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29th October 2018
Dreamcoat confidence
Title of film: Brier, Collapsology
Director: Daria Geller
Niccolò Montanari talks with director / cinematographer Daria Geller about creating an intriguing fashion narrative that goes way beyond the catwalk for Russian label, Brier

The term Collapsology refers to the study of the collapse of industrial civilisation and what could succeed it. What led you to address this theme?

As a matter of fact I felt this was quite an accurate (and funny) term to portray the main character of the film – when he’s down, he goes to the extreme of drowning in his anger and sadness, almost making up ways in which his world is about to collapse. Which obviously never happens. The film is simply an insight in the mind of a man who’s completely lost within himself.

Collapsology is the second film you shot for the Russian brand Brier. Can you tell us more about how this collaboration came about?

I met Brier’s designer Daria Serova when I bought my first coat from her. A while after, as I was reading T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, I felt that this would fit very nicely with the brand Brier. I then emailed Daria, explaining what I had in mind and that’s basically how our collaboration started. I really admire her work – to me she comes across as a true artist and I can relate to her style and view very well. She gave me absolute freedom on both projects and approved the treatments making no changes.

Your latest music video for Son Little, The Middle, also explores relationships, only through movement this time. Is this an ongoing element in your work?

I’m not sure if it’s an ongoing element, but for the time being I feel this is the best way to convey what I want to say. It’s more of an exploration of the mind. In The Middle we are looking at a woman who wants to leave, but is unable to make that move, resulting in a never ending loop. With Collapsology on the other hand we are looking at a man who gets stuck with his own thoughts, unable once again to get out of that mind-frame. It’s really about investigating all the weird places your mind can take you to.

Generally when it comes to fashion films having a good budget to work with is one of the biggest challenges. How do you tend to overcome budget limitations in your productions?

I’m still finding my way around it, but until now I’ve been lucky enough to work with brands who appreciate the cinematic look I seek. Fashion film is a form an advertising and even with small productions, costs do add up. Budget limitations are always a problem, but when there is an idea that inspires you I’m usually lucky enough to have people by my side who are ready to help with whatever I need for the shoot. I also try and find ways to keep costs down, which is helped by my love for documentaries, natural light, real locations and people.  

You started off as DoP and then moved into direction. Can you tell us more about this shift? Where does you heart lie and is it challenging to play two roles?

I don’t know if there’s anything that I like more than being a cinematographer. I still find it always so interesting and challenging – I just feel happy holding the camera. I still work just as a DoP sometimes, but I realised it can take a while before an inspiring project and the right director come my way. Also sometimes I just feel the need to speak up! So eventually I naturally began to direct, getting more and more into it. It’s a good exercise in communication – to try and be heard and understood.

What are you working on right now? What can we expect from you in the future?

Music videos and fashion films, of course. And finally a short film I’ve been planning to shoot for a year, but for which I wasn’t ready. I think now the time has come.

LINKS

Vimeo: vimeo.com/channels/nicoschoice
Web: www.niccolomontanari.com

Credits

Director Daria Geller
DOP Daria Geller
1AC Artem Burko
Actors: Vasilisa Izmaylova, Kirill
Voice: Adam J. Morgan
Color: Dmitriy Litvinov