Watch for a short impression of the Berlin Fashion Film Festival in 2015
And now, in 2016, the festival has developed into a two-day long gathering of not only film screenings, but also talks, case studies, panel discussions, masterclasses, expositions and network-oriented “speed dating”… The fifth edition is more diverse than ever. For an extremely young and still very much developing film genre that has come into existence through the online world, it is a challenge for the emerging fashion film festivals to create a physical space around the phenomenon, and to put the digital videos back in a more traditional cinematic viewing space. Since all films are available for everyone to see on popular platforms like Vimeo and YouTube, the fashion film festival needs to offer additional values that will attract those in the fashion and film industries, as well as anyone interested, creating a diverse community that is needed in order for the fashion film to develop and evolve. This is how Berlin went on doing that.
The festival was held in the old Alt Teppichfabrik in Rummelsburg, close to Kreuzberg in East-Berlin. The venue perfectly captured the “underground” spirit of Berlin that made a sublime tension with the more “polished” impressions or associations that the name “fashion film” sometimes calls to mind. This is very important, because with an increasing number of fashion film festivals emerging around the world, it is crucial that every single one of them offers a unique cultural perspective upon the globally circulating fashion films. The industrial building was surrounded by a beautiful green setting, offering a nice lunch-space together with a small selection of food-trucks, creating a pleasant atmosphere.
The program included various speakers from the fashion and film industries, such as film production companies, creative agencies and advertisement businesses. The full program can be found below. The building was divided in three major spaces: the ground floor was dedicated to various art-projects working with fashion in one way or another, the first floor offered a lounge space for networking and a private space for VIP masterclasses, a “viewing room” was situated on the second floor, showing a large selection of fashion films, and finally on the top floor one could find the main stage where the majority of the talks took place, as well as the final award show and a live music performance.
An overall great initiative to gather different speakers from the industries elaborating on their involvement with fashion films, showing different perspectives upon such a rich and varied genre. The majority of the speakers addressed fashion film from a business point of view which is, of course, a huge part of what constitutes the fashion film. It is indeed important that we understand fashion and film as a money-making industry that involve a lot of parties, who are in turn assembled and connected through the festival event.
But the fashion film is also a form of art that is a fundamental expression of the (digital) world we live in today, a cultural phenomenon that says something about our society, our people and the way we live/want to live. Film, after all, is able to create whole new worlds as a reaction and reflection upon the real world we live in. Why do these worlds and stories come into existence, what does it look like, what happens there, how do viewers respond to them, and what does that say about us? These are the fundamental questions that films ask, questions that have become even more complicated and exciting now that the film medium is available to a much larger public through the blooming of the digital world. Moving imagery content will dominate the future’s internet traffic, meaning that we are consuming more filmic content than ever. Indeed: it is not “just film,” it is a fundamental part of the (virtual) reality we live in.
Therefore, it would have been interesting to have more speakers equally go into the actual films themselves. I’m thinking about the directors and creative teams, the jury who chose the winning films, but also fashion and film theorists and researchers who could bring the discussions to the next level. This would in turn nourish the development of the fashion film as a genre through critical reflection and analysis. Also, with the increasing amount of audio-visual material shaping today’s world, I think there is a growing curiosity and demand for deeper reflection upon the different visual landscapes that construct our experience of reality. Herein lies an opportunity for the fashion film festival event to become not only a leading artistic and business-networking venue, but also an intellectual breeding place. This is also an opportunity of how we could collectively address and attempt to solve some of the environmental and social problems we are currently experiencing within the fashion world.
In sum, I want to thank and congratulate the Berlin fashion film festival team for putting together a two-day program full of interesting content that has lots of potential to develop into something even greater. It’s a very exciting time for fashion film, and things can only get better. I encourage all creatives, intellectuals and business talents to become part of the Berlin family!