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Kering Bringing French Film Fest to U.S.

The French Institute Alliance Française is counting on its annual Fashion at FIAF program to be a showstopper.

NEW YORK — Through a partnership with Kering, the French Institute Alliance Française is counting on its annual Fashion at FIAF program to be a showstopper.

This story first appeared in the February 20, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

For the first time, A Shaded View on Fashion Film, an annual film festival at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, will be coming to the U.S., with the premiere set for March 14 at FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall here. After the screening of 12 short films, the festival’s founder Diane Pernet will hold a Q&A with filmmakers Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”) and Jerry Schatzberg (“Scarecrow”). Bruce Weber’s short for Barneys New York and a Figgis-made Agent Provocateur film that was Kate Moss’ screen debut are among the selections.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Pernet said, “Film works largely because it gets the tone of voice right precisely, which involves combining humor, social commentary, political ideology and fashion, of course. To make a fashion film, fashion has to be the protagonist but the idea is to make a film that really captures your interest and that it lives on.”

Christine de Lassus, the guest curator of Fashion at FIAF, said, “This year we have already entered a new world where boundaries are melting between fashion, film, art, cinema and even gender. I want to celebrate the visionaries that are forging this new world. It’s not only in fashion but also in film, in art, with social media and Joseph Altuzarra and Thom Browne. It really made sense to do something that has a global vision that celebrates those new voices.”

Part of that celebration will involve supporting FIAF’s Fashion Talks with Altuzarra on March 19 and Browne on March 31, as well as Style Stories March 20 with Garance Doré in conversation with “The Sartorialist” Scott Schuman. Pamela Golbin, chief curator of the Musée de la Mode et du Textile at the Louvre, Paris, leads Fashion Talks. While Kering has a minority stake in Altuzarra’s business, and the company has worked with Doré in the past, their creative strengths and independent voices were the driving forces.

Laurent Claquin, head of Kering Americas, praised Pernet for being the first to champion the connection between film and fashion through ASVOFF, first in Paris and then all over the world. It is expected to move on to Milan and Mexico City later this year. While ASVOFF is in sync with Kering’s mission “to empower the imagination,” Claquin noted, “it’s not a festival about fashion commercials” nor will any Kering brands be featured in next month’s screening. He said, “Fashion and film are both about icons, storytelling and movement. Today movies and short films are the most appropriate medium to talk about fashion and what fashion is today, not only as a way to express yourself [but] to reward yourself, to fulfill your dreams, to say something, and the storytelling behind fashion can really be captured for film.”

Pernet, who lived and worked in New York early on in her career as a designer, watched 500 films before whittling those down to 80 to 100 and then had a jury help decide on the final 12. As for what she hopes festivalgoers will gain, Pernet said, “I hope they will pick cameras up and start making some great films.”