The Poetic Fashion of George Alexanian
Creative Armenia Spark Grantee George Alexanian on his creative journey, first steps in filmmaking, and his recently released short film Why Women Kill.
April 29, 2020 | by Creative Armenia
Spark Grantee George Alexanian released his fashion film Why Women Kill, a creative collage, weaved from numerous references and inspirations of the young filmmaker.
CA: You are a fashion filmmaker. Tell us how such a narrow field of filmmaking attracted you first and how has the journey been so far?
GA: I guess music and fashion have interested me since childhood. So, when I picked up an interest in photography and videography, fashion films were the ones I fell in love with immediately.
Fashion video and filmmaking have always inspired me. Seeing how the visual frames and music come together to become something meaningful and impactful was fascinating. I wanted to create content of the same quality as the ones that excited me.
In the beginning, it was hard to find my style and not just copy others. When you see something you like, you want to imitate it. I tried not to copy the filmmakers I loved and respected but use their work as inspiration.
I lived in Stepanakert, Artsakh where we have no filmmaking schools or classes. When I was making my first steps, I was on my own with Youtube as my only teacher.
I started young and, at that time, didn’t have a creative vision. So YouTube also became my best friend. All the directing and editing knowledge I have right now, I gained by watching tutorials online.
Finding my style was hard. I worked on everything, including music videos and short movies. Eventually, I understood I wanted to mix the two and that is when I realized it is something I am ready to do for the rest of my life.
CA: You are an emerging artist; you confidently move forward with a clear vision in mind. Tell us a little about the creative and also technical challenges you encounter in your creative career.
GA: I think working on something you are passionate about is always hard. It is difficult to create something you would love and could be proud of, not others.
I always try to be proud of my work first because I am the only one who knows about my mistakes and knowledge gaps. For me, every new release has to be better than the previous one. As a filmmaker, I want my work to be perfect, which actually never happens.
I’ve always been doing everything alone — me, and my camera. But this time Creative Armenia’s sponsorship helped me to bring ‘Why Women Kill’ to life. It was magical. That’s why it looks much better than my previous works. It is amazing and I am very grateful for it.
CA: As a videographer, you always incorporate poetic elements in your work. Tell us about that decision and, more importantly, whether you have found your creative style and voice?
GA: Poetry has always been something I loved. And not just literary poems but also the ones you can find in music and movies. I love how by choosing words that have multiple meanings, you allow everyone to find something in it that resonates with them.
Most of my poetic references come from the movies I love. For example, the name of the project I did in collaboration with Creative Armenia — Why Women Kill — is the title of a TV series. It inspired me and I used it without hesitation.
The dialogues between the girls are also from my favorite movies. Probably, every single line is a reference. For example, the line “go ahead, make my day,” is from one of my all-time favorite movies — Sudden Impact. It was written by an amazing screenwriter Charles Pierce whose “poetry” I admire.
And even the music is a tribute to the video. Every song I used has the same meaning. If you listen closely, you will catch that all the lyrics have similar meanings. They are all from different artists, genres, and musical eras, but have the same core.
Regarding my creative style and voice, I think I always had it. It just was not noticeable enough for others because it wasn’t perfected. Last year, I took a break from social media and kept all my work to myself. That is when I think I finally perfected my style enough to make it recognizable.
People would send me the videos I haven’t posted anywhere, asking if I have worked on them. They would say, they are my style. It made me feel happy because it meant my hard work had paid off.
CA: As a Creative Armenia Network member, you recently received Spark Grant for a music project. Can you give us some insight into the project?
GA: It was surprising.
I wanted to show how I see women. Their beauty, their mind, how independent they are or can be, without men by their side. I wanted to show everyone that women are much more powerful just by themselves.
When I saw the Spark Grant announcement, I applied without any hesitation. But I wasn’t sure if people would like the idea. At the time, it was raw and undeveloped.
When I received the Spark Grant I wasn’t just surprised. I was shocked. And I’m eternally grateful to Creative Armenia for believing in me and my vision.
Creating the video was hard because I wanted the film to be good, impactful, and mysterious at the same time. A lot of things went wrong before, during, and even after the shooting. But I think I made it work with the help of my friends, who I’m grateful for. I could never do it without them.
Finding the right models was also challenging. In my head, I had a clear idea of what they should look like. To find the three girls, I went through maybe every Armenian girl’s Instagram profile. When I finally found them, I was satisfied with my choice.
Everything you see in the video, from the interior to makeup, was part of my creative vision. We fully redecorated the house for it to look exactly how I wanted. I knew what models should wear and what makeup they need to have. These were the things that helped everything come together.
The video was my first big project and I wanted it to be perfect. At the end of the shootings, I had over 1TB of material, which I could edit into an hour-long movie. But it didn’t feel right. I wanted it to be as short and as beautiful as possible.
When we finished shooting, I thought we were done, but we weren’t really. The editing process took longer than planning and shooting. I have changed a lot of things while editing.
The hardest part was the music because I didn’t want to have just good songs. I wanted to have songs that would represent the video. I went through dozens of tunes, had dozens of video drafts until I was finally satisfied.
After releasing it on YouTube, I didn’t expect the response I got. I thought, if I get 1,000-2,000 views I’ll be so happy. Now, it has over 15,000 views, which still blows my mind. One of the artists, whose song I used, even reposted it. I was shocked. And the number of people reaching out to me, saying they loved the video and the idea behind it, is just amazing.
CA: What is your long-term vision for your creative career?
GA: This is such a difficult question because I think no one knows what is out there for them. And you don’t really know what will happen in 5 or 10 years from now.
I feel that directing and shooting music videos for the artists that inspire me is something I would like to do for the rest of my life. Music has always been a huge inspiration and an important part of my life. I think that is something I would enjoy doing without getting tired. And maybe one day I’ll shoot a full-length movie with the idea I already have in my mind.