FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Leslie Asfour
Fashion & Interiors Programs Director
San Joaquin Delta College
Delta’s Fashion Program to host a very special screening of “Valentino: The Last Emperor” with an exclusive Q & A with the filmmaker, Matt Tyrnauer.
(Stockton, August 7th, 2009) “Valentino, The Last Emperor,” a film about the famous iconic fashion designer, Valentino will grace Atherton Auditorium on the Delta College campus in a very special showing and event. The Fashion Program at Delta College is hosting this event, bringing the film to Stockton with a very special one-time show and exclusive Q & A with the filmmaker, Matt Tyrnauer.
The film screening will also be the “Centerpiece” film of the San Joaquin International Film Society’s inaugural California International Documentary Film Festival. The film festival is dedicated to promoting gifted documentarians by cultivating knowledge and understanding of our world through non-fiction cinema and dynamic storytelling - and presenting their works to new audiences in California's Central Valley and beyond.
The film, “Valentino, The Last Emperor,” is a documentary about the icon of haute couture, a fashion designer so celebrated only his first name is necessary and who certainly lives like an emperor. "Valentino," directed by Vanity Fair writer and editor Matt Tyrnauer, demonstrates all his affluence. After two years and over 270 hours of film footage, what began tentatively as a year-long project evolved into an intimate journey with Valentino that included everything from haute couture and his lavish 45th anniversary party in Rome to his company’s ownership changes and retirement. The result is a touching tribute to the legendary designer’s work and the final stages of his prolific career.
Tyrnauer is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair Magazine, covering architecture and design, and overseeing the magazine's annual New Establishment list—a ranking of the top industry players from the worlds of business, technology, and media. After writing about Valentino for Vanity Fair magazine in 2004, he was immediately entranced by the designer's extravagant lifestyle dedication to his business success. According to Tyrnauer, “I've never seen anyone so pure. He's only interested in aesthetics, beauty ... the dress. Valentino never had one moment of self-doubt in his life, except maybe when he saw the final cut of this movie. He is like a Picasso of design. He's absolutely self-assured, confident and didn't have a lot of hang-ups. Yves Saint Laurent had rooms in his house named after characters from Proust. You don't have that level of literal pretension in Valentino's room – it's just a beautiful room.”
Valentino built his design house from the ground up almost 50 years ago, and along the way dressed countless celebs including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett and Gwyneth Paltrow. The only label to have designed wedding dresses for both Jackie O. and J. Lo, Valentino is synonymous with opulence, extravagance, and drama. He made his mark early with intricately detailed, luxurious gowns and tastefully body-conscious silhouettes—even perfecting his own shade of Valentino Red. As an icon, one who is among the last of the great haute couture designers to be at the helm of their eponymous lines, Valentino announced his retirement in 2008.
While the King of Couture may have taken his final bow on the catwalks last year his legacy remains as strong as ever. Some of his most famous pieces of his collections over the years were exhibited in some of the most prestigious fashion cities, honoring Valentino's contribution to the fashion cannon with a cutting-edge presentation detailing his life, career, and "intricate process of design". The fashion icon Valentino decided to mark the celebration of the 45th anniversary of his luxury brand by breaking a 17-year tradition of unveiling his luxurious haute couture collections for women in Paris, London, Rome and New York.
“I had the opportunity to see the collection in Paris at the Musée de la Mode et du Textile. It was exquisitely shown, simply presented to show the amazing work of this designer,” said Leslie Asfour, Fashion Program Director at Delta College. “I wanted to bring this movie to Delta for several reasons: I knew the film would never come to Stockton and we would miss out on the opportunity to experience fashion in this raw and amazing back-stage pass in the life of this designer, and I wanted our students and community to be able to have the opportunity to share in this kind of art and cultural event focused on the legacy of a great designer.”
Billy Hutchinson, Assistant Manager of Gump’s in San Francisco, is excited that the film is coming to Delta. Billy, who serves in an advisory role to the Fashion Program and was a graduate of the program said, “I think showing the Valentino documentary at Delta is a great idea. It's a wonderful window into the world of high fashion--what it once was and what it currently is. What a fantastic opportunity for Delta to bring the world of fashion to its students and the community. Many who will never get a chance to see what it takes to produce a collection and a runway show season after season. This movie gives the viewer a prospective into what it took to create a design house and how it has to evolve in order to survive today's world of major investors, profit margins, and expected returns. There is also insight into the designer's personal life, which illustrates how much fashion is apart of Valentino's life. For him fashion is not nine to five, Monday through Friday. It's twenty-four, seven. Having a Q & A with the filmmaker will only better the experience. I watched this movie and found it very informative. Coming from a former fashion student of Delta, I highly recommend this film. What fantastic way for the school to reach out to its students, the community and its future students.”
