We take you on a journey of the fashion film world, talented producers, actors and all the glam that only the 6th La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival could put together!
SAN FRANCISCO, United States — The 6th annual La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival (LJIFFF) premiered 24-25 July at the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater. The festival is considered to be the Cannes and global market place of fashion films with many well-known international filmmakers, directors and producers in attendance. Socialites and fashion film enthusiasts flew into La Jolla for the spectacular much talked about 2-day event. Local bars, restaurants and hotels overflowed with beautiful people as onlookers gazed curiously in the hope of catching a glimpse of a celebrity. I covered the story and was astonished as to how the LJIFFF seamlessly came together, taking over the Museum of Contemporary Art Theater with its global fashion film community. Listed below, are the highlights of the festival.
Fashion Film Premiere
The LJIFFF kicked-off with the Fashion Film Premiere on Friday, 24 July. Film premieres are the filmmakers’ playground, providing an ample opportunity to share filmmaking stories, connect with other filmmakers, directors and producers, while cocktailing before screenings. This year, over 11,000 films were submitted from around the world, but only 70 were screened at the fashion film festival. Of the 70, there were 21 world premiere films. Many were made specifically for the LJIFFF. Typically, short 1-5 minute films, similar to a marketing ad representing fashion, a line, collection or brand, without making it appear too much like a commercial. Fashion films are subjective and interpreted differently, depending on each person’s point of view. But I felt this year’s films portrayed fashion and beauty in a very sexy, sweet and romantic kind-of-way. I asked Fred Sweet, Producer and Organiser of the LJIFFF: “What qualified a film to be shown at the film premiere?” He replied:
La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival focuses first and foremost on the filmmakers. It is a great honour to debut a new film we care greatly about. However, the films we choose to premiere must represent the finest in fashion film production. All the elements of the story, meaning, production values, visual effects and of course, beauty, must be present.
Each film explored different styles, techniques and told a unique story. My two favourite films of the premier night were – “The New Sovereignty” by Ace Norton (I was ecstatic when it won for Best Fashion – Rie Yamagata) and Queen Brushands by Aviv Kosloff (which won for Best Costume Design – Maison Antonio Urzi), totally scored for its futuristic, robotic avant-garde designs. I enjoyed “The New Sovereignty” because it had an amusing storyline of young, beautiful women immaculately dressed, objectifying the good-looking men they kidnapped. It’s great to see the tables being turned!
International Fashion Film Awards (IFFA)
IFFA took place on Saturday 25 July, the most important night of the 2-day festival. Presenters are called up to the stage Academy Award style to announce the winners. The ceremony honoured and awarded cinematic achievements in the international fashion film industry with a global jury that selects winners from 17 different categories. And what qualifies as a winner? Fred Sweet said:
Over the years, the winning films all have beautiful cinematography, great stories and believable actors. That’s probably the winning combination.
Among the celebrities there were Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, fashion photographer and director, whose clients include Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes, Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Michelle Phan, the YouTube personality who skyrocketed to fame with her DIY make-up tutorials with over 7.7 million subscribers and 1.1 billion lifetime views. Also famed designer Sue Wong, best known for her elaborate old Hollywood glamour style gowns, presented the Best Visual Effects – which went to “Stardust” by Adrien Servadio.
Towards the end of the award show, Indrani unveiled her world premiere film “Till Human Voices Wake Us”. I later asked Indrani: “What’s the meaning behind the film?” She politely answered:
It’s a film about sustainability and preservation of our ocean and sea life. I wanted to do it in a way that’s unconventional and entertaining. So I brought the ancient Celtic myths of Selkies, (who lived as seals in the sea but become human on land), to Manhattan. Retelling of an old story in a fun, fashionable and sexy way.
Michelle Phan received the first IFFA New Icon Award in La Jolla this year. The “now” entrepreneur has a long list of projects. Lancome’s official video make-up artist, a collaboration with L’Oreal on a cosmetic line called “em” by Michelle Phan, and she made Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2015. My highlight of the awards show was seeing Michelle Phan. A sweet and stunning young Vietnamese-American female who broke through the barriers and became one of the first Asians to quickly excel to celebrity status, within the beauty industry. She spoke so eloquently and I loved her quote:
It’s great we are living in a time where we don’t dress to impress, but to express.
Other award categories included – Innovators Award, which James Franco took home for his early adoption of innovative concepts helping pave the way for the worldwide phenomenon which fashion film has become. Franco Skyped from Toronto accepted his award and delighted the audience with his charm and appreciation. Best Documentary, went to “Peyote Dreams” by Luis Barreto Carrillo and Amber Moelter. “Homeward – (Found)” had the biggest night, which won for Best Director – Josh Franer and Phillip Montgomery, Best Actress – Jessy Schram, and Best Picture – Ari Schneiderman, took home the biggest prize! “Ay Jose” came in second winning two categories for Best Make-up – Tony Herebia, Alejandra Catalina Garcia and Iyalode Studio, and Best Actor – Antonio Contreras. To celebrate, Antonio and his team of dancers performed live onstage to “Bésame Mucho” before the show ended.
More winners include Victor Claramunt for Best Director of “Breaking Rules”, Lykke Li for Best Music – “Gucci SS14”, Louis Bergogne for Best Cinematography – “Paris Est A Nous”, Josh Brandao for Best Art Direction – “Silver Girl”, Robert E. Ball Jr. for Best Editing – “The One 2”, Mika Ceron for Best Creative Concept – “The Circle of Fortune” and Paul Donovan for Best Hairstyling – “The Chase”.
The LJIFFF is all about crediting a growing community of international fashion film people who have directed and produced many remarkable fashion films for every brand from top to bottom. It’s the opportunity, for those in the industry, to rub shoulders and develop great relationships with one another. Everyone from wealthy royalty to yet-to-be discovered young directors attended, with films that dazzled the audiences and opened new doors for future fashion and film ventures.