Competing for Sunlight: Ash



Competing for Sunlight: The Tree Cycle

is a Short Dance Film Series, featuring protagonists of a range of different tree species and Dance, telling individual short stories.

After her Dance on Screen Debut ‘Treeo’, – A Dance for a Woman, a Man and a Tree, which was awarded the DIORAPHTE Encouragement Prize at the international CINEDANS Festival 2014, Dagmar Dachauer/UMFUG, together with a diverse group of collaborators, further conceptualises and realises meetings of cinema, dance and trees in this Series.

Episode 2
Competing for Sunlight: Ash

Austria, 2017

History repeats itself. Almost hundred years ago, the Dutch elm disease swept over the European continent, all but eliminating the – hitherto very important – elm tree species (Ulmus sp.) from our forest landscape. Nowadays, it is extremely rare to come upon one of the few remaining elms in a European forest.
The current victim is yet another corner stone of the European tree species, the ash (Fraxinus excelsior).
From Yggdrasil, the ancestral Tree of Life, to the provider of extremely important wood – typically the handles of our tools and axes were made from the strong but bendable ash wood, but also coffins were traditionally made from ash wood – the tree has for millennia filled an important niche in European forest ecology.
Starting in the early nineties in Eastern Europe, an Asian fungus has gradually conquered
the European continent, infecting almost all ash trees. The symptoms are very severe, progressively leading to the exhaustion and in many cases the death of most trees. As a result, it is assumed that the ash tree in Europe will soon be close to extinct. Only 2% are said to be immune.

“The death of a species, especially a species as significant as the ash, punches a hole not only in nature, but also in our culture.”
George Monbiot

Choreographer and dancer Dagmar Dachauer was inspired by the sad faith of the European ash tree, and linked it to personal loss in her own life.
Finis est cinis: Ash is what remains.
‘Ash’ is a eulogy for the ash tree and for Prasthan Dachauer, who passed away in 2016.


Director: Dagmar Dachauer
Choreography and Dance: Dagmar Dachauer, Knut Vikström Precht
Cinematography, Post-Production: Kilian Immervoll
Assistant Director: David Mair
Lighting: Benjamin Lachower
Music: Green Grass’ by Tom Waits
Producer: Dagmar Dachauer
Co-Producer: Bert De Somviele
Co-Production: C-TAKT Dommelhof, BOS+
Produced by: UMFUG

Supported by: Bundeskanzleramt Österreich, Land Oberösterreich


CROSSING EUROPE Filmfestival, Linz (A), 2018 (World Premiere)
ZEBRACINEMA Network, Flanders (BE), 2018 (touring Flanders)
C-TAKT Festival C-Mine Genk, (BE), 2018
UKREP Festival, Ljubljana (SLO), 2018
Leeds Film Fest/Screendance Competition (UK), 2018 (Audience Award)
Flatlands Dance FilmFestival, Illinois (USA), 2018
Festival Internacional de Videodanza México (MEX), 2018
POOL International Dance Film Platform Berlin (G), 2018
Suburbinale Filmfestival, (A), 2018
Dance On Screen, Graz (A), 2018
Tippery Dance Platform, (IR), 2018
Moving Images Egomio (CYP), 2018
Jacob Burns Film Center, NY (USA), 2018
Music Video Underground, Le Grand Rex Paris (F), 2018 (Best Dance)
Dance on Camera Festival, Lincoln Center, (USA), 2018
CROSSING EUROPE Filmfestival, Linz (A), 2018
Bucharest International Dance Film Festival (ROU), 2018
Retracing | Maratonul filmului de dans, Bukarest (ROU), 2018
MANA Contemporary, Jersey City (USA), 2018
MANA Contemporary, Chicago (USA), 2019
MANA Contemporary, Miami (USA), 2019
Kicking and Screening, Jamestown Arts Center (USA), 2019
Short Wave Festival, Poznan (PL), 2019
CINEDANS Dance On Screen Festival, Amsterdam (NL), 2019
Tiny Dance Film Festival, San Francisco (USA), 2019
Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Forum des Images Paris (F), 2019
Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin, Haus der Kulturen Berlin (G), 2019


For her dance films about trees, Dagmar closely cooperates with the Belgian nature organization BOS+. This NGO is dedicated to sustainable forestry, conservation and afforestation in Flanders and worldwide. Greater efforts are needed for forest conservation and sustainable forest management, because forests and trees provide essential services to society.
Bringing forests to the limelight, BOS+ intensively cooperates with other organizations both within and outside the nature sector to further awareness about the role of forests. The interdisciplinary teaming up in this project, between art creators and nature conservationists, is a perfect illustration of this approach.