Friday, May 4, 2018

We Are Ready - The 2018 Canadian International Fashion Film Festival Begins!

We Are Ready
Canadian International Fashion Film Festival 2018 Begins!
When fashion meets film, the third annual Canadian International Fashion Film Festival (CANIFFF) is kicking off in Calgary at the Glenbow Museum Theatre this Saturday, May 5th 2018. Dozens of fashion films will be screened during the festival, selected from hundreds of submissions from around the world. A panel made of an international professionals the fashion and film industries including: Adrian Lazarus, Andy Lee, Sara Maino, Branco Popovic, Caitlin Agnew, Niccolo Montanari and more are involved in the judging process. With such high caliber, CANIFFF is perhaps one of the most underrated festivals in Canada. It is rare to see an event like this with such professionalism and expertise involved is not getting more attention like it should. It makes some of us wonder, are we really ready to push the boundaries and dap into realms of fashion films? The founder of CANIFFF, Katrina Olson-Mottahed definitely thinks this as an opportunity to open our doors to exchange ideas and promoting Canadian talents with the rest of the world who shares the same passion for fashion and film making. I sat down with her the other day to channel her current and future perspective of CANIFFF.

Why did you start CANIFFF and what is the initiative?

KO: I saw that there was an opportunity in Canada to create a platform to profile Canadian Fashion films, Directors, Designers, Composers and Stylists alongside the international talents creating work in this genre. I have a deep running love for experimental film and fashion film encompasses all the elements I love (fashion, film and arts). Along with partners we worked to found The Canadian International Fashion Film Festival otherwise known fondly as CANIFFF.

Was it difficult to out reach international filmmakers to participate, since CANIFFF was still relatively new?

KO: It was challenging at the beginning, but we have been very lucky to work with some very talented directors who were instrumental in our growth within the fashion film community. As you can probably imagine, fashion film is a niche genre and the community is pretty small but very well connected.

What are some of the films we are expecting to see this year at CANIFFF?

KO: There is exciting work from the fashion house of Roger Vivier by Victor Clarmont, Selfridges new film The Greatest Luxury by Kathryn Ferguson, Start the Buzz a film by Milano Moda Donna directed by Blinkfish Film and Creativity Factory (Giacomo Boeri & Matteo Grimaldi)- there are many more exciting films but these are big international fashion films we are very proud to be screening at our festival this year.

Do you have your top picks? Can you tell us or is it hush hush?

KO: There are directors I have come to love because there work is consistently amazing.This is why it so important to have a strong jury so they can rule out any bias'. 

What was the biggest challenge your team has running CANIFFF? How did you guys overcome them?

KO: The biggest challenge for us, as I am sure for every film festival is finding sponsors who align with our vision to keep our dream of Fashion Film alive in Canada. We don't have a big sponsorship team like a powerhouse Canadian festival like TIFF that has been running for 42 years. We are infantile in our 3rd year still learning so much while growing rather rapidly. This has been a steep learning curve even though some of us has been fundraising for the arts in our city close to a decade. The genre of fashion film is rather new as a film fest genre in North America so I think it will take time to foster and develop these relationships with the patrons and businesses who see our vision into the future.

Are you receiving a lot of support from both locals and national for CANIFFF?

KO: Like I mentioned in the previous answer, it will take time. I believe we are doing incredibly well for a 3rd year start-up in the agonizingly depressed economy in Calgary as it has been in these 3 years we have been operating. The businesses we have partnered with have been incredible and their unwavering support is what has helped us grow. Internationally we have had screenings in London, Istanbul, Berlin, Trinidad & Tabago as well as having our own channel on the world's premier fashion video network featuring original programming, classic fashion films and documentaries, and runway shows. Internationally I feel like we have received a lot more support for our festival which is a huge reason why were are known internationally. In Canada however, aside from our local support of businesses who we have partnered with, we need a new way to fund these kind of creative endeavours. This is something we will definitely be working toward in the upcoming year and moving forward.

How can we, as a community, help to promote art and culture organization such as CANIFFF?

KO: I think we just need more advocates of the arts in Canada. Patrons and Organizations need to champion for arts initiative start-ups. Offer an opportunity to partner with local artists or arts organizations to cross promote good, services and local events. When we buy tickets to events it helps, when we share events that may be of interest to our friends groups to spread the word, it helps. Collaboration has really been the key to our success over the part three years. 

It takes a lot of time and money to create and keep these projects on the rails. The time people have volunteered and the money we have all put in is what keeps it all up and running.  You need to be like Drake and start from the bottom and hustle hard to become successful internationally to make people recognize how many talented people there are creating awesome work in Canada in the arts. We need more eyeballs looking inward rather than outward at what the rest of the world is creating. It creates a scarcity mentality amongst organizations locally when there are very few funding opportunities and we are all after the same grants, sponsors and patrons for support. When people are clinging to everything they have out of fear of coming up short, it is really difficult to foster collaboration and inclusion. 

Tickets to festival and the full schedule are available on

Additional article about this in the visual arts in Canada:
CANIFFF 2018 trailer from CANIFFF on Vimeo

x Do the things you are passionate about; Learn from ones who inspire you; Strive to become an expert at what you do xx
Binzento Vincente: A Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

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