WeSC and Standard hotels have collaborated on a series of short films that combine products from the too cool for school clothing brand with the striking design of the hotels in an ideal art meets business remix!
The two brands collaborated with artists and producers around the globe to create the experimental shorts. i-D online scooped a look at the LA installment and sat down with director, producer, and actress, Beth Riesgraf as she explained the perks of shooting in swanky locations and her new-found interest in falcons!
What’s the most exciting part about shooting in hotels like The Standard? You have a ton of gorgeous sets already built for you, and you have the access and freedom to shoot without worrying about time restraints because the staff are there to accommodate you and your crew. So much of the lifestyle is alive because of the environment. It makes storytelling that much more rich.
What did you find interesting about the hotels you shot in? I found it interesting that I could take a space that is normally used for one purpose and create an alternate universe in it – transform the purpose of the space to fit the reality of my story. I love downtown LA so that in itself was a lot of fun too.
Did the space affect the story, or was the location in mind during the writing process? I scouted the hotel and based the story around the geography of the hotel. The idea was to incorporate the hotel’s interior and exterior keeping in mind their motto: “There is no standard at The Standard.” I wanted to show that one night in a place like this could transform and inspire you. The spaces in and around the hotel are so rich visually, the hotel itself sort of served as a separate character.
Does your acting background help you to direct? I think so, I have a lot to learn still, and it was definitely a challenge to write, direct, produce, and act all at once! As an actor I observe a lot and try to ask as many questions as I can, but it’s a whole other ballgame when you are directing and producing. You have to call the shots, literally, and physically being on both sides of the camera was a bit tricky. I didn’t have time to shoot everything I planned on- and I felt disappointed at first, but when I spoke to some directors I know, they were like “Ha! Now you know what it’s like!”
Do you prefer being behind the camera or in front of it? I like both but I think next time I direct I only want to be behind the camera. Being a photographer I’m really picky about my shots, so I’d love the opportunity to focus on that.
Which filmmakers do you most admire? Martin Scorsese, Francois Truffaut, Billy Wilder, Charlie Chaplin.
Is there one film you wish you’d written, acted in, directed etc? Oh man, a lot actually! The Apartment is one of my all time favourite films, also The 400 Blows, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, City Lights, Sophie’s Choice- one could only dream of being as flawless as Meryl Streep. The list could go on!
If you weren’t pursuing a career in film what would you be doing? I just did a falcon flying hike/lesson in Ireland- it was sort of life -changing. It sounds like an SNL skit, but it was seriously incredible. Made me want to work with animals.
What’s next? I’m collaborating on another film and In the meantime, hoping to get really good at English saddle – so lot’s of horseback riding. And for Christmas… there will be ice-skating!
Head to wesc.com to catch the shorts in all their glory.
Text: Lily Avnet