Filmmaker Georden West is getting ready to screen her second fashion film at the Emerson Film Festival this weekend. “Patron Saint” (click here to see trailer) will be part of two programs of student shorts that will be screening in the Bright Screening Room at the Paramount Center ArtsEmerson on Sunday, March 24 at 12 p.m., followed by a red carpet reception open to the public at the Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery, located at 25 Avery St. (across the street from the Ritz-Carlton hotel.) West recently completed the Emerson graduate program in Film and Media Arts from what many consider to be one of the top film departments in the country.
West identifies herself as a queer woman and a queer filmmaker and what lead her to making fashion films was the opportunity to speak to groups neglected and often left out of the mainstream conversations. Fashion films can be used to magnify expression, exploring and pushing bounderies, especially with regards to gender.
“The queer community is hungry for representation” says West. “In a society where so much of how we perform gender and sexuality is based on media representation, we actively seek ourselves in the visual arts and are consistently let down. This is why I make fashion film. I am passionate about building visual experiences reflective of the subculture and history of queer people. I want to craft stories in new ways that surface historic and contemporary marginalization and builds community around art that resists universalization and commodification.”
Fashion films have been evolving over the last few years into a way to make a social statement with a new look and language that showcases fashion and lifestyle brands in a more creative and narrative way. Acting as an alternative to traditional promotion and marketing of brands, such as print photo shoots and :30 fashion ads for television, the brands behind the films can be emerging designers or well-heeled names.
For “Patron Saint,” West is collaborating with emerging designer Jamall Osterholm, who is currently a contestant on Bravo’s “Project Runway” and who will be debuting on New York Fashion Week’s official schedule in September. A Rhode Island native, Osterholm graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and his focus is on futurism and borrowing from the past.
“Jamall is a designer whose work speaks to a need for fashion to recognize its own political nature” West explains. “He makes beautiful work while remaining relational to history. Jamall is brilliant and he brings out the best and challenges the teams around him; I know when I work with him nothing will be less than exceptional and intentional. Nothing we say is for beauty’s sake alone.”
“We deserve characters and media art with complexity beyond the tropes of coming-out and romance. I long to see queer stories told in interesting and challenging ways that bring queer cinema to the forefront of the film industry without having to assimilate into its narrative demands that manifest in stereotypes and conventionality,” says West. “To me fashion does this. As an experimental and atmospheric filmmaker, I have an ambitious approach to queer cinema that would allow a narrative to be told with magical realism, challenging the medium of filmmaking as well as presenting original content with novelty.”
Patron Saint will be screening on Sunday March 24th at 12pm and on March 29th at Distillery Gallery.