SPOTLIGHT ON CREATIVES: Profile On Celebrity Makeup Artist Joanna Faivre

Most articles with creatives center on those in front of the camera, rarely  those behind it. Even then, it might be a feature with the director or powerful producer. In this sit-down though, our editors thought it was worth branching out to other crew who are as equally responsible for making a film or magazine shoot as distinct as the talent who become the faces of it. 

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Joanna Faivre is used to playing a leading part in what a magazine shoot looks like, but rarely is she used to being the subject herself! Shot here by Sarah Desti. 

For make-up artist to the stars Joanna Faivre, she’s quite literally responsible for composing those very faces which become synonymous with a cover, a movie poster or an iconic advertising campaign.

Typically, we only read about famous personalities and their jet-set lives but not often enough do we hear about the team that works in the background fixing, styling and putting together the looks that make the stars shine real bright. 

Posts on instagram of stars heading towards award shows or models on set of a shoot often read: “It takes a village.” This is where an artist like Faivre comes in. 

“I love bringing out a person’s natural beauty, and also maximising and leveraging their public appeal,” explains the French-born make-up artist.

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Joanna Faivre in action behind-the-scenes for a film shoot (photo by Sarah Desti). 

The talented makeup artist is full of original ideas and her enthusiastic personality is contagious upon meeting.. It comes with no surprise that over the years she has established her as one of the go-to makeup artists high-profile individuals and companies frequently hire. Among her notable credits are features in Vulkan magazine, campaigns for Maybelline, and the holy-grail of the fashion industry – Vogue. Faivre is known for delivering the ‘perfect’ look that is on point and suitable to the job brief. 

She confirms, “staying relevant is imperative to succeed in this industry and that means for me to keep up with trends in not only the beauty industry but also look beyond and educate myself on the latest products, fashion trends and ever changing taste-standards in various cultures.” 

It definitely takes a lot of expertise to become a bankable brand name in the beauty business. Honing her skills in the age of constant change and ever evolving beauty standards, the almost obsessive fascination and passion about the industry served her well with her international clientele. With an impressive roster of clients, the French makeup artist has been painting famous faces such as Grammy nominated American singer/songwriter Stokley William, Baptiste Giabiconi (French male model and face of Chanel, Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld campaigns),  international models among them Eline Lykke, Fiona Briseno and Maud Lefort.

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A sample of some of Joanna’s more edgy work, a testament to how she has had to specialise her skillset to continue pushing boundaries in the photographic and creative industry. (photo: Margaux Rodriguez)

As mentioned, One of her career highlights was the photoshoot for an editorial spread in Vogue (Arabia edition). The shoot’s subject Haya Maraka put all her trust in Joanna and the results of the collaboration were incredibly tasteful. 

Another amazing experience for Joanna was the opportunity to work on an advertising campaign for Maybelline. After the pre-production meeting at the L’Oreal Office, the beauty expert created the entire looks – makeup and hair. “It was a delicate job because the campaign would run online on different social media platforms. I was honored the company put so much trust in my work and they were graciously relying on my creative vision.”

If one were to look at any of these photo shoots, it goes without saying that they literally would not be as impressive – from an aesthetic standpoint, or beneficial in serving the subject – were it not for Joanna Faivre’s involvement.

Joanna even has massive collaborations under her belt working together with big-name photographers such as Marie Rouge, Emmanuel Pampuri, Vincent Demarly and Ami Colberg. 

When asked what her secret is to her success, she explains that “as a makeup artist my role is to help the artist/singer/dancer during a show or actor during a movie making, not only in the way they look, but also help them go deeper into the character they have to play, by creating the according look. For a live performance, the human part is appreciated and most important to form the artist’s confidence. They need to feel they are well taken care of and it makes them more relaxed. Both my attitude and my makeup skills are important, the energy and human interaction before an artist goes on to perform.”

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Joanna is equally adept at creating elegant looks with an understated finish for clients of all backgrounds. Shot by Margaux Rodriguez.

Joanna’s one-of-a-kind portfolio combined with her positive attitude and kind personality have now opened new doors for her to take the next step in her already remarkable career. She is about to take on the American market as she will head to Los Angeles soon. There, she will get to offer her knowledge and apply her talent in upcoming commercial productions for top clients, including E-47 records and Talia Bella. 

“I am very excited about this new door opening for me, to be offered a path in the number one country in the world pushes me to be at my best. I am honored and fulfilled to have this career opportunity in the United States, I can’t wait to sublimate the talents that America has and show how passionate I am about it!

Passion and Precision: Editor Bowei Yue’s Compelling Visual Style

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By Joseph West

Although the film editor works almost exclusively in a post-production capacity, he is as essential as the actors, director, even the writer. The editor exerts tremendous artistic influence over a film, controlling virtually every aspect from pacing, atmosphere and mood to how the plot line’s narrative unfolds. The editor’s visual style enhances and elevates audience experience to a profound degree, and as such, qualifies the editor as a critically important contributor to film and video. 

