What inspired you to start in film and fashion?
I have a background in Design (I used to be an architect) and I know how important design and fashion are in expressing who we are and how we want to be seen. That fact that jeans are everywhere and that they signify so many different things – that they stand for so many things, was very interesting to me.
What was your involvement in “Blue Gold: American Jeans” and why?
I am the director, the producer, and the cinematographer, I worked on the graphics (along with the super talented Gerald Mark Soto), and I did all the color correction. It really was a personal project and I wanted a hand in all aspects of the film.
When did you first start making this film and how did you begin the process?
The process started when my friend and jeans designer Christine Detlefsen took me to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, CA, at 4.30 am, where she was looking for interesting details on vintage jeans. It could have been an old design detail or stitch, or a certain way the jeans had been worn in, ripped, repaired, or stained over the years. All those details determine the price and I was shocked to learn that they would go for anywhere from $1,500 to tens of thousands of dollars.
Why the decision to use the “American Jeans” as a topic? Was it largely an experimental idea at first or is it something you were interested in pursuing further?
There were a lot of Japanese designers and collectors at the Rose Bowl flea market and a few months after my first visit I happened to be in Japan (doing post on another film I was making at the time). I went to a vintage jeans auction and saw the same people, both Japanese and American, that I had seen in Pasadena a few months prior. I saw with my own eyes the value and intense interest in American work wear and especially blue jeans. Seeing this cultural fascination and exchange made me really get into making the film and start to understand history of why jeans are special and why the entire planet is wearing them.
What does this film represent?
The film looks at how we are all connected through blue jeans. The unique properties of jeans, the denim fabric combined with the history of how Americana is spread around the world is fascinating. And the fact that the process goes back and forth as the jeans evolve over time — from sturdy, American workwear, to Europeans making them sexy, to then jeans returning to America reinvented and ever more popular, to the Japanese preserving our manufacturing tradition and helping us re-discover how we used to make things in the US. So the film represents cultural exchange, a cultural mashup, if you will, and the fact that we all desire to feel accepted and connected.
Why is this project special? Do you have an emotional connection? Explain why.
I grew up in Denmark with an incredible love and fascination for America. The film became a reflection of where that fascination came from. Movies, cowboys, big ideas. And when I learned that the pants, that I knew as “cowboy pants” (along with all Spanish and Mandarin speaking people) were never worn by Cowboys until after the Wild West was gone, I knew I had to find out more.
What was your favorite part of the process?
Traveling around the world and meeting people who would tell me their jeans stories. You only have to give people one or two stories of what the film is about and they usually start sharing their own jeans stories. Their first jeans, their favorite pair ever, the ugliest jeans, etc.
What was the most difficult part of the process?
Like with all independent films, getting the film financed was an ongoing process.
What do you hope people will take away from the film?
That diving into one seemingly small topic and discovering that there is a story about the whole world to be uncovered. And that these stories really do connect us all. Jeans really do still stand for something, they allow us to be individuals and a the same time make us fit in, to become citizens of the world.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to start a career in the film industry?
Pick up a camera and find good, passionate people to collaborate with. Collaboration is key. Even if the process of believing in your vision and your story, is one of personal perseverance, the most important part is to have a network of great people to work with.
Check out the trailer below and click here to preorder on iTunes.