Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past


'Girl Model' Opens Northside Film Festival, Beginning 18 June

Bookmark and Share
Monday, Jun 18, 2012
The Northside Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, beginning on 18 June, features fiction films, music, and art -- as well as a number of terrific documentaries.

“I’m looking for a specific type of girl for the Japanese market,” says Ashley, scouting girl models for the Japanese agency, Switch. She’s explaining her work for David Redmon and Ashley Sabin’s extraordinary documentary, Girl Model. “The girls need to be a certain height, not too tall, cute, young. Young is very important.” Ashley turns her own camera on a few girls as they hold up handwritten papers noting their names and birthplaces. She shoots them with their hair up and down, from the side and from the front. The session—vaguely awkward, tense and brief—introduces a disturbing phenomenon. As much as these slender, big-eyed children (and their parents) hope that the promises of agents will come true, that modeling will help them escape their impoverished small towns, they are, in fact, headed into a business designed to exploit them—in any number of ways.
Hailing from Novosibirsk, Siberia, 13-year-old Nadya is one of the girls selected by Ashley, who is, you come to learn, a former model herself, someone who’s been through this harrowing process of exploitation. Nadya’s been told she might make money to support her family back home, that she might even find a career in modeling. “A lot of my friends and relatives tell me I look like a model,” she says, curling her hair with the help of her mother, who looks on with an expression that ranges from pride to concern to expectation in a matter of seconds.

Nadya’s experience provides the focus for Girl Model, which opens the Northside Film Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on 18 June (the screening is followed by a discussion hosted by POV’s Andrew Catauro and featuring film subject/fashion consultant Rachel Blais. Other films in the four-day Festival include Sam Feder’s Boy I Am, Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Eric Strauss and Danielle Anastasion’s The Redemption of General Butt Naked, and Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray’s Unfinished Spaces.

See PopMatters’ reviews of Girl Model, Unfinshed Spaces, and The Redemption of General Butt Naked.


Related Articles
By PopMatters Staff
21 Jan 2013
When you think outside the box, it's amazing how novel and inventive your thoughts become. Same applies in film. These examples of beyond the mainstream moviemaking shine as creative and experimental entertainments.
16 Jan 2013
China's leading dissident artist gets the royal treatment. But does he deserve it?
12 Oct 2012
But the ghosts and spirits in the wonderful documentary Unfinished Spaces aren't so much dead as they are waiting.
5 Sep 2012
The film follows heartbreakingly young aspiring models, revealing the emotional negotiations required of every participant in this devastating industry.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2015 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.