By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt“Funny Face,” starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, with iconic fashion photographer Richard Avedon as consultant, and designs by Hubert de Givenchy. You’ve seen that 54-year-old film on TV, right? Thanks to the Internet, fashion film has come a long way since then.
These days, films are briefer, edgier, sexier, and take the concept of style to a whole new level. And there are festivals around the world showing the latest, greatest works of the hottest fashion filmmakers. But there’s only one fest in North America, and it’s right here — the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival.
LJFFF is the brainchild of Fred Sweet, CEO of San Diego Model Management, the largest talent agency south of Los Angeles. He also produces “Fashion Film Network” on Facebook, a curated look at the community of fashion film creators that has a following of 5,000 worldwide.
“I’ve had a fascination with the Internet my whole life, and I’ve been watching fashion videos evolve on the Web,” he said. “When fashion moved from print to the Internet, it started to
move, and it became even more interesting, and more erotic. I started thinking: some of these pieces are so fantastic now, we should show them to people.”
His original idea was to gather some short films together and show them to a few dozen of his staff, friends, and clients. The inaugural festival last year ended up drawing several hundred people to screenings of some 30 films. Riding the crest of what now is a worldwide phenomenon, the second annual LJFFF promises to be even bigger and better than the first.
From more than 4,000 submissions, 40 films were chosen, each from 1 to 15 minutes long. “Just right for the Twitter generation,” Sweet said. The filmmakers hail from style-conscious cities like New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Hong Kong. They may not be household words here, but they’ve got great fashion cred.
Directors who will be attending the festival include:
Peruvian-born, Sorbonne-trained, Toronto-based
Tak Kuroha(born in Tokyo, raised in Italy, and now living in L.A. and London);
Miguel Angel Font Bisier, “one of Valencia Spain’s most influential artists”; New York’s
Marcus K Jones, “an ascendant force in today’s fashion films”; and
acques Dequeker, named “Best Fashion Photographer in Brazil.”
There will also be an assortment of actors, producers, agents, and “entourages” in attendance.
Last year’s films were shown on an outdoor screen at the Cove. “There were too many variables — weather conditions, ambient noise, special audio requirements,” Sweet said. “This year, we’re at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is perfect. It’s classy, beautiful, and there are no technical issues.”
One of Sweet’s goals is to make LJFFF the West Coast version of New York Fashion Week, a major industry event that also attracts international media and fashionistas.
“We’ve moved the date of this year’s festival later into the summer, to take weather out of the equation, and still have it far enough away from the fall fashion season for our attendees to stay focused on our event,” he said.
If you go
What:La Jolla Fashion Film Festival
Where:Museum of Contemporary Art-La Jolla, 700 Prospect St.
Film screenings:7:30-9:30 p.m. Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30
Pre-screening partiesat museum; after-parties at Barfly, 909 Prospect St.
Free Saturday Seminarsin the museum theater:
• 3:30 p.m. Kiki from Mahal Style, “The Social Culture for Fashion”
• 4:30 p.m. Robin Kay, Director of Fashion Design Council of Canada
Extra:Never-before-seen photo-portraits of Andy Warhol on Barfly’s patio Saturday afternoon.
Tickets:$50-$75 (including receptions, after-parties)