The screening will take place on one day only and at one time only: Saturday, October 3rd at 2:00 pm in Atherton Auditorium on the Delta College campus, followed by the Q & A with the filmmaker. General admission tickets are only $8 for adults and $5 for students with a student i.d and orchestra seating priced at $12. According to Asfour, “we wanted to make the ticket price affordable, because we wanted to be able to share this event with as many people as possible. The ticket sales will not cover the cost of producing the event, so we are seeking sponsors who will be interested in assisting us with costs. We feel strongly about the importance of events like these in Stockton and want to everyone to have access to this rare event.”
“To be able to bring such an amazing film to Stockton is a pleasure and something I truly believe is important to the culture of this city,” Asfour said about the movie screening. “We need more films like this and more events like this that showcase talent, creativity, icons of business and industry, and the work of talented documentarians and it has been a huge international success already.” For an independent filmmaker, this film also proved the success of DIY filmmaking and self-distribution, opening in New York’s Film Forum to incredible numbers. By the end of it’s first weekend of opening the film has grossed $39,106, including $21,784 for the three-day weekend, making it one of the NY theater’s top-grossing premieres in over three decades. The film also broke Film Forum’s single-screen midweek opening day record with $5,963. After only ten weeks of showing, without ever going over 38 screens, it grossed more than $1.5 million and still is routinely finding weekend per-theater-averages above $2,000.
The unique way the film was released makes Valentino‘s success story all the more interesting. Back in February, after successful screenings at the fall festivals in Venice, Toronto and then the Hamptons, it was announced that the Tyrnauer and his producers would opt out of traditional distribution offers that had been put on the table, instead releasing the film independently through Truly Indie – a company that helps filmmakers act as their own distributors by providing access to all the services of a professional theatrical release. “That allowed us to have our hands on the levers, basically, rather that kicking the baby goodbye and crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. We were deeply involved in marketing strategies and patterns of release and press strategies,” according to director Matt Tyrnauer at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. The film has opened virtually nationwide since, and broke $1,500,000 and is still going strong.
Oprah Winfrey got a hold of the film, and without being pitched anything, decided to do a show on the film and its “stars. They carefully plotted the next cities while Valentino toured promoting the film, on Oprah, on Charlie Rose, on “The View,” even on Ryan Seacrest. “That really put up us in the zeitgeist,” Tyrnauer recalled. “People really connected to the film, and we’ve been being really careful to select markets that would respond." Another key for Tyrnauer was Q&As, which he participated in aggressively across the film’s expansion.
In terms of filmmaking, it has already proven to be a new and emerging format and methodology of movie-making and money-making! By drawing parallels with the story of a small-town girl who gets a job working for a major fashion magazine, the 2006's The Devil Wears Prada cost an estimated $35 million to make, and grossed $325 million worldwide, while the book to film adaptation of Confessions of a Shopaholic with Isla Fisher in the lead took in a domestic take of about $45 million and grossed over the $100 million mark. Where the numbers really become indicative of a possible trend, is with the March release of Valentino: The Last Emperor. Released by Truly Indie, Matt Tyrnauer's not exactly fly-on-the-wall portrait is one of the better money-makers of the year for documentary films: it has grossed over $1.5 million going with a city-by-city type of release.
“ The Fashion Program at Delta is proud to host the film and honored to be included in the SJ Film Society’s California International Documentary Film Festival,” noted Asfour. “It is rare that a city like Stockton can showcase such an amazing fashion event, but, the fact that this is a documentary and we have with us the documentarian, makes this event unique and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for fashionistas in the the SJ Valley!”
The show will be held in Atherton Auditorium on the Delta College campus and tickets are available through the Delta box office and can be purchased online at http://www.deltacollege.edu/div/finearts/dept/dca/boxoffice.html or you can charge tickets by phone: (209) 954-5110 or in person at the box office located in Locke Center, directly across from Atherton Auditorium. The box office accepts Cash, Check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express cards.
Additional information can be found on the Fashion Program’s Events Page at http://www.deltacollege.edu/div/fcs/FashionEventsandShow.htm , with links to the movie’s official web site and movie trailers.