[Y]ou probably couldn’t tell by watching his short film Fashions Fade, but Ryerson first-year Image Arts student, Benjamin Reyes, isn’t all that interested in fashion.
“That’s the funny thing, I never really pictured myself doing a fashion project at all,” says Reyes. While he may not have a passion for fashion, the film won the first-ever Elle Canada Fashion Film Competition at the Whistler Film Festival this past December. Reyes beat out aspiring filmmaker Mackenzie Christopher Tummers’ film, Trouvé par nuit, and Juno award nominee John Poliquin’s film, Norman Ambrose.
The competition had only one thematic caveat: the videos had to be centred around the idea of style. “We wanted to tell a story that involved fashion in some way, but overall that style is about character and personality.”
Fashions Fade follows a young street performer who revamps his wardrobe after realizing his old clothes weren’t exactly attention-grabbing. In the end, it’s the young man’s charm that does the trick. The film closes with the Yves Saint Laurent quote: “Fashions fade, style is eternal.”
However, what hasn’t faded is Reyes’ love of film.
“When I was 11, my parents got me a digital camera for my birthday. I just started playing around with it, putting images together and made little movies with my friends. I think it just grew from there.”
Reyes’ success with film started in high school. In grade 12, Reyes won the Ottawa Public Library Teen Tech Video Contest. His entry was a movie trailer that depicts a dramatic adaptation of the well-known Dr. Seuss story, the Butter Battle Book.
He also placed first in a contest held by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. The video explored privacy and online gaming.
After high school, Reyes went to the University of Ottawa, majoring in biology. While Reyes knew he wanted to be involved with film in some way, he also wanted to explore other options in a university setting.
“At the end of the day, the nice thing about film is that it involves a lot of different fields of study. It’s important to be well-versed in a lot of different [subjects].”
Reyes cites Ryerson’s hands-on approach as the reason why he decided to transfer from the University of Ottawa. “I was taking a few theoretical courses in Ottawa, but I liked the approach I saw Ryerson taking.”
At Ryerson, Reyes met the other members of the Fashions Fade crew. “When you make a film like this, it’s a team project. The actors and other crew members are putting their time into it too. It’s a collaborative process for sure.”
The Fashions Fade crew members are Colton Stockus who is in the creative industries program, Behdad Mahichi from journalism, and the leading actors are Sailor Van Veen and Emma Surmon. All students involved are in their first year at Ryerson.
The crew heard about the Elle contest near the deadline, so they didn’t have a lot of pre-production time. This lead to a few close calls. “A lot of elements fell into place with luck. We wanted to shoot in the Eaton Centre. Coming from Ottawa, it’s a big icon for fashion and shopping. It was just the morning of our shoot that we got a phone call letting us know our media passes were approved.”
Luckily for Reyes, like the male lead in Fashions Fade, everything worked out in the end.
Fashions Fade by Benjamin Reyes