The NYC International Fashion Film Festival: Everything You Need To Know

By Abby Henthorn

by Celia Cooksey

ELYSIAN’s fashion documentary CatWalk FurBaby was recently chosen as a finalist for the New York City International Fashion Film Festival. In anticipation of the September 6th and 7th event, founder Pedro Oberto discusses how he made his dream of celebrating “the intersection of fashion and film” a reality.

The New York City International Fashion Film Festival came together in 2022 in hopes of offering a platform for fashion filmmakers and designers worldwide. The festival was founded by the digital media company, NYC Visuals, Oberto’s first media-based endeavor offering a “suite of services in project planning, videography, and photography.” The festival will show films to the public for the first time this season to “connect a global audience with the future of fashion.”

Oberto came to New York City in 2017 after working in the Venezuelan oil and gas industry as an engineer for 10 years to pursue a more creative career. Though he had no formal training in fashion or film when he moved to the city, he said he has “always loved beauty and grew up watching beauty pageants, then following fashion shows.”

Oberto told ELYSIAN, “For me, it’s not just about the clothes; it’s also about the space, music, models, hair, makeup, and the story they tell.” Once in the city, Oberto pursued a Documentary Storytelling Certification and began directing fashion films for Marc Bouwer, a well-known designer and one of the judges for the festival.

When asked why he wanted to create a film festival specifically dedicated to fashion, Oberto said he “wanted to provide a stage where fashion filmmakers and designers could showcase their artistry and unique perspectives. Fashion films blend storytelling, aesthetics, music, and design, making them a captivating genre to explore.” This trailblazing idea hit home with numerous designers, filmmakers, and fashion enthusiasts alike, bringing in over 150 submissions worldwide.

The criteria to submit a film was quite inclusive, with no requirements to be a professional filmmaker or designer. Oberto said, “We welcome submissions from professionals, emerging talents, and student projects alike, as we believe in fostering creativity and providing a platform for all voices in the industry.”

With 86 films from every continent, there’s an extensive range of experience and styles within the submissions ranging from projects for high-end brands such as Prada, Gucci, and Cartier, to enlightening documentaries such as ELYSIAN’s own CatWalk FurBaby.

In addition to CatWalk FurBaby, which Oberto described as a “beautiful and strong message that I know our audience will fall in love with,” other selections he’s particularly excited for included Eugenio Recuenco’s Kaleidoscope, Giacomo Trigilia’s Dolce and Gabbana DNA, and Tommaso Ottomano’s Cavalli Menswear. These are films, among the rest of the final selections, that Oberto and the selection committee felt best represented the festival’s values and creative process.

Films were evaluated on their “storytelling, cinematography, message, relevance to fashion themes, and overall artistic expression,” he said. It was essential to the festival that the works selected represented a diverse program that includes various cultures and styles within fashion. This representation also extended to designers and content creators within the metaverse, with a metaverse awards category included.

Because of the overwhelming excitement and interest in the fashion film festival this year, the team of NYCIFF had to pivot from their vision of a “small and intimate” festival to a venue that fit the demands of a larger audience. Oberto said that while final selections for this year have already been made, the festival has received emails and calls from filmmakers who want to be a part of it next year.

This emerging fashion film festival will, without a doubt, make history in the fashion world.

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