An average press screening often involves rickety seats and treks to locales in the depths of Times Square. But not when Anne Bass is involved.

This story first appeared in the November 5, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Last week, when the social fixture showed her directorial debut, “Dancing Across Borders,” there was sparkling water at the start and a post-viewing reception complete with wine and hors d’oeuvres served by uniformed waiters. Catherine Bryant and André Leon Talley added a glamorous touch, and even the anonymous journalists in attendance seemed more polished.

All the better to enjoy the elegance of Bass’ documentary, which follows the path of a young Cambodian boy, Sy Sar, from his Angkor Wat home to the upper echelons of the American ballet world. On a trip to Cambodia in 2000, Bass came across a then-16-year-old Sar performing in a local temple. She was so taken with his natural grace and agility that upon returning to the States, she invited him to join her in New York, where she provided for his ballet education and care, setting him up with famed instructor Olga Kostritzky at the School of American Ballet (Bass is a passionate dance supporter). She began taping footage of his journey to send home to his parents and soon realized she had the makings of a full-feature film. Sar is now a member of the corps de ballet at Pacific North Ballet in Seattle.

And Bass is keeping busy promoting her project across the country.

“I thought you just made a film, but there’s so much more,” she laughed. As for future directing plans, she remained vague. “I’d like to do something more on Cambodia, but we’ll see.”

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