//Click on the image to start the movie //
Last week-end I had the chance to have a little chat with Septa Una (Septa Absharin Husna) or Una as she prefers to be called. She is one of Indonesia's rising talent that just made her mark in Paris. On the 5th of December 2015 she won the award for best student prize in the prestigious film festival of ASVOFF; A shaded View on Fashion Film for her movie titled JO!
This film festival was launched in 2008 by the famous blogger Diane Pernet. The movies that are selected in ASVOFF debuts in Paris during fashion week and tours the globe with subsequent screenings at prestigious institutions and events like the Barbican, the Guggenheim and Cannes Film Festival in a host of creative capitals such as New York, London, Tokyo, Milan, Moscow, Mexico City. ASVOFF is not only a competition of short fashion, style and beauty films but also a travelling international event showcasing feature films, documentaries, conferences, performances and installations. Genre-bending and groundbreaking, it has already brought together such illustrious names as Chris Cunningham, Róisín Murphy, Nick Knight, Erwin Olaf, Nobuyoshi Araki, Tilda Swinton, Steven Klein, Mike Figgis, Chloe Sevigny, Dita Von Teese, Max Vadukul, Bruce Weber and Ryan McGinley as well as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Gareth Pugh, Sergio Rossi, Hussein Chalayan, Mr. Pearl, Rodarte, Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto & Thom Browne.* Last year's jury were presided by Jean Paul Gaultier. The event itself was held atCentre Georges Pompidou (museum of contemporary art in Paris).
Diana: Ok Una, can you tell me a little bit about yourself ? How did you come to France ?
Una: During high school I wanted to try studying abroad and then my mother suggested that I do my bachelor's degree in France through euromanagement. I then arrived in France on January 2010
Diana: In the beginning did you study the French language first or did you immediately enrolled into a school ?
Una: I took an intensive course for about 5 months in Indonesia, then when I arrived in France while waiting for the acceptance from the universities I enrolled to, I took a language course for about 3 months in Caen, Basse Normandie.
Diana: I saw that you also did a degree at the Jules Verne university in Picardie, what was your major?
Una: Yes I took cinematography for my master's degree then I continued with master in fashion communication at Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris. Now I'm on my fifth year.
Diana: Were you always interested in cinematography ? And why did you choose to continue your studies with Atelier Chardon Savard? :)
Una: At the beginning I wanted to go into architecture (laughs) obviously it has nothing to do with what I'm doing now. But Euro Management, at the time, told me that in order to study that I would have to take art first before I would be eligible to apply and continue in architecture. Since I have always been interested in photography, I chose a major that has a relation with photography. That was how I got into cinematography. I then pursued my studies in Atelier Chardon Savarde because from my research there weren't any other fashion school that did a fashion communication programme and I liked that their programme was quite thorough.
Diana: Could you tell me how the project came about ?
Una: Jo! was actually an assignment at the end of my 4th year. All the communication students were given a project to collaborate with the design students. My project was with Siqiwu or 547 from China. For Jo! I tried to put the spotlight in the atmosphere or the style of the siqiwu brand instead of merely showcasing the outfits. The title Jo! came from the real name of the actress; Josephine Peeters.
Diana: Did you write the script on your own or did you collaborate?
Una: I wrote it alone.
Diana: How about the concept idea for the story, where did you find the inspiration?
Una: From everywhere really, I did a lot of research on the movies in vimeo. Then of course, I also looked for inspiration images from the net, the visual part has always been my main interest. From the beginning I didn't want to use any dialogues, and I wanted to paint the ambience using a minimal monologue, and even then, there was not a lot of it because the visual aspect for me, has to be the main star.
Diana: And this idea of routines and rebelling from the mundane?
Una: Well, that was inspired by the carefree character of siqiwu. I also noticed how the clothes in the collection has this enfantin (childish) trait. It was also mixed with my thoughts about life and life's routine that felt so excruciatingly boring (laughs).
Diana: Yeah, it's true as we grow older, often time we forget these simple joy we had when we were little.
