How does a first time documentary director choose a subject matter as well as personalities to create an ultimately award-winning film?  Bess Kargman, director of “First Position” – a documentary that follows six ballet dancers as they struggle their way to one of the most prestigious youth ballet competitions in the world – answered that and more during an exclusive discussion recently at The ShowRoom, Asbury Park-area’s only art house cinema.

Kargman participated in one of the theater’s “Close Up” discussions – a series produced to deliver cinema fans unique and unparalleled access to art house film talent.  During the forty minute discussion, where she answered questions from the audience as well as the brilliant Kim Powers, moderator, Kargman revealed…

Sitting with two of “First Postion” stars, Bess Kargman, director, spoke exclusively with art house film fans at The ShowRoom.

Criteria for making the documentary:

“My goal was to challenge preconceived notions and disprove stereotypes about ballet.  Not all ballet dancers are wealthy, white, skinny; not all male ballet dancers are gay.”

“I made the organization sign that I had complete control and I had control of the final cut – I would not have made the film if I didn’t have that agreement.”

“Dance is usually filmed horribly.  The audience needs full body shots to appreciate dance.  The organizers (Youth America Grand Prix) were won over when I explained my vision and how I would film the dance sequences.”

Stories from behind the scenes of filming:

“When we started filming, I hit the ground as a journalist.  I was objective during filming but it was still very emotional.  As a documentary filmmaker, you can’t get involved in the story even if you want to.”

Her thoughts about the dancers:

“I was moved by each dancer, that’s why they were chosen.”

“Michaela’s story is an incredible journey… it took me a year to gain her trust.”

Updates on the dancers:

“Rebecca is no longer dancing professionally and is now attending college.”

“You will hear Jule’s name again.  He received a scholarship from The Royal Ballet School.”

What happened when the dancers saw the film for the first time:

“They are all in shock that it is on the big screen, they said, ‘We are so big on screen!’”

What’s next for “First Position”:

“The film has been bought by the Bravo network to air after the theatrical release.”

What’s next for her:

“Documentaries are my first love but I think next for me is a scripted film.  At some point I will do a sports documentary.  Sports were a big part of my life too as a child.”

Check out for more on “First Position.”

For more about The ShowRoom’s “Close Up” series – the area’s only art house film discussion series of its kind – visit and “like” the theatre on Facebook.