out of Gas, Explodes, Cuts to T&A
Opening this Weekend

It's a Wonderful Ken: RED Locates Cool-Lookin' Ken Just in Time for the Holidays

Choreography for Dead People
U Grad Timothy Albrecht Choreographs Sundance Short
by Marissa Mullen
  U graduate Timothy Albrecht makes his third mark on the Sundance Film
Festival with his choreography about dead girls. Hot dead girls. Yow!


his year’s Sundance Independent Film Festival is particularly interesting for dead people. The largest and most important film festival in the United States will showcase works from various categories such as drama, documentary, world cinema and short films. Timothy Albrecht, a University of Utah graduate, used the latter medium to showcase his choreography of a morbid yet romantic tale.

“Pretty Dead Girl” is a musical about Mortie (Christian Campbell, “Trick”), a young doctor whose fetish is sleeping with the beautiful dead bodies that pass through his morgue. He meets with Viola (Christina Souza, “Selena”), a psychiatrist who finally convinces him to love a real woman.

Albrecht became involved with this year’s “Pretty Dead Girl” when the director, Shawn Ku, approached him and asked him to choreograph his new project. A Broadway performer, Harvard graduate and University of Southern California film school graduate, Ku has been friends with Albrecht for 12 years. Together, they spent almost all of last year making plans for “Pretty Dead Girl.”

The film had a 12-day shoot last August in Los Angeles. It was shot entirely on film rather than digitally, meaning that the quality is comparable to a feature-length film—rich, noticeable colors reflect the soft, warm lighting.

According to Albrecht, this was “the most hands-on experience” he’s had. He describes the experience as one where he learned a great deal with brainstorming, setting up shots and working the camera. The film employed a full staff and sets were built on a soundstage—more money went into this project than what is usually spent on a short film. Albrecht also enjoyed working with the “smart, Broadway girls.”

The 15-member female ensemble performs in a fresh, Broadway theater jazz style. They are passionate and riveting in memorable numbers, including a dream sequence in which they dance around the young doctor in lacy, black outfits. Albrecht also had the opportunity to work with non-dancers, choreographing an opening sequence for them, as well as some partnering work for the main characters. He describes the film as a dark comedy, where the audience is likely to get caught up in the love story because the characters are so likeable.
“Pretty Dead Girl” is featured in the Shorts Program III, which deals with themes such as psychiatry, homophobia, fatherless children and relationships between siblings. This particular film is a 20-minute musical comedy that is likely to appeal to a wide audience.

The shorts category consists of six programs that include five or six different films. Each program explores certain themes or ideas, which are expressed through films ranging from eight to 35 minutes long. The shorts programs celebrate cultural diversity (as does the rest of the festival besides the competition), with films from Canada, Japan, Mexico and the United States.

Albrecht has accomplished much in the world of choreography. Originally from Montana, this inspiring individual attended and graduated from the U in 1988 with a degree in business and marketing. While earning his degree he developed an interest in dance and theater, taking many of these classes on the side.
Following his studies at the U, he moved to New York City to pursue theater as a performer and a dancer. What’s surprising and impressive at the same time is that Albrecht did not have any previous dance training prior to coming to Utah. He took his first dance class at the university at age 21. Since then, he has worked as a dancer and choreographer on a myriad of film, television, theater and corporate projects including Broadway, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and two earlier Sundance short films, “Intern” (2000) and “Camp” (2003).

For the last four years, Albrecht has focused mainly on choreography. He hopes one day to come back to Utah to stage another production for Pioneer Memorial Theatre, where he choreographed last year’s holiday hit musical “Peter Pan.” He sees his upcoming trip to Salt Lake City for the film festival as not just a celebration but also a reunion. He is looking forward to spending time with friends, and going to some of his favorite spots like Hires Big H, The Pie Pizzeria and B&D Burger.

“Pretty Dead Girl” premieres tomorrow, with additional showings on Jan. 17, 20, 21, 23 and 24. Tickets are available by calling (877) SFF-TIXS or by visiting



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