Focus on fashion films ahead of the Bokeh International Fashion Film Festival

Glitz, glamour and the art of refinement are just some of the features of the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh International Fashion Film Festival, set to take place this year from the 21 – 23 April 2016 in Cape Town. The festival takes place twice a year and brings together creatives in the film, fashion, art direction and technical industries from around the world to celebrate their craft through an inspiring 2-day programme of talks, showcases and masterclasses.

The red carpet award ceremony that closes the festival recognises and awards the best fashion films in different categories, including Best Director, Best Hair & Makeup, Best Fashion, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, Best Music and Sound. New categories include Best Emerging Talent, the Top Young Designers Fashion Film Award presented by the Cape Town Fashion Council, as well as the prestigious Life Time Achievement Award, presented by Rankin, and Oude Meester Best Picture award which will see the winner receiving a Black Magic Camera with lenses and accessories worth R100 000.

Ahead of the festival we caught up with the event founder and fashion film director/producer, Adrian Lazarus to find out more about the haute couture world of fashion films and immerse ourselves in the industry through his 5 top fashion film picks of all time. 

What defines a fashion film and sets it apart from any other short film? 

A Fashion Film is essentially a short brand video that celebrates the essence of a brand. It’s a film of between 2 and 5 minutes that embraces the lifestyle of a brand, using narrative, beautiful footage and occasionally a dash of humour.

Who are fashion films made for and why? 

They are made predominantly by luxury brands that want to convey a sense of lifestyle and fashionability to their fans. The films are used at product launches, online and in stores. Very occasionally a huge brand like Louis Vuitton will launch the campaign with a showing on TV but at the length they are it is very expensive to flight on TV.

What’s the relationship between fashion films and brands/fashion designers? 

It’s always a collaboration with each of the partners expressing their art in a fashionable and creative way. It’s sometimes a challenge as all the players are artists but in the end we can be massively proud of the result.

With many years in production behind you, can you tell us a little about the process of creating a fashion film and who and what’s involved? 

We always start with either a product or an idea. Then it’s a process of finding the other components. The actual production process is essentially the same as producing any form of film but to a lesser degree. 

We look at the product, develop a storyboard, bring on crew and art deportment, find suitable locations and end up shooting a world class film in a few days.

Then the process of post production starts and this is where we can tweak the magic to the desired degree.

What prompted you to start the Bokeh International Fashion Film festival in South Africa and how does it embody the art of refinement? 

I was fortunate to attend the La Jolla Fashion Film Festival in 2014 where I won an award from a field of 11 000 films for Best Art Direction. The film, Steam 1886, then went on to win Best Costume Design at the Miami Fashion Film Festival, which I credit to Tegolin Markham as a fantastic stylist on set!

The idea that we could do a better festival in Cape Town was soon realised when I returned home and set to work putting partners in place, amongst them Mercedes-Benz and The Cape Town Fashion Council. We have such a thriving film industry here along with top designers and fashionistas, that it was not very long before everyone got on board and helped pull this event off. We are now in our third successful  year, and with Mercedes-Benz having signed on along with Oude Meester for a further 3 years, we are set to take this festival to even greater heights!

 Here are Adrian’s fave fashion films of all time. Enjoy. 

‘Crème Caramel’ from CANADA on Vimeo.


Orange Juice from Edward Housden on Vimeo.

‘X’ – Coco De Mer from RankinFilm on Vimeo.

True refinement requires careful consideration and time. Bringing a vision to life, is an art. Watch Oude Meester’s video series exploring the art of refinement ahead of the Bokeh Fashion Film Festival.

“A good suit is not something that you make in a day,” says master tailor and fashion designer, Zano Sithetho in chapter 1. Zano is crafting a bespoke suit for Oude Meester Ambassador, Siya Radebe, as he presents the Oude Meester Best Picture Award at the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South African International Fashion Film Festival Awards Ceremony. 

Watch chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5.  

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