Benjamin Reyes was awarded the Elle Canada Fashion Film Award for his short film, Fashion Fades. PHOTO: JESS TSANG

First year IMA student wins national fashion film competition

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By: Meggie Hoegler

When it comes to fashion films, Benjamin Reyes proves that fashion fades, but style is eternal (and prize winning.)

A first year Image Arts student at Ryerson, Reyes won the national Elle Canada Fashion Film Competition with his film Fashion Fades, a classic boy-meets-girl story inspired by the Disney film, Aladdin.

“The romantic interest between two different classes in Aladdin inspired the storyline.” Ben explains. “But we decided to make it more fashion-based with a difference in style instead. We wanted to focus on style being about expressing your personality, not following a trend.”

2013 saw the debut of the annual competition, which offers filmmakers the chance to enter their short films to be seen by industry-seasoned judges. The 2013 judging panel included Robert Ott, the chair and associate professor of Ryerson’s School of Fashion, and Noreen Flanagan, the editor-in-chief of Elle Canada. The top three finalists were rewarded with a trip to the Whistler Film Festival, where their films were screened and the winner announced at a gala for film and fashion industry professionals.

Reyes’ film, entitled Fashion Fades, is about two minutes in length and stars Sailor van Veen and Emma Surmon, two of Reyes’ friends he met in residence this year, as the lead male and female. The film was shot in black and white and portrays van Veen as a busker in the subway station and Surmon as a beautiful, well-dressed girl, who catches van Veen’s eye.

Originally from Ottawa, Reyes decided to shoot the majority of the film in the Eaton Centre because it is a major symbol of Toronto fashion, he said.

Reyes started making short films with a digital camera he received for his birthday in the 6th grade and never stopped. He says he was “shocked” to find out his film won.

“It was an incredible experience. I got to go to Whistler and meet the other finalists. This whole experience has been unreal,” he said.

Reyes describes the film as a group effort, saying “I couldn’t have done it without the amazing cast and crew.”

Reyes hopes to find a film internship in Toronto and eventually work in Hollywood creating his own films for the big screen.

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