WGTC: How much knowledge did you have of Frida’s work before you actually began filming?
Christina Voros: I did a fair amount of research about Frida before I began shooting. She’s a very private person, but there were a few good longer articles and interviews with her. There wasn’t a lot of video and coverage outside of the interviews and fashion shows though. So I tried to find as much information as I could.
When I first started the film, I didn’t speak much Italian. But I learned over the course of shooting. I was constantly listening, trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything important. So I did the research to orient myself in that.
WGTC: What was the process of building a relationship with Frida while you were filming, so that she would feel comfortable?
Christina Voros: It took patience. We filmed for a long time, and tried not to come off too strong in the beginning. I think the biggest compliment I could ever receive is when somebody doesn’t notice when I’m there. It was just repetition. The first time we showed up to shoot, everyone was like, “Why are there cameras? We never let cameras back here.” Then after the men’s show this past January, a friend of mine at Gucci said, “We sort of missed you guys.” We had been at every show for the past two years.
WGTC: You mentioned earlier that you didn’t know any Italian when you first began shooting. Were there any other challenges on the set as you were shooting?
Christina Voros: I think the hardest thing in any documentary film is the creative sense of trust with your subjects. As a filmmaker, you’re asking this person to put their life out there for you to use as a medium for your own art. Cameras change the make-up of a situation, whether people become quieter or more outgoing in front of one.
So I think the biggest challenge was blending in and trying to disappear. We’re in a world now where there are camera savvy people, and it’s all about cameras. So people are very attentive when there’s a camera where you don’t expect it.
Cameras and fashion are in some ways antithetical to one another. One’s about perfection, and the other’s about pulling the curtain back, and revealing what’s beneath that perfection. So it was probably a little scary for not only Frida, but also for her team. Everyone was looking at each other, asking “Who let the camera guy in? Can we talk to you?” To be allowed back there at all is a gift. It took awhile for everyone to relax.
WGTC: Would you be interested in doing a follow-up on Frida and her career, maybe even in a short film, as you also have experience directing shorts?
Christina Voros: I don’t know. I’m very happy to have Frida in the circle of people in my life. I’m sure the friendship that emerged from this film will continue. I tend to pick the projects I do based on whether or not I have done anything like it before. I don’t like to repeat myself. If I were to do another documentary on this theme, it would be very different.
There are a lot of amazing things out there to make films about. I love stories about strong women and creative processes. That seems to be a theme that’s emerging in my work, if you look at the three documentaries I’ve done.
WGTC: What do you hope audiences will take away from Frieda’s story and the documentary?
Christina Voros: The response I’ve been getting has been amazing. When you live with a film as long as I’ve lived with this one, sometimes it’s hard to see what you have in front of you until an audience starts responding to it. The women who have watched the movie seem to want to be like Frida, and the men who watch the movie seem to fall in love with her. Frida’s a fascinating character. I think because she has been so private for so long, having access to that interior world makes her even more fascinating.
WGTC: What was your reaction when you found out the movie was going to be playing at the Tribeca Film Festival?
Christina Voros: I was over the moon. James and I always dreamed of having it here, since fashion is such a passion for New York City. So it seemed like the right place to screen it.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Christina Voros for taking the time to sit down with us. The Director: An Evolution In Three Acts is still awaiting distribution, so be sure to check back here for more updates.