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Film director Mārtiņš Grauds. Photo from the personal archive

Twenty-First Century Troubadour 1

Interview by Agnese Čivle

It’s quite possible that director Mārtiņš Grauds is guilty of starting the fashion short film invasion in Latvia. This year there won’t be a thesis show for graduates of the Latvian Academy of Art’s Fashion Department; instead, young designers will present their collections in video compilation format, under the title Palāta: 3P 2011.

Last year, Grauds and fashion designer Keta Gūtmane’s fashion short entitled Lust Lust achieved renown at the fashion short film festival A Shaded View On Fashion Film (ASVOFF), in Paris, and was included in the selection of the ten best fashion short films, which will travel to festivals all over the world. In May of 2011, a compilation of the festival’s shorts was screened at a special program during the Cannes Film Festival.

But how could it have been otherwise?! Mārtiņš Grauds respects works that speak in their own national language, but are understandable outside national boundaries. The director has also hidden references to his favorites films in his fashion short, and lists among his favorite directors Leos Carax, Jim Jarmusch, Miloš Forman, and Roy Andersson.

Grauds believes that the fashion short genre has a future. He continues to collaborate with Keta Gūtmane, and is also working on a book for his photo project Kapusvētki (Cemetery Festivals), which will see the light of day at the end of this year.

In the characters of people celebrating cemetery festivals, Grauds has learn to see unique masterpieces of fashion. At the same time, the faces on cemetery benches wonderfully depict peoples’ personalities. Grauds recognizes that, elsewhere in the world, you rarely see days of remembrance for the departed become such important celebrations for the living. Grauds continues to record tragic and comic scenarios created by life itself. 

Is the fashion short film genre known only in the context of the ASVOFF festival, or does it have deeper and wider roots? 

Actually, I first learned about fashion shorts when I was offered to create a work in this genre. I think there have been cases in film history where clothing is specially emphasized; these are mostly works of video art, and the documentation of collections, when fashion shows are filmed. 

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