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New York City International Fashion Film Festival Welcomes Entries

By Rosemary Feitelberg,


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

To date more than 150 submissions from 21 countries have been sent to the New York City International Fashion Film Festival, which will be held Sept. 6 and 7. Established and unknown designers and film directors, as well as many in between including students and aspiring designers, have sent entries, according to founder and fashion film director Pedro Oberto, who noted that all continents are represented. Participants have until June 30 to send their entries via the NYCIFFF’s site.

While the School of Visual Arts hosted a fashion film festival in the past, NYCIFFF 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 good deal of interest, Oberto said. Giacomo Triglia, whose portfolio includes a Måneskin music video, Dolce & Gabbana commercials, and a film short about Flemish painters who play tennis at night, also has sent an entry. Entrants need not have a film career or a fashion company to be eligible, though, with launching new talent being a priority.

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

Films should not be longer than 15 minutes. At the other end of the spectrum, just under one-minute entries are being accepted — and are the noticeably preferred length for many, Oberto said. “A lot are doing films that are 45 seconds, which is good for Instagram, TikTok and social media. That is really working. We’ve received a lot of those,” Oberto said.

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To appeal to the more digitally minded, there is a metaverse awards category too to recognize the influx of fashion designers and digital designers creating content for the metaverse. Another category will be for fashion documentaries. In addition to Bouwer, fellow designer Nicole Miller will be part of the jury that will choose the winners, as will Academy Award-nominated director Amy Berg. “The selection process will be rigorous, ensuring that only the most exceptional and thought-provoking works made it to the final program,” Oberto said.

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

But NYCIFFF isn’t the only film festival with fashion ties that is slated for this month. The Walmart-supported Bentonville Film Festival will be held in the retailer’s northwestern Arkansas home city from June 13 to June 18. The on-site talks will include one with “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” director Kemp Powers and star Luna Lauren. The BFF will feature the world premiere of “The Sound of Freedom” by director Alejandro Monteverde. The lineup will also include a screening of the documentary “Invisible Beauty” about Bethann Hardison that she has directed with Frederic Tcheng.

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

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

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