FEATURED: Q&A With Creative Talent Stephanie Bollag

Stephanie Bollag is a woman with a vision. Bollag, a Swiss film student at the Tisch Graduate School, is a storyteller and fashion filmmaker whose work is both dark and tender, provocative and sensitive. In her last semester at NYU, after directing several narrative shorts, she discovered her niche: visually and viscerally evocative stories at the intersection of fashion and film told through the female gaze.

Her fashion film A Tale of Endurance: Celebration of the Imperfect, which she wrote, directed, produced and edited on spec for the French fashion brand IRO Paris is a celebration of color, race and women. It is meant to send an empowering and disruptive message about pre existing gender norms and racial stereotypes.

Brand Storytelling connected with Bollag to discuss her draw as a creative to making branded films, the value of having brands partner with creatives, and the importance of connecting with brands to tell authentic stories.

You call yourself a “fashion filmmaker.” What does that mean to you? How did that come to be your niche?

First and foremost, I am a filmmaker and storyteller. That said I feel at home with fashion. I grew up embedded in the business. My father was one of the people to make ESPRIT big in the 80s. The funny thing is that I always rejected the idea of following in his footsteps. Cinema is what fascinated me, and I could not envision a career in fashion.

Over the past two decades and especially during my graduate film studies at NYU Tisch, I refined and defined my aesthetic and sensibility. It also became evident that my ideas generally were too grand and too dreamy for the naturalist, indie filmmaking approach film school teaches. Which is how I discovered my niche; visually and viscerally evocative stories at the intersection of film and fashion told through the female gaze.

To me being a fashion filmmaker means that I can express stories and emotions visually without the expectation of a coherent storyline. Fashion films allow me to follow my gut and engage audiences through visuals. A strong, beautiful or disturbing photograph or painting can evoke all sorts of reactions. You can feel pain or pleasure by merely looking at an image. It is that visceral quality I strive to achieve in my work. As a classically trained painter turned filmmaker I found that fashion films allow me to do so.