Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 Minutes With Christian Bruun Dir. Blue Gold : American Jeans

Blue Gold is a documentary feature that celebrates the history and cultural impact of American Blue Jeans, directed by Christian D. Bruun. Currently in post-production, the film tracks the journey from rebels and delinquents, to designers and celebrities; from gold mines to the red carpet. The story takes us from the cut-throat world of vintage jean “hunters” who ring up bids as high as $25,000 to the inner sanctum of industry tastemakers such as Adriano Goldschmied and Calvin Klein. Shot over the past 30 months in Japan, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Scandinavia, and all over the United States: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Idaho City, and Las Vegas. Follow the Blue Gold blog for production updates, clips from interviews and historical anecdotes.

Christian D. Bruun is an international producer and director, digital artist, and curator with more than fifteen years of professional experience in Europe, the United States, and Asia. A pioneer in the field of digital film making, digital media, and architectural design,Bruun is also the co-founder and co-organizer of the Sustainable Dialogues International Symposia.

Q1. What was the first record you owned that really inspired you?

A: David Bowie's Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980).

Q2.What gave you the inspiration to create the documentary ‘Blue Gold’?

A: Initially, I was fascinated by the world of vintage jeans, such as the jeans hunters, the insane value of an old pair of Levi's 501®, the obsessive collectors, and of course the pants themselves, in how they fade and change with age. But the film is an attempt to find out why our entire planet somehow chose this blue, rough work pant as the pant to wear. Almost every bit of the design of a pair of jeans comes out of practicality, optimization, and durability.

To this day even the most expensive fashion jeans share these design elements. Yet, as far as I know, few people wear them for mining or herding cattle. It seems that some of the answers lie in the myth, history, rebel spirit, and in some secret, magical properties of the pants themselves.

Q3. You interviewed many iconic people from the world of Denim. What was the most interesting thing that you learned?

A: That would be a couple of things. The passion of the people making jeans would be on the top of the list. Jeans are very limited in the elements that make up the basics, yet they are re-invented constantly within that framework. That's one.
Secondly, it fascinates me that jeans can signal tradition and stability (think Reagan in full denim gear) while at the same time can signal instability and can question authority (think hippies, punk, or people behind the Iron Curtain). We filmed in the Middle East. Mixing jeans with tradition certainly does not go unnoticed there. Personally, I have to say, the most interesting thing I learned was in the journey of making the film, connecting with people from all over the world and combining their stories in the film. It is looking at the world through a pair of jeans.

Q4. How did you get into the film business?

A: I studied architecture in Los Angeles at a time when computers opened up a common ground for artistic expression in design, film, and communication. The tools allowed me to combine 3D set design and animation with digital video for live action. Everything I have done, from visual effects to shooting features and directing commercials came from the digital world. Online publishing and interactivity is another dimension. I look at film as part of getting my ideas out there, and I include design and interactivity as part of the process. It's a way to collaborate and show other aspects of the work.

Q5. Can you tell me a little about the Sustainable Dialogues International Symposia of which you are co-founder and co-organizer

A: I curated and designed the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for Architecture in 2006. We proposed solutions for rebuilding New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. After the Venice Biennale, we set up the exhibition around the world and invited international architects, environmentalists, and designers to discuss how to better build and prepare our cities to minimize the damage and devastation following natural and/or man-made disasters. The idea was to exchange knowledge based on local experiences such as the tsunami in Southeast Asia, in anticipation of ecological disasters in Central America, and floods in the United States.

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