What better way to enliven a film festival visibly trodden by a slow economy than to dress it up in a little Gucci? The folks at our favorite Italian couturier evidently know how to do a lot more than frock out a fete in lightweight tropical wool — this is the second year the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund has partnered with a selection of avant-garde filmmakers to assist them in proliferating their art.
Two of this year’s recipients are Ian Olds, who directed Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, and Beadie Finzi, whose film is called Only When I Dance. Olds’ film begins by chronicling the working relationship between Ajmal Naqshbandi, an Afghan translator, and Christian Parenti, an American war journalist. Things take a daunting twist when Ajmal is kidnapped by the Taliban, and the film pits a volatile nation against the wavering trust of its people.
By no means a typical rags-to-riches story, Finzi’s film takes the form of an anthem for those who have made lives out of defying the oppression and limitations of their class, telling the story of two children from the favelas of Brazil who escape their depressing lives by taking flight in ballet classes.
Gucci’s philanthropic ventures span way past their longstanding work with UNICEF. “Our partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute underscores the importance Gucci has placed on important film projects, including documentary filmmaking, film restoration and preservation,” said Daniella Vitale, President of Gucci America. and the celebrity support adds another air of luxury. Members of the 2008 Award Committee included John Battsek, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alex Gibney, Jacquie Jones, Rory Kennedy, Diego Luna, Albert Maysles, and Diane Weyermann, the formidably talented forum yielding seven winning projects from a throng of 450 applicants from 28 countries.
And it doesn’t stop there — keep your eyes peeled for more Gucci-funded film projects. In February 2007, Gucci commenced the first of what we hope will be many of its documentary film grants when they partnered with the Ambulante Film Festival in support of Mexican Filmmakers. Thanks to Gucci, the Tribeca Film Festival will look even more gorgeous, both artistically and fashionably.