Rotterdam sidebar spotlights designers

Clothing designers and fashion houses are turning to film to grab attention — making their own short movies or forging alliances with independent filmmakers.

Rotterdam has pounced on this fertile area of collaboration with a program that explores the marriage of fashion and film. Participants include Hussein Chalayan, Agnes B, helmers the Quay brothers and Kenneth Anger.

“It struck me that films made by designers or in the fashion industry were actually quite artistic, and as films also very interesting for a wider audience than just in fashion,” says Inge de Leeuw, who programmed the Out of Fashion sidebar.

De Leeuw also has taken a cue from the fashion industry in presenting the films. “I thought it would be nice to present the film program as a digital fashion magazine in the cinema. I want to follow the structure of a paper magazine, with a cover and some advertising films, and then the ‘editorial’ with films that reflect a theme.”

There will be four editions, since there are four seasonal collections, set out in a cinematic environment designed by Dutch style paper Glamcult.

Films produced by Maison Martin Margiela will get their own program, as will a new work being produced for the festival by Agnes B. “She has been making films for 20 years, mostly non-commercial work such as video diaries,” says de Leeuw.

The magazines will be complemented by “contextual” films, such as a documentary about Japanese designer Pyuupiru, who will also open the program with a performance, and “Black Swan,” screened as a nod to the ballet costumes design by Rodarte.

For the professional angle, the Dutch Platform for Design and Fashion is organizing four lectures examining the interfaces between fashion and film. This includes Alexander Fury, the director of SHOWstudio, an online platform that distributes fashion films.

De Leeuw thinks that the partnership between fashion and film will endure, because of the pull of new technologies such as the iPad that demand digital content. This will be an opportunity for filmmakers.

“For independent films, it’s hard to get money through subsidies, while in fashion the money is still there,” says De Leeuw.


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