ELLE Canada and the Whistler Film Festival just might have created a new genre of film — and you could be the star of it.
The Canadian fashion magazine announced last week that it's launched a new contest in conjunction with the WFF to find the best short "fashion film" with the winner to be announced at a cocktail party during the festival this December.
So, what exactly is a "fashion film"?
"What we're looking for has storytelling at its heart," says Noreen Flanagan, editor-in-chief at ELLE. "Stories about an old sweater that was knitted for you by your grandmother and passed on to your mother. It could be, at its core, not really commercial at all, but using fashion, clothing or styling to tell a story. We're just looking for great storytelling."
The only other rules: the films — open to aspiring and working Canadian filmmakers — can't be longer than five minutes and should avoid nudity, profanity or depictions of alcohol, smoking, etc. Other than that, applicants are encouraged to come up with a creative narrative that incorporates their idea of style. Flanagan will judge the entries, along with WFF director of programming Paul Gratton and a panel, and the three finalists will be flown to Whistler for the festival from Dec. 4 to 8 where the winner will be announced.
"Certainly a lot of students in film school or fashion school have been excited by it," Flanagan says. "There are a lot of students madly working on it as we speak. (Applicants) don't have to be students, though. People are intrigued by it and they're excited about the opportunity to create a film."
To prove you don't have to be a pro, three ELLE employees got together to create a sample posted on the magazine's website. In the video, three models, each with their own distinct style, go on a picnic only to be distracted by a handsome man playing guitar. He takes his turn flirting with each of the girls before disappearing.
Instead of dialogue, the trio decided to use music throughout the video. "They had delightful models who were very expressive," Flanagan says. "Through their facial expressions and clothes they were different characters, you could tell that based on what they were wearing."
For those who might not be sartorially inclined, Flanagan offers some perspective. "I think a lot of people think they don't know much about the fashion world, but we all live in the fashion world," she says. "Every time we wake up in the morning we're making a fashion decision. People know more about it than they think they do. They tell their own stories every day with the way they present themselves to the world. People don't think about it in those terms."
While this year is a bit of a trial run, Flanagan says she hopes it's just the beginning for the contest. "I would love to see this grow and, in some ways, mirror the wonderful success of the Whistler Film Festival," she says. "It's really wonderful for us to be out west and reach out to our readers there. It's amazing to be involved in a film competition that's uniquely Canadian."
For full contest rules and to submit a film visit ellecanada.com/fashionfilm/enter.