Fashion Popcorn talks to Bornshorts Head Programmer Charlie Cauchi

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Why did Bornshorts film festival choose to have a dedicated fashion film strand in the programme?

Fashion film has really taken off in recent years. It’s an innovative, dynamic, often ground breaking and genre-twisting category we’re really glad to have in the festival. 

How do you choose the festival judges each year to make sure fashion film is judged well?

We make sure all our films are judged well. We don’t make a distinction between fashion films and films submitted under different categories. All our films are judged equally by jury members who are established in the field of film. The films are judged on the basis of their quality and artistic merit. However, last year we were lucky enough to have Blink Productions Managing Director James Studholme on the judging panel. Fashion films are represented under the Blink umbrella, so Studholme was able to provide insight into the fashion-film making world.

Left: 2012 judges James Studholme, Kathrine Windfeld, John Hassay. Right: The Scala Cinema.

Why do you feel fashion film is important to the film industry overall?

It shakes things up a bit and provides a great platform for creativity. There are no rules, and you can often come away having watched something really unexpected and exciting. In its amalgam of differing art forms, it has the potential to create something really experimental, poetic, and deliciously reckless.

And why do you feel film is important to fashion brands?

Well, fashion film allows us to reconsider the way fashion is represented. It no longer remains static; but becomes haptic, visceral. It has the capacity to turn fashion into the icon. Rather than the actor or the director being the only focus, the brand can also be the star. This isn’t to suggest that a fashion film should only be about the product. It’s should be about creating a relationship between the artists, crew and the products on offer.

What makes fashion film different from a traditional commercial?

It’s the marriage or several disciplines and art forms. Fashion films are still about a product; but it’s not simply a commercial, but a skilful balance between art and commerce.

Where do you think fashion film is heading?

I don’t know…and isn’t that exciting.

What’s your favourite fashion film at the moment?

That’s a tough one; it’s hard to keep up. I just saw Lena Dunham’s Andersonesq Best Friends, and it really made me giggle. I did love being able to watch feature-length films Bill Cunningham New York and Dina Verrland: The Eye Has to Travel on the big screen last year.

But there are so many wonderful moments of fashion in film that I adore. If I would have to choose one, I think it would be Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes. Simply because of the way fashion in The Red Shoes correspond to the stylistic changes that were taking place at the time; not only in Britain, but across Europe, where socio-political unrest had governed the way the fashion industry operated, and consequently, the way people dressed, both on and off-screen. I’m not talking about the costumes that appear in the ballet sequences – which are indeed wonderful – but those worn in the every-day world, if you will.

During pre-production Powell declared: ‘We are making this film for a twentieth-century audience with a twentieth-century girl,’ and in a previously style-starved Britain, incorporating a Parisian, New Look wardrobe – designed by the participation of couture designers Fath, Mattli and Carven – was conceivably as ‘twentieth-century’ as a girl could dream of. Decorative flourishes appear in abundance in The Red Shoes: suddenly ‘Make do and Mend’ is substituted for layer upon layer of sensuous silk and wispy chiffon.

Whose filmmaking talent are you most excited about right now?

Today, right now, at this moment it’s Cristian Mungiu – I just saw Beyond the Hills and the film is breath-taking.

If there was one brand that you’d make a fashion film for, who would it be and why?

Too tricky to answer…but if pressed, Chanel in the 50s.

Bornshorts Film Festival takes place in Bornholm, Denmark 12 – 14 September 2013. Early bird deadline for submissions is 1st July 2013. Read up about the festival on Fashion Popcorn (where you’ll find a little tip on what they’re looking for in a fashion film submissions…) and go to bornshorts.com for more information and to apply.

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