Chiara Clemente is a film director who explores identity, cultural contrast, and the creative process. Her love of art can be traced back to a childhood spent tiptoeing around paintings in her father’s studio. After attending film school at Art Center in Pasadena, she directed her first art documentary in 2000 for RAI in Italy. In the following years, Chiara continued to film and collaborate with artists such as Jim Dine, Brice Marden, and Frank Gehry. In 2005, she began filming her first critically-acclaimed documentary, “Our City Dreams”, which followed the lives and work of five contemporary women artists (Nancy Spero, Marina Abramovic, Kiki Smith, Ghada Amer and Swoon) in New York City. Our City Dreams premiered at the prestigious Film Forum in February 2009, screened in more than 30 cities worldwide, and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.
Shortly after, Chiara directed several short films: “Curiosity” for Saatchi and Saatchi, “Remembering Sprouse” with Louis Vuitton for The New York Times, “Richard Tuttle and Mario Sorrenti” for W Magazine and a series of short portrait pieces for Anthropology.
In 2010 she directed a film for Levi’s initiative “Shape What’s to Come” that premiered at the TED Conference. That same year she wrote and directed: “Beginnings”, an original short film series for the Sundance Channel, which after the Second Season won a Webby Award for Best Doc Series. She also directed the online series Made Here: Performing Artists on Work and Life in New York City, which is now in production for its fourth season.
Recently Chiara has worked with Apple, Wieden + Kennedy Portland, Persol for Publicis Paris, directed her first music video for Lucy Michelle & The Velvet Lapelles which was featured on MTV and did two wonderful films for Baccarat and Style.com
Chiara Clemente’s latest series of short documentaries focuses on the beginning of a creative career when everything seems hopeful and possible. The aptly named “Beginnings: Paris,” delves into the creative process and inspirations of five Parisians, including actress-musician Charlotte Gainsbourg, shoe designer Christian Louboutin, perfumer Frédéric Malle, film director and cartoonist Marjane Satrapi, and bookseller of Shakespeare & Co., Sylvia Whitman.
The style of the micro-documentaries is the same. The big names of our time use photos, songs and memories to tell about themselves and answer the most important question of all: how did it all start for them?
Chiara Clemente’s curiosity about the early lives of creative talents began in her own youth as she tiptoed around the paintings in the studio of her father, the artist Francesco Clemente. But instead of paints and canvas, the director decided that she is “a storyteller whose medium is film. “I do documentaries, but I say I do portraits.”
Carmen de Lavallade
BEGINNINGS is a series of short films celebrating creative individuals and their early inspirations in New York City.
Vanina Sorrenti / “Inspiration”
Kolkoz / “Shapes and Design”
Sebastien Tellier / “Structure and Strength”
Robert Montgomery / “Beauty is in the details”
Futura / “Time refines the Artist to help him refine the art”
To celebrate the artful craft that goes into each pair of Persol, 8 world-renowned artists were invited to a XV century manor in Florence. During their stay, they created works of art and told their story, giving the world a rare glimpse into their minds. Welcome to Atelier Persol directed by Chiara Clemente.
In its around the world journey through time and continents, the iconic Harcourt, has been at the centre of great stories to become a timeless object of desire and prestige for any occasion. From this great source of inspiration, Chiara Clemente, Sonia Sieff, Joséphine de la Baume have created three legendary stories…
“In portraying Ada and Alex Katz for Baccarat, I wanted to celebrate their love and the way to continuously inspire each other. Like Baccarat, they possess the beauty and the longevity and impeccable precision” Chiara Clemente
“The city in “Our City Dreams” is New York, serving as home base for the five powerhouse femme artists profiled in Chiara Clemente’s exquisitely crafted docu. Chiara Clemente chooses renowned, wildly eclectic creators who span the spectrum in age, provenance and medium, connected to the city through a complex, ever-changing dialectic. Combining formats and textures with a hypnotic, shape-shifting score, pic itself quite simply ranks as a work of art.”” (Variety)
New York City offers inspiration and haven to five female artists in “Our City Dreams,” a lyrical documentary about the intersection of location and imagination.
“I did art because I didn’t want to die,” says the restless painter Ghada Amer, who responds to the repressive culture of her native Egypt with vast embroidered canvases celebrating nakedly intertwined female figures. Less erotic but equally confrontational are the arresting woodcuts of Swoon, whose expressive, full-size portraits of street people are cut laboriously from plywood on the floor of her tiny apartment.
Allotting scrupulously equal time to each of her subjects, the director, Chiara Clemente, makes smooth transitions among styles, mediums and personalities. Beatific sculptures by Kiki Smith give way to painted bloody phalluses by Nancy Spero.
Throughout, the women are encouraged to explore the pull of their adopted city, and watching the Belgrade-born artist Marina Abramovic perform selections from her grueling, gargantuan work “Seven Easy Pieces,” it’s difficult to imagine any space but the Guggenheim as hospitable.
Nevertheless, one of the movie’s liveliest sections follows the limber Ms. Abramovic (possibly the youngest-looking sexagenarian to exist outside of Hollywood) to Phuket, Thailand, to prepare for her post-tsunami piece, “God Punishing.” If I can wield a bullwhip with that degree of enthusiasm when I’m 60, I’ll be a happy woman indeed. ( Jeannette Catsoulis for the New York Times)