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The New York International Fashion Film Festival welcomes entries

by Stewart Cole

Some might argue that New York street life could be a movie in the making, and now there’s a New York-based film festival that welcomes fashion films from the five boroughs and beyond.

To date, more than 150 submissions from 21 countries have been sent to the New York International Fashion Film Festival, which will be held on September 6 and 7. Established and unknown designers and film filmmakers, as well as many intermediaries, including students and aspiring designers, have sent in entries, according to fashion film founder and director Pedro Uberto, who noted that all continents are represented. Entrants have until June 30 to submit their entries via the NYCIFFFF website.

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While the School of Visual Arts has hosted a fashion film festival in the past, NYCIFFFF was not affiliated with that venture, Oberto said. “This is a new beginning, a new name, a new company. It’s international,” he said.

A film submitted by Tommaso Ottomano, who has worked with Roberto Cavalli and Versace, among other designers, is expected to generate a lot of interest, Oberto said. Giacomo Triglia, whose portfolio includes a Måneskin music video, Dolce & Gabbana ads and a short film about Flemish painters playing tennis at night, also sent in an entry. However, participants do not need to have a film career or fashion label to be eligible, with priority given to showcasing new talent.

Submissions include works for Prada, Emporio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Zimmermann, Dolce & Gabbana, Bershka, Shein, Vogue, Numéro, Harper’s Bazaar and L’Officiel. However, emerging designers are also encouraged to submit films. Director Amber Gray’s film about fashion designer Bach Mai also impressed the NYCIFFFF founder. “He is an emerging talent. But beauty in film and beauty in clothes is a powerful combination,” Oberto said. “Sometimes the film is very beautiful, but the clothes are okay. In this film, they are both beautiful.”

Films must not be longer than 15 minutes. At the other end of the spectrum, entries of just under a minute are accepted — and it’s the noticeably preferred length for many, Oberto said. “A lot of people are making 45-second films, which is good for Instagram, TikTok and social media. This really works. We’ve received a lot of them,” Oberto said.

To appeal to the more digitally minded, there is also a metaverse awards category to recognize the influx of fashion designers and digital designers creating content for the metaverse. Another category will be for fashion documentaries, with work from the proven talent of Amy Berg in the mix. In addition to Bouwer, fellow designer Nicole Miller will be part of the jury that will select the winners, as will Oscar-nominated director Berg. “The selection process will be rigorous, ensuring that only the most outstanding and thoughtful works made it to the final programme,” said Oberto.

Three sites are being considered and the final selection will be made based on the total number of submissions, which could exceed 300 by the end of the month. The plan is to host hourly screenings to show a block of films for 100 to 120 attendees.

But NYCIFFFF isn’t the only film festival with fashion ties lined up this month. The Walmart-sponsored Bentonville Film Festival will be held in the retailer’s northwest Arkansas city June 13-18. On-site conversations will include one with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” director Kemp Powers and Luna star Lauren Loren. BFF will world premiere director Alejandro Monteverde’s The Sound of Freedom. The lineup will also include a screening of the Bethann Hardison documentary “Invisible Beauty” that she directed with Frederic Tcheng.

Through its alliance with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the festival’s discussions will cover topics such as maternal health, female entrepreneurship and representation of the body in media. As the festival’s founder, Davis noted that this year’s filmmakers are 70 percent female, 60 percent BIPOC/AAPI and 52 percent LGBTQIA+.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Milan Fashion Film Festival founder Constanza Etro is gearing up for the ninth annual edition of the international fashion and culture event. The 2023 edition will debut on a streaming platform with 270 fashion films accessible for free from June 12 to 19. FFFMilan will also delve into the metaverse during the same period.

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