Q & A | Fashion Film Consultant Niccolò Montanari


Niccolò Montanari was born in Italy and raised in the UK. He’s one of the founders of the Berlin Fashion Film Festival, where he immersed himself in the development of communication and branding strategy. Niccolò shaped his skills from the BFFF and carried these forward to create The Commissioners - in partnership with Studio Spaces. This enterprise is a bi-monthly passion project bringing together creatives from the fashion, film and advertising industries. The aim is to improve upon their video marketing potential and filmmaking talents. November’s event is focused around the global fashion brand, Reiss and the secrets behind their overwhelmingly successfully video marketing campaigns. 

Niccolò was excited to chat with us about his inspiration and ambitions behind The Commissioners.. 

Can you tell us what inspired you to create The Commissioners?

The Commissioners - in partnership with Studio Spaces started after having experienced the frustration of so many filmmakers unable to execute and express their ideas and talent. Be that due to budget limitations or lack of network, the event aims to encourage conversations between the professionals working in the industry. With each session we invite a new brand or designer to learn about the video content they produce and what they aim to achieve.

 How did your collaboration with Studio Spaces begin?

It was a fortunate series of events. I had just come back to London after leaving Berlin, so I set up a series of meetings with potential partners. I had already had in mind to put together the event, but I had just assumed it would take some time for the right circumstances to come about. When I met with Studio Spaces and explained what I had in mind they loved the idea. Studio Spaces is a great event space, hosting from brand experiences and conferences, to award ceremonies, dinner and private parties. What was particularly timely was that fact that Studio Spaces was looking to get more involved within fashion and film, as they also operate as a high-end fashion film and photography studio.

 What do you look for when selecting fashion film content?

Fashion film is a genre that is still developing and growing. That's what makes it very exciting. There are a lot of debates as to what can be considered a fashion film, and different festivals and events might have slightly different criteria for selection and consideration. Some may consider fashion to be clothing-focused, however, it can encompass a lot more than that and others may view it with more of a lifestyle approach and therefore include a lot more content. Or you could also interpret it as a moving look book, with no linear narrative or include documentary and short film content with a strong emphasis on aesthetics. I feel that this versatility and range is what makes the medium so exciting, it's all up for experimentation. What tends to bring it all together is the emotional engagement of the film which, if for example we are going to be looking at branded content, tends to focus on highlighting the values of the brand, rather than out-right sell you a product.

What advice do you have for brands who don’t have the budget for a high-end production?

I've been to quite a few fashion film festivals and I've been selecting content from hundreds of yearly submissions over the past five years. I've seen newcomers deliver outstanding, creative content and I've seen high-end productions fail to stand out. From a brand perspective, we are still learning the costs of producing a fashion film, which differs greatly from producing a photo campaign. We are still learning the difference between a commercial and fashion film, and what benefits to expect from each.

What websites do you recommend within the realms of the creative industry?

There are several online platforms where you can source fashion film and lifestyle-driven video content. Some of my favourites are, Nowness, i-D Magazine, Fubiz, Channel 4's Random Acts and It's Nice That, just to name a few. Additionally there are plenty of Vimeo channels focusing on this, as well as the several leading film festivals which include this kind of content.

This is pretty much what I do: find content on these platforms and then share it via my social media channels making sure to highlight the creatives behind it with the aim of providing additional visibility.

What does the future of The Commissioners look like?

For the time being I'm going to maintain the screening and panel with networking format, as I'd like it to become a familiar place with a community atmosphere for those working in lifestyle-driven video productions. The next step will be giving the filmmakers and designers more visibility and opportunities, to encourage more creative and diverse content from several creative industries to be produced.

Read more and get your ticket for the event right here.

Written by Amber Williams