The first San Francisco International Fashion Film Festival (SFIFFF) took place on August 25. Applicants from around the world sent in films, hoping for the chance to showcase their work. For seniors Janna Wang and Megan Feroglia, their wishes came true, becoming the only high school students to be featured in the SFIFFF.
Their participation in the festival helped promote their fashion club, Debut, which they formed at school last year. Janna and Megan were introduced to the festival by junior Melody Blake, the actress in the short film.
A close family friend of Melody who works as a professional hair and makeup stylist helped organize the festival. When the family friend encouraged Melody to participate, Janna and Megan were the first people that she thought of to ask for a collaboration.
“It was a great opportunity to get some visibility for our work in front of professional filmmakers and fashion industry leaders,” Megan said.
Their film, “One Last Sip,” which draws its main inspiration from “Alice in Wonderland,” focuses on nostalgia. Janna and Megan utilized costume design to construct a narrative which relayed several aspects of growing up. Melody’s portrayal of a young girl maturing in her wardrobe from pink sneakers and overalls to a young woman with black heels and dresses depicts this sentiment of nostalgia in the character’s discovery of articles of clothing from her childhood.
“It’s just basically about growing up and your style transforming … how your fashion is like a 3D art,” Janna said. “It’s a way to express yourself.”
They undertook this project as a chance to work on something fun together during the free time they had during the summer. Filming took two days to finish and the editing, done mostly by Janna, took around 30 hours over a two-week period. The trio wanted their project to add a unique, youthful perspective to the festival.
“Since it’s an international film festival, there’s no way that you’re going to get recognition unless you bring a unique point of view,” Janna said.
Things weren’t off to such an easy start after the girls submitted their film. There was initially no feedback about their application until the CEO of Modacine, a company dedicated to fashion film that was involved in the formation of the festival, praised the film and the filmmakers alike, saying that they were impressed “with the effort [they] put in and how professional of a film it is.”
“He told us that they were going to screen our film to represent student filmmakers because they do have impact on fashion in the future,” Janna said.
Upon hearing the news, the three students became eager to attend the festival, especially impressed by its professional appeal. From the website to the venue to the films themselves, the festival provided the students an excellent opportunity for experience in the fashion and film industries.
Alongside Modacine, the San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Network (SFBAfn) was involved in the creation of the festival. The network includes fashion designers, hair and makeup stylists, modeling agencies, fashion show producers and directors and much more.
With people of all different professions and talents present, Janna, Megan and Melody took the festival in stride, participating in a discussion panel with all the other film directors. Being interviewed by fashion college representatives, film critics and others of the same caliber was a nerve-wracking experience.
“I was up there and my knees were shaking like an earthquake,” Janna said.
After the festival wrapped up, the two seniors and the professionals, who were interested in the potential they’ve shown through the film, started building connections in the fields of fashion and media arts. This gives members of the fashion club hope for success this year due to the possibility of future involvement in Bay Area fashion events.
“To see the people there and the fashion shows and the films was really inspiring,” Debut club member junior Amanda Choy said. “I felt like I needed to do something with my life.”
The ability to participate in a festival like the SFIFFF gave the trio an opportunity to experience what it was like to work in fashion-related media arts. Both seniors are interested in pursuing a related field, with Janna attending Freestyle Academy and Megan taking part in the Sobrato Arts Related Technical Training for Entertainment Careers (ARTTEC) program.
“While I don’t currently plan to pursue a degree or career in filmmaking, I’m interested in all forms of creative expression.” Megan said.
Megan helps film music videos for bands like Smash Mouth and helps host live shows. Melody hopes to become a model in the future.
“I think the most important lesson we can learn from this is to just really use your skills and just go for it,” Janna said. “Nothing’s too big of a leap.”