So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins had the honor to sit down with Monica Menez, the photographer and fashion filmmaker, for an exclusive interview after the presentation of her new piece, “The Journey” at the Madrid Fashion Film Festival. The fashion film, produced by the fashion magazine S Moda with the participation of Laura Ponte and Aitor Ocio, has a Spanish flavor that follows the line and the esthetics so characteristic of her previous work. She’s surprised us again, as always.
The Journey from MONICA MENEZ on Vimeo.
So Catchy!: What make a Fashion Film good?
Monica Menez: I prefer films with a little story. I love to be surprised, that’s for me the most important thing in a Fashion Film, because many films are two or three minutes long but they are really boring, so three minutes can be really long if there is no story, just beautiful girls. That’s my opinion; maybe other people like the visual thing more.
SC!: Can you tell us about your creative process? How do you write the storyboards? Do you do some sketches?
MM: In my first film we didn’t have a storyboard, but now I know that it is much, much easier to have one, because the whole process of the film is clearer for all the people that work in the film. So now, yes, I have a storyboard.
I also have drawings but I don’t make them, I have a really, really good storyboarder, Sasa Zivkovic. He is a genius, we do it together, I tell him the whole story and then he draws it. He thinks in film, it’s so much fun to work with him.
SC!: Do you always work with the same team?
MM: Well, I have my team, that’s true. Most of the time we do photo shoots and films together, but, for example, for my new film, “The Journey”, I work with other people. Most of them were Spanish, except me and my DOP, Paul Robert Klinar. It was a great experience. It was such fun! The main character is Laura Ponte, who is very famous in Spain. She was so cool. It’s depends on the project, though. I’m open to working with new people but with my team also.
SC!: What about your new fashion film?
MM: We shot it close to Madrid, one hour away, on a road that looks like a desert landscape, beautiful. It’s a road movie, the first time I’ve done it outside, not inside, but we were inside too. You have to have a look (she laughs).
SC!: When and why did you decide to start doing fashion films?
MM: It was never a dream of mine to do films, never. I didn’t have this in my mind, to be a director. But years ago, I had a personal photography project to shoot, and I did it again and again because I was not ok with the results. “Precious”, my first fashion film, was at first a photo project. And I reshot it again and again, so I realized that I couldn’t explain the story in photography, it was impossible. So I thought ok, let’s do a film just to see how it looks. We shot the film and I was like “Oh no! Nobody is going to understand it…” And then I put it on Facebook and PAM! It got crazy! Was such a big success, we won a prize in San Diego in 2011 at the la JOLLA Fashion Film Festival. It was really crazy, because I’m really a photographer, but I love to do films, it’s great.
Precious from MONICA MENEZ on Vimeo.
SC!: Where do you find inspiration? Could you name some blogs, music and films that you look to?
MM: I love to check out everything on the Internet, I especially love The Red List, The Wild Magazine Wowcracy. For my films, inspiration is mostly music, special music, special sounds. A sound could make me think of an image. It can really inspire me. I’m an 80s girl, I was a Goth, I prefer dark music, but I listen to everything.
Films I love, well, there are so many! I’m a fan of John Waters. The first time I saw a film in the cinema was “Polyester”. I love John Waters, he is so great. I love Wes Anderson too.
SC!: What are you most proud of about your fims?
MM: I love funny things and fashion is not always so funny. I think in Spain it is more fun than in Germany. I love the funny stories and when I shot my first film I thought, “Ok, maybe they don’t like having fun in fashion” and I’m really proud that, now, people love the fun in it. I want to do funny, crazy, surreal things. I’m very proud that I can do this and people like it. That’s nice.
SC!: What do you like to do in your free time?
MM: I’m a mother, I have a nine-year-old child, so, I don’t have so much time for myself. The problem is that I work as a fashion photographer, this is my main job, and the films too and I have personal projects. Exhibitions, there are so many things to do I regularly ask myself why the day has only 24 hours! I think I have to take a little break, and have time for a walk. It’s difficult.
SC!: What’s the best city to work as a photographer or fashion filmmaker? And the best city to live in?
MM: I’ve lived all my life here in Germany, I love my town, it is a little town, it isn’t Berlin but it’s nice. I travel a lot, so this is my home base. For me it’s ok to stay here, but I love many cities. I really, truly love Spain, Spanish people are so cool. But I don’t think I want to live in Spain. It is great to do my work here, though. I love Barcelona and I love Paris, too.
SC!: Could you recommend some talented artists in the world of fashion?
MM: I love Lernert and Sander and Matthew Frost, both fashion Film makers. In photography, I also like Lernert and Sander and the creators of “Toiletpaper” Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari.
SC!: What about your immediate future.
MM: I have three films in mind and one finished storyboard. So I’m waiting for sponsors or anyone who wants to do some really crazy fashion films. It’s not so easy, it’s an expensive thing to do a fashion film. I have to wait and check how could we do it, but I think next year, at the end of next year, yes. I want to do at least one personal fashion film every year.
SC!: What you would like to do ideally in the future?
MM: It would be a dream if I could do films, but my films, maybe if a company said, “Ok, here is the money, you can do what you want”, that would be nice. Also, I would like to do a music video. Many bands ask me to do them; maybe this is the moment to try one.
Photos and videos courtesy of Monica Menez
You can check out some of her Fashion Films Monica Menez here.
More photos from Monica Menez here.
Layout and Translation by Michael Padilla