Christina Voros has lived many lives. She grew up in the restaurant business, started bartending at 16, moved to Hungary to train with their national fencing team, studied poetry and theater at Harvard, became a gardener on Nantucket, ran a northern Italian restaurant in Boston and then decided to pursue a masters degree in acting. Somehow this all lead to a fellowship at NYU’s grad film school which she says changed the course of her life completely and lead her to beginning work as a cinematographer in 2005. She merges her many experiences throughout her career and “The Director” is no different, as her own family’s work in the fashion industry drew her to the project.
What it’s about: An intimate portrait of Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, “The Director” spans 18 months behind the walls of the iconic Italian fashion house, exploring the intricacies and inspiration behind the quietly brilliant power woman, whose own evolution as the creative force behind the brand is as nuanced as that of the storied fashion house itself.
What she wants audiences to know: “In exploring Gucci’s history, I really came to understand that beyond similarities in process, the interplay between fashion and cinema has always been integral to both industries. And Gucci really is perhaps one of the most striking examples of that. The company became an international phenomenon in part due to the influence of American actors coming to Rome in the 1960’s to film at Cinecittà: they discovered the brand in Europe and brought it back west with them. It’s a strange Mobius strip of two interdependent ecosystems, both rooted in the aspiration and the creation of dreams”
Biggest challenges: “In many ways, the worlds of fashion and documentary film are absolutely antithetical to one another. One is about a fabricating perfection; the other is about unraveling it. This made things a little tricky at first. Two years ago, I didn’t speak Italian, but more importantly I didn’t speak Gucci. Frida and her team are incredibly close, very tightly knit and protective of each other. It was a hard seal to break in the beginning. Developing trust with my subjects is always the most important part of the process for me. And in a world where image and perfection is everything, relaxing into the presence of a camera can be a difficult thing.”
On her inspiration: “I’m a huge fan of fashion documentaries as a genre. I was born into a family of designers. My great aunts, Vali and Mimi, had made costumes for the opera and the circus in their native Hungary before immigrating to the US where they opened up a couture shop on the Upper East Side in the 1960’s. As a child I grew up underfoot in their shop, immersed in the textures of velvet and sequins and the incessant whirring of sewing machines. So the art of fashion itself has always been an inspiration to me. That said, I tried to allow myself to be moved by the specificity and textures of the collections themselves, rather than drawing from other films in the canon.”
What’s next: “I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last two years straddling the worlds of documentary directing and narrative cinematography, so there’s more of that in the works. But I’m also finishing my first narrative script which I hope to be a hybrid of those disciplines. It’s a film based on the lives of the women in my family and it explores the way truth can be obscured by the persistence of memory as well as the power of documentary film to shape the way we define the past. In the meantime I’m in the process of recording my first album which is a totally new adventure for me.”
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.