Mandy talks “Romeo and Juliet”, product placement and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with the Queen of Crystals, Nadja Swarovski
To most people, Swarovski is all things sparkles and class and design, to Nadja, it is her last name. Five generations of the Swarovski family have built the company to global domination – now Nadja is tackling the world of film with Swarovski Entertainment. As “Romeo and Juliet” is to open in Australia 27 March, the last of the global releases, Nadja, a producer of the film, spoke with Moviehole about her love of film and all things beautiful.
You work across fashion, jewelry, architecture, design, and now film, what is it about film that attracted you to make Swarovski the first luxury brand to step into the world of film-making?
Nadja: Having worked with creative talents in costume and set design ever since the early days of Hollywood; Swarovski’s move into film production was an organic evolution which felt very natural. We established Swarovski Entertainment as a way to further our involvement in this imaginative and compelling world that so perfectly complements our brand’s philosophy of adding enchantment and sparkle to people’s lives.
What is Swarovski’s history with the film industry?
Nadja: Our history on the silver screen goes right back to the 1930s when Swarovski crystals began to play supporting roles in classic films like “Gone With The Wind”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; and more recently, “Titanic”, “Black Swan” and the Bond Movies. Swarovski crystals also play a role at industry events like the Academy Awards. This was the seventh year that Swarovski has been the key creative ingredient in the set design for the Oscars, for instance, and our dazzling crystal curtains are becoming a Hollywood institution.
Product placement is becoming more common in film – helping to finance projects and integrating products in a way that will get the audience’s attention – do you think people have more of an emotional response to a product if it is weaved within a narrative?
Nadja: I think every element used to create a film will have an impact on the audience if they really connect with the story, whether it’s set design, props or costumes. When used subtly and artistically in the context of the narrative, then product placement can be very natural, embodying a brand’s philosophy alongside the storyline. Audiences are able to associate the story with the brand, and connect with it on a deeper emotional level.
Why did Swarovski choose this particular project as its first step into the world of film production?
Nadja: This new take on “Romeo and Juliet” is timeless and classic – in the sense that it is the world’s most famous love story. But it’s also fresh, dynamic and modern in the way it has been envisioned by the creative team. This is a story about love, about that unforgettable first romance and, of course, about passion. It is enchanting, inspiring and exciting, and we think it embodies the spirit of Swarovski and our company’s philosophy.
What kind of films does Swarovski Entertainment produce?
Nadja: We aim to produce story and director-driven feature films that are entertaining, original and stylish. Our films tell amazing stories with uplifting plots that could be set anywhere from the glamorous worlds of music, film and stage, to enchanted fairytale and fantasy worlds.
Our ideal property would possess the style of “Nine”, “Black Swan” or “The Talented Mr. Ripley”; or contain an inspiring message and poetic storytelling like “The King’s Speech” or “The Hours”. Or it might share the magic and inspiration of films like “Amélie”, “Big Fish” and “Chocolat” and the enchanted worlds of “Alice in Wonderland”, “Narnia” and “The Never Ending Story”.
What films is Swarovski Entertainment currently working on and when will they be released?
Nadja: We’re considering and developing a number of exciting projects at the moment, but none that I can tell you about!
Is Swarovski Entertainment’s main purpose to strengthen sales in the crystal business?
Nadja: Our goal is to produce original, imaginative and artistically accomplished feature films that will enchant and inspire audiences around the world. From a business perspective, Swarovski Entertainment aims to strengthen and reinforce our brand identity by using storytelling to capture its creative essence
I love seeing women at the top of male dominated industries; we’d love to know a bit more about you: What excites you about what you do?
Nadja: I get excited thinking about the opportunities ahead, upcoming projects and who we could collaborate with next.
Favourite film of all time?
Nadja: There are so many great films, but for sheer enjoyment and escapism it would be hard to beat “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
What is something you want to learn this year?
Nadja: There is something to be learned every day, both at home and at work – I don’t think we ever stop learning.
Any advice for people trying to break into the film industry?
Nadja: In any industry I would always recommend immersing yourself and gaining as much experience as possible in your chosen craft. Passion and belief in what you’re doing are vital to having a dynamic career. Having a strong work ethic and integrity will carry you far in business. And at the end of the day never fail to listen to your gut instinct.
“Romeo and Juliet” is in Australian cinemas 27 March 2014