Discover the five things I’ve learned about how to document and share the lives of some of the transforming figures in art, culture, and fashion.
I’m lucky. By working hard I’ve built a career making documentaries about transforming figures in art, culture, and fashion — powerful, exciting creators including Peggy Guggenheim, Diana Vreeland, Cecil Beaton, Truman Capote, and Tennessee Williams. My interest in sharing these stories has occurred just as streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Apple TV are transforming film distribution, making my stories more available to more people every day.
Before I began making documentaries, I watched films closely. I fell under the spell early on of the Neo-realistic films of Vittoria De Sica, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Luchino Visconti. I loved their films, and I studied the way they created their fictional worlds. My own work doesn’t follow their great films note for note, but each documentary I make is very much inspired by the realism I found in those films and experiences in my own life.
In recent years, I’ve researched, written and directed films that have appeared in film festivals from Venice to Telluride. In the process, I’ve had the chance to travel the world, to discover previously overlooked or forgotten moments that have shaped the lives of my film’s subjects, and to share these fragments in ways that bring their full stories to life. My recent series, The Art of Style, is a similar collection of shorter films, each profiling contemporary figures shaping today’s world of fashion and creativity, people including Thom Browne, Manolo Blahnik, and Dries vanNoten.
If creators of style and design are of interest to you, and if you want to learn more about how one puts together films that tell their stories, this class is just right for you. I would like to share with you how I approach this work, why I choose the subjects I do, and how I envision each film visually, integrating original footage and archival material. If you’re a director or storyteller, you’ll have a better sense of how to approach your own work when the class concludes. If you’re just a fan of fashion, style, or design, you’ll learn more about how to think about and appreciate these vital disciplines.
My good friend Penelope Tree — who is known to be one of the most important icons of the 60’s — will be joining us for part of this session. Penelope has many great stories to share of her own; she’s a provocative thinker and writer who is always pushing the buttons for me when it comes to storytelling.
We both invite you to join us for this live, online class.
Penelope Tree was born and educated in New York City. Based in London in the late nineteen sixties, she worked as a fashion model, and travelled extensively throughout the seventies. Later she moved to Australia for a number of years where she brought up her two children and worked part time as a television researcher. Returning with her family to London in 1998, she joined the board of the Khyentse Foundation during the early years of it’s inception, and has served as Vice President of Lotus Outreach International for the past decade. She has recently completed her first novel.