FRED SWEET FASHION FILM FESTIVAL PRODUCER
FIR has been invited to some of the most prestige’s events. But the Fashion Film festival takes the cake for us. I am honor to be invited to the 7th annual Fashion Film Festival, know as the Cannes of the fashion world. Recently I caught up Fred Sweet, the visionary and founder of La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival. Now in its 7th year, La Jolla is known globally as the “Cannes” of the fashion film world. The synergistic group of companies that he owns includes San Diego Model Management, Fashion Film Network, International Fashion Film Awards, La Holla International Film Festival. Fred and his group now spend their time connecting and empowering the global fashion film community to the agents, distributors, and producers of Hollywood’s elite. After getting his Master’s Degree in Finance, Fred spent his formative years in the modeling and entertainment industries before becoming one of the world’s first visionaries and thought leaders in the world of fashion film. Sought after lecturer and consultant, Fred’s main interest is in projects that bring empowerment and value to the worldwide community of independent creative professionals.
Q: What inspired the Fashion Film Festival?
A: About 8 years ago I started noticing small video clips of fashion shows that were posted on various internet sites. Small took the form of mini-movies. Eventually, I told my staff at San Diego Model Management Agency that I was going to contact the filmmakers, get their permission, and put together a viewing party for our agency staff in La Jolla. Well, at a modeling agency nothing stays a secret too long. Everyone wanted to come! So I said we are turning it into a fashion film festival. The first in North America.
Q: How does this event contribute to the Fashion industry?
A: Fashion film is huge at this point. Virtually all fashion brands now produce fashion films. The fact that La Jolla is privately funded and is invitation only gives us a great deal of control that a normally does not exist in a film festival. In that way I feel we are good guardians of keeping it real and authentic for providing the global fashion film community true value and a great experience.
Q: What is your role?
A: I'm the festival producer. I spend most of the year contacting and rounding up the most fabulous people in the world to attend La Jolla. I'm up in Hollywood constantly letting them know what we are doing and having some of the top influencers join our global community. I'm also in touch with filmmakers globally on a daily basis which is necessary if you want to put together a world-class fashion film event. People ask me if I'm worried other people could copy what we are doing. I say impossible, with a straight face, for one simple reason. Obsession can't be copied! And I am obsessed!
Q: Who are some of your Favorite designers?
A:My personal style is probably a combination of Ralph Lauren and Armani. One of these days I'm dumping everything in my closet and filling it with those two designers.
Q: Can you explain what a fashion film is?
A: The best fashion films today are really what I call mini-movies of around 3 to 4 minutes. That is they have the exact same production values of major Hollywood productions, great cinematography, dramatic storylines, and believable characters. We review over 11,000 fashion films in the course of selecting the nominated films for La Jolla. I can assure you that the days of the one model shoot for fashion films is over. Many of the productions have 50 to 60 people working on them. This is not to say that small crews with small budgets are out of the running. It's just going to be more challenging for them.
Q: How are the winners selected?
A: We review about 11,000 films throughout the year. From those, the selection group designates the Official Selections. Then, from that group we put about 80 films into nomination. After that, our international jury takes over and votes on them. There are usually about 15 awards given out each year.
Q: Are film makes only nominated for awards?
A: One of the prime missions of La Jolla is promoting independent creative professionals around the world. Many of the film submissions we receive, whether or not they become Official Selections or not have the opportunity to go into our international distribution channels. That means filmmakers can continue to benefit from their films for months and years after it's production.
Q: In the future do you see this event airing on TV?
A: For the past 2 years, we have been doing a broadcast event in Hollywood in conjunction with Cinemoi USA. About 1500 people attend and it's produced a taped live broadcast. Each year has been getting bigger so that is one path that is looking good for us. Also, we've had various offers and plans to live broadcast La Jolla so when one of these options makes sense we'll go for it.
Q: What does the future hold for Fashion Film Festival?
A: Although I have heard La Jolla described as a huge success I actually have much bigger plans for it. I always want La Jolla to be on the cutting edge of what's happening in global event production. We are, of course, limited by our resources, however, their is no limit to our imagination, energy, and supportive global community. La Jolla is currently one of largest privately financed film festivals in the world. We do not solicit sponsors and our guests constantly tell me they love the non-commercialized atmosphere of La Jolla. In the end, I would like La Jolla to be some combination of Cannes, New York Fashion Week, Secret Cinema (out of London), and Johnnie Walker's "Symphony in Blue" event.