Diana: And did the colors that you used came from siqiwu's collection?
Una: yesss :)
Diana: How long was the shooting?
Una: Three days. The team were actually composed of my friends.
Diana: Where did you shoot it and how did you get permission for the different locations?
Una: The shoot was in Amiens, the city where I lived. I go back and forth between Amiens-Paris because my school is in Paris and now my internship is also there. At the time, we didn't have any budget for the shoot, so I was looking for ways to use what I have. The camera man was my best friend and then the shooting was mostly done in the apartment of Josephine's sister.
Diana: How did you get the permission to shoot for Jo's workplace setup dan how did you choose your locations?
Una: I was actually a regular costumer at that restaurant, and I noticed that the decor was in the same color as siqiwu's collection. I asked them if it will be possible to shoot there and they said yes. The owner was really kind. We chose our locations as the idea and the scenario developped. For the apartment, I wanted a modern decor instead of the typical old buildings you often found in France and I was very fortunate that Jo's sister had this type of apartment.
Diana: Were there objects that you created especially for the film?
Una: hmm.. just the balloons that we put on the wall, Oh! and the writing of Comfort Zone and Where the Magic Happens with the frame.
Diana: Which scene was the hardest one to shoot?
Una: The last one where Jo disappeared. My team and I had a lot of discussions on how to create the effect and we finally made it by using a garbage bag.
Diana: Could you elaborate?
Una: So we made a human form and put it into Jo's outfit. We then inserted hot air with hairdryer, do you follow me? So we took off the hairdryer from the plastic bag afterwards, sorry I have a hard time explaining this.
Diana: So, correct me if I'm wrong but what you did was: You first took a garbage bag and created a body form with it, then you put this garbage bag form into Jo's outfit and set it in Jo's last position. Then, you took a hairdryer and made the form expand with the hot air coming from the hairdryer, and then for the disappearing effect, you pulled the hairdryer out of the plastic bag form.
Una: That's right!
Diana: It was really cool, she really looked as if she disappeared! :)
Diana: What was the most memorable thing from the shooting ?
Una: Hard to say.. it was all very memorable because we really enjoyed the process, there were no pressure. The thing that took the most time probably was the "cadrage" (framing). Especially because the apartment was small! So often times we didn't have enough space to go backwards and get the whole framing as we intended it to be. We had several debates on how to do it and finally we decided to change most of the framing. For example, instead of "travelling" forward we went to the side.
Diana: On the credits there was a production company Manarr what was their role in the creation of this film?
Una: They edited the film. It is a company owned by a very good friend of mine Simon Lemarchand and her friend; Julie Chevalier. Julie was the DOP (Director of Photography / cinematographer) and the cameraman for Jo!
Diana: Could you explain the role of DOP in the shooting?
Una: Dop is the Director of Photography who took charge of the framing, lighting, dan different technical aspects used in creating a movie.
Diana: How about the songs did you choose it before or after the shooting?
Diana: Voice-over and the model are your friends or did you cast them especially for the project?
Una: The voice over was a friend of Simon's! It was so lucky because he has a very nice deep voice.
Diana:Yes! it really fits the ambience.
Una: yes :)
Diana: How did you feel when you were announced as one of the winners of ASVOFF?
Una: So happy! I can finally make my parents proud :)
Diana: Yes and furthermore it was shown at Centre Pompidou! Did you also meet with Jean Paul Gaultier? :)
Una: yes on stage, when he handed me the trophy :)
Diana: Did all your collaborators came for the award night?
Una: There were Josephine and the main team, Simon dan Julie
Diana: Are there any other projects that you are currently working on at the moment?
Una: Yes, I am actually writing another scenario, but since I am still finishing my internship I am not sure when I will be able to finish it.
Diana: What are your hopes for the future?
Una: To be an artistic director in brand communication, to be able to create all the concept for visual communication.
Diana: I wish you all the best :) thank you so much for the interview don't hesitate to let me know in case you launched another project/ film :)
Una: Of course! with pleasure :)