Glamour, film and celebs to descend on La Jolla for International Fashion Film Festival
When the 2016 La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival gets rolling in a few weeks it promises to be the most glamorous, well attended, artistic, and important edition of the annual gathering to date.
Filmmakers, media and film festival jurors will fly in from across the globe for the three-day event, which runs from July 28 through 30, to meet and connect in this burgeoning art genre called the “fashion film.”
The festival shows only short films, usually less than five minutes in length, in which fashion plays an important part or has some significance and are meant to emotionally connect the viewer to the fashion brand that creates the film.
Several of the films that will screen this year will be world premieres and the first time the public will be able to see them. Known as the “Cannes of the fashion film world,” the festival has two films that previewed at Cannes this year, highlighting the creativity and talent this festival attracts.
Because the LJIFFF has completed its seventh year, it is now eligible to become an Academy Award-qualifying film festival, which means more recognition for the filmmakers and more importantly, if they win one of the International Fashion Film Awards, known as the IFFA’s, at the festival, those films are then eligible for an Academy Award nomination and possible Oscar.
The brainchild of Fred Sweet, a longtime La Jolla resident and owner of San Diego Model Management, the largest SAG/AFTRA model and talent agency south of LA, the LJIFFF will feature many events that include screenings, seminars and a Red Carpet award night at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Prospect Street.
“It’s a world-class festival and our people are fabulous,” says Sweet. “La Jolla is an exotic location with great energy and I am very proud of it. People come from all over the world to meet and there are many collaborations that have resulted over the years, which is extremely satisfying to me.”
Installations created by artists from Mexico, Paris, New York and Italy will be on display at the ultra-sophisticated restaurant The Lot, which will also host the after-parties.
Sweet describes the drive that fueled the project from the beginning as something bordering on obsession, but in reality he has taken the LJIFFF from an insider industry celebration of editorial fashion shoots brought to life through video online to the recognized premier fashion film festival in the world. When asked about the surging popularity of this budding art genre among filmmakers, Sweet explains the rise and importance of the fashion film.
“As power in Hollywood has swung to the creative class, the demand for quality content has exploded,” he said. “Most fashion films are sponsored by fashion brands, however many are made to showcase the creative and production skills of their directors.
“La Jolla has emerged as the proving ground for cutting-edge creatives worldwide to have their work seen by the new global content distributors. It is a wide-open industry at the beginning of its life.”
With more than 11,000 submissions this year, the jurors narrowed the field down to 100 short films vying for 19 coveted awards. The LJIFFF is a global event and artists and filmmakers from Russia, China, South America, Sweden, New York and Hollywood will be among the several representing their work and vying to leave with an IFFA.
Two screenings will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art and are free and open to the public, as well as a red carpet event prior to Saturday night’s award ceremony, which is invitation only. The communities of La Jolla and San Diego are invited to attend the red carpet event and meet the directors, actors, artists and industry people who will be available to discuss their work.
Sweet describes the red carpet as more beautiful than most and one that can rival any red carpet in Hollywood on any given night. “We’re not at the stage where you’re going to see Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt but we like to say we’re the red carpet for everyone else,” says Sweet. “We attract so many people from all over the world who deserve recognition for their amazing work.”
While all of the nominated submissions are undoubtedly artistic, visionary and inspirational, a few of them stand out for their originality and sheer beauty. Nominated for eight awards, Dutch director Ester Dorhaut Mees’ film “Nubivagant” brings stunning imagery through movement to the screen using animalistic illusion as silhouettes.
The film “Sulpher” by award-winning Hollywood director Michael Sanchez provides a vivid stylistic contrast as his film explores a forbidden virtual love story between two avatars as they escape their own reality into the next. The fusion of art and fashion lends itself to provocative, sensual images combined with a creative narrative that should appeal to anyone with an interest in art, film and fashion.
The LJIFFF is unique in that it is privately funded by a small group Sweet put together as well as a few anonymous donors in the community, who appreciate what he and his team are doing.
He says he is acutely aware of the authenticity and purity of the LJIFFF and at this point is not entertaining the idea of bringing sponsors on board to absorb some of the costs and potentially profit on the event, though he has been approached many times. Sweet’s emphasis is on maintaining its credibility and is most interested in the quality of the people attending.
“Everyone gets one go-round in their life and I wanted to create a festival that is unique in the world and uncommercialized,” Sweet says, “but who knows what the future holds? Our goal is to support independent, creative professionals around the globe and if a potential sponsor is aligned with those core values then I would say sure, let’s talk.”
Many elements of the festival are free and open to the public. For a full event schedule go to www.ljfff.com/interactive-event-schedule-ljifff-2016/.