As fashion films become the default means of editorial storytelling, a new crop of directors have been making their mark with compelling shorts that boast cinematic production values and elegant styling. Sandro Suppnig‘s romantic tales feature beautiful women with expensive taste and complex relationships. His latest ‘The Necklace Affair‘ is a sumptuous piece with Vanessa Hegelmaier as a tortured trophy wife: the clip is chic, sleek and packs a whole lot of drama into less than a minute. MDC caught up with the enterprising Mr. Suppnig to talk casting, castles and doing something beyond the typical fashion movie.
MDC: How did you come up with the idea for this film?
SANDRO: The fashion focus of the whole piece is jewelry. However I wanted to do something a bit different than a regular fashion film, something very cinematic that tells a real story. To use the necklace as a metaphor for a chain, holding this unhappy relationship together was a rather dark and uncommon approach for a beauty piece, but Linn Lomo, whose jewelry was featured, loved it.
My main inspirations for the film certainly were Giorgiana, Duchess of Devonshire‘s destiny, whose biography I read last spring, as well as Tilda Swinton’s brilliant and visually stunning movie “I Am Love“.
MDC: What was the casting selection like?
SANDRO: Since we were shooting in the middle of August, in the middle of nowhere, regarding the fashion-world map, the casting was rather difficult. Additionally it was really important to get talent that was excited about the project and didn’t mind the hard conditions. Vanessa Hegelmaier turned out to be the perfect fit for the female lead and I honestly could not have been happier. Besides being incredibly professional and stunningly beautiful she really identified with her role and acted very naturally. In combination with the dashing Ferdi Sibbel they made an amazing couple and their on-set chemistry blew us all away!
Oliver Hirschbiegel, who played the Lord, is a very well known and respected Oscar nominated movie director. I have known him for years and I thought he was perfect for the role. When he did me this incredible favor however, and accepted to play the part, I got pretty nervous.
MDC: The location was incredible – how did you find that amazing castle?
SANDRO: We shot in Austria, where I’m originally from. There are many castles, more or less well maintained and still owned by old aristocratic families. The problem was to find and get access to one close to Vienna, as we only had one shoot day and the talent was flown in. That we managed that, happened thanks to my amazing producer on this job Ernst Mican from Mican Film. He used all his connections and got on the phone with Princesses and Dukes until finally a Count referred him to a Baron, whom he then persuaded to open his doors! What awaited us was sheer incredible: A 750 year old moated castle in the lush countryside of Lower Austria full of history and Serendipity. It even had a ghost…
MDC: Your last film that we saw, ‘An Obsession’ also dealt with an intense romantic relationship. What makes this theme resonate for you?
SANDRO: Oh lord! Well I would lie not to admit that some of it certainly is auto-biographical. I’m a very passionate guy, who loves love and I think some of that translates into my work in one way or another. Also stories like this one might be a way for me to cope with past experiences and emotions.
MDC: What can we look forward to next?
SANDRO: My music video for the song “Take Me” by Backroom Students, featuring Brazilian bombshell Diego Miguel will be released within the next few weeks. I’m also working on my first short film for cinema which I will hopefully be shooting this summer in France. Stay tuned!