Two weeks ago I was on a Virgin Australia Flight to New Zealand and came across a film called Première. Although I had no idea what or who it was about I pressed play and hoped for the best. Eighty minutes later I was trying to hide the tears from the passengers in the seats next to me. Première, a documentary by talented, Australian Filmmaker Patrick Pearse follows Kym Ellery as she prepares to show her collection at Paris Fashion week for the first time. It provides an insight into the hard work and stress that goes into preparing for one of the most exclusive fashion events on the planet. Ellery is portrayed as a passionate designer who achieves perfection with a cool and calm outlook in even the most stressful situations. Even though Kym probably didn’t have a moment of sleep during the entire filming process she was still more beautiful than the majority of models cast to walk in her show. Despite its captivating subject the real reason this film had such an impact on me was the beautiful way in which it was shot by Pearse. At times it felt like an art film rather than a documentary and the fact it was a fashion film shot in black and white did nothing but made the garments in the runway show even more beautiful. Towards the end of the film Pearse has Ellery lying on the bed and asks for her final statement. In that moment in the dimly lit room she looks into the camera with exhausted dark eyes and I feel realises her achievement, this was the powerful image that made me shiver. I was grateful for Patrick Pearse to answer my questions about the film and his career as a film maker. Here’s what he had to say:
What inspired you to get into film making?
Photography. My brother is nine years older than me and I loved watching him work and was interested in the way he saw the world when I was younger. I love the ability to tell a a story with pictures because its how humans see the world, we see things before we think about them, in real life or in our imagination.
What is the lifestyle of an Australian Film Maker in France like?
It’s exciting! The Australian film industry is extremely small in terms of creativity and budget. There is an enormous appreciation for the arts in Europe and it shows in the size of the industry and opportunity. The audience receives your work on a quality basis, not who you know or what you know.
What was it like following Kym Ellery around during a particularly stressful time?
It was very inspirational. To see a young Australian achieving her dream on a world stage was great. Her work ethic was very refreshing and it just shows how hard work and creativity can pay off.
Where did the idea come from to make Premiere?
The idea was very organic as was entire project. It just so happened that I moved to Paris when Kym was to make her debut and we causally spoke about the idea of the documentary. We started filming as soon as she got off the plane, I had only met her once before, her charisma and personality instantly appeared onscreen and I decided there would be enough content for a feature length film
Premiere is almost more art than documentary. Why did you decide to shoot in the way you did?
I’m a big believer that B&W provides greater clarity for the audience when focusing on characterisation. Thats the narrative I went for, it was more a human interest piece than documentary to me because I thought Kym was so engaging and just as interesting as the journey. For me a human interest pier is just as mush about the visual characterisations a person portrays, such as mannerisms and articulations, so for this I wanted it to be very macro and intimate.
What was Kym’s reaction to the film like?
Fantastic! She cried!…. (with joy)