When it comes to making fashion shorts, the challenge is to create something distinct and recognisable often within a short running time. DN alum Director Enea Colombi’s short Demon, made for the brand of the same name, is exactly that. Eerie yet graceful, the images of Colombi’s short do an expert job of bringing across the soul and historical underpinning of the brand whilst also just being pleasing on an aesthetic level. It’s a hard balance to attain but it speaks to Colombia’s ability as a filmmaker to craft shots that stay with audiences long after the credits roll. With Demon now readily available for the world to watch online, DN convened with Colombi to learn more about the making of the short, the challenge of creating the brand’s first ever piece of visual media, and his approach to shot composition and achieving such powerful, impactful cinematography.

Where did the initial idea for Demon come from?

The initial idea was born from the realization that the brand shared many elements with my vision, aligning well with the ‘gorpcore aesthetic’ that I was keen to explore further. This involved a particular dark aesthetic that combines fairytale elements with those of the knightly era, extending to the present day through modern architectural elements and materials such as reinforced concrete.

I read that this is the first film the brand had produced, how did that affect your approach to the project?

The brand had never utilized video as a medium of communication, and we intended to create a manifesto film that would encapsulate the entire soul and the historical and iconographic research behind the brand. Pre-production began in collaboration with Luca Degani, producer and co-writer of the project.

We intended to create a manifesto film that would encapsulate the entire soul and the historical and iconographic research behind the brand.

There are so many striking shots and locations throughout the film. How did you source them and decide on what to capture?

Together, we embarked on extensive location scouting and a meticulous selection of props that would connect with the brand’s material essence. Our challenge was to create a film that did not merely mimic a medieval costume drama but would be profoundly contemporary, even incorporating ancient elements. My vision was to create a film that merged two distant worlds, reflected in the final scene of the film where a knight lies on the ground in a backroom, surrounded by elements reintroduced from throughout the film.

And what equipment did you use to achieve such distinct shots?

Our technical equipment was deliberately minimal, aiming to minimize the need for extensive post-production. Therefore, we chose a setup consisting of a RED RANGER GEMINI camera along with a mix of Angenieux and Cooke Panchro FF zoom and prime lenses. This setup allowed us to be as autonomous as possible, enabling us to film for just a few hours each day over multiple days without the need for large crews or highly technical equipment, giving priority to the natural and meteorological conditions of the various environments. This approach was also driven by the extremely challenging budget of the project, and it was only thanks to the support of the two production companies involved, Section80 and Borotalco, that we were able to bring this content to life.

What is your approach to shot composition and getting a great image?

My approach to shot composition in Demon is highly observational. I didn’t want to make a film rich in camera movement; instead, I aimed for a film characterized by pauses, sounds, and silences. This choice challenges the laws of modern attention spans. Starting with natural locations, the key was returning multiple times at different hours to determine the best weather and lighting conditions for each scene.

I aimed for a film characterized by pauses, sounds, and silences.

The edit feels so integral to how the film looks/feels. Could you talk about that part of the process?

Editing is a fundamental part of the film. It consists of two extremely different blocks: the initial descriptive and slow block, which sets the film’s imagery, and the second block, the flashes, which narrate the brand’s world. I began with creating a film that could tell the story of brand-producing shoes inspired by a natural, dark world with references to the medieval era and brutalist architecture. These elements contrast, so the only way was to deconstruct each element and visually unite them through frenetic editing. All these elements converge within these flashes, eventually coming together in the final key visual.

How do you feel commercial work like Demon has benefited your progression as a director?

As a director, I’ve always aimed to create timeless projects, avoiding the pursuit of trends. This approach has often made me go against the grain. Demon was perhaps the riskiest endeavor in this respect, as I hoped to bring longer, more attention-demanding content back into focus, moving away from disposable content.

And to round off, what will you be working on next?

I am considering various projects, both short and brief narratives as well as musical ones. This summer will be dedicated to writing.

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