Film editor Bowei Yue exemplifies the demanding mixture of aesthetics and technical skill required of the successful editor. His comprehensive spectrum of skills and flair for arresting visuals have made him an internationally known force, one with multiple best editing award wins at film festivals around the world. 

It’s been Yue’s life-long passion, one he practically born into.  

“My hometown is Changchun in northeastern China, site of the earliest production company in China, Changchun Film Studio, where Chinese films were pioneered,” Yue said. “As a child, I developed an interest in films. All the kids thought films were cool, but I always thought that the people who made films were even cooler.”

After graduating high school, Yue entered the famed Beijing Film Academy. 

“I was majoring in sound, but I realized I would prefer more engaging work that is closer to storytelling itself,” he said. “Therefore, I applied to the American Film Institute for an MFA degree in editing after college.” 

The American Film Institute in Los Angeles is one of the most esteemed and discriminating conservatory’s in the film world–gaining admittance there is no small feat. 

He wasted no time, cutting a series of well received projects (the award-winning Dark Wolf Gang” earned him best editing trophies at juried competitions in the US and Spain) and his recent work on two short films, “Balloon” and “New Year’s Eve” are prime examples of Yue’s formidable talent and versatility.

The former is an engaging, visual effects heavy action/fantasy about a bullied teen who develops super powers while the latter is an intense, intimate coming-of-age familyd drama, providing Yue a showcase for two very different stylistic approaches.  

“I’d already worked with ‘Balloon’ director Jeremy Merrifield on a TV pilot, a short film and 5 commercials,” Yue said. “We have cultivated a good working relationship and talked about this project long before he was conceiving the script, which was very personal to him.”

Merrifield’s vision and eye-popping action demanded much of Yue: “In this short film, we have close to 100 visual effects shots, some of which are very complicated,” he said. “These are not difficult in a big Hollywood movie because there you have a team of people to complete the work, but ‘Balloon’ is a short film, and most of the work was done by myself. So, in addition to the art of editing, I also invested a lot of energy in the post-production supervising.”

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The result spoke eloquently for itself, making “Balloon” a sensation on the world-wide festival circuit, screening over 30 juried competitions (including AFI Fest, New Orleans Film Festival, Palm Spring International Short Fest, Hawaii International Film Festival) and winning the Oscar-qualifying Grand Prix for Best Film at the 15th annual Hollyshorts Festival as well as the audience award at the New Orleans Film Festival. But these pale in comparison to its popularity online.

“On the day of the stream launch on YouTube and as a Vimeo Staff Pick, our views quickly exceeded 100,000,” Yue said. “We were shocked–this is very rare for a short film. Now, we have more than 4 million views on the web, it’s insane! I’m really proud of the final product.”

“New Year’s Eve” took Yue in an entirely different direction. A deliberately paced ensemble cast drama directed by Hao Zheng, it relates the tension filled tale of  19-year-old Xiaoyu returning to celebrate Chinese New Year at his family home, where he must face the consequences of his unpopular decision to enroll in a kung fu school rather than university. 

“Hao is Chinese, but heavily influenced by European films,” Yue said. “His works are basically slow-paced and have an ‘endless savor.’ I personally like this type of film, but most of my works are more fast-paced and genre-leading, so he wanted my style to collide with his and see what happens with those different chemical reactions.”

The experiment was not without challenges for the editor. “The dinner table scene in the film was a very memorable sequence,” Yue said. “Anyone who knows a little about editing will tell you that dinner table scenes are the hardest to edit. There were seven actors and the dialogue content of the entire scene was very rich, with lines coming at the same time, and a lot of improv from the characters. During editing, my core work was to always pay attention to the relationship of Xiaoyu and his mother but at the same time ensure visual diversity, smoothness of cutting along with all the other elements.” 

 

Bowei Yue_3Yue flawlessly rectified any discrepancies between takes and dialog overlaps and “New Year’s Eve” was enthusiastically received at its recent premiere screening. The film will formally release at the end of this month on popular platform Short of the Week, and has already been officially selected by more than 20 film festivals in Europe. But Yue is always looking forward to his ambitious professional horizon and has several fascinating projects in the works.

These include Director-writer Íce Mrozek’s feature “About Him and Her,” a high-concept love story with unconventional, almost experimental tone, Yuxi Li’s “Sword of Destiny” a big budget period kung fu/ action feature and Erica Eng’s “Americanized” a short focused on elements of disparate cultures, athletics and a fast moving urban visual.

With an impressive skill set, Yue’s potent combination of strong visual style, ingenuity, technical skill and keen emotional tone has established him as a talent of significant range and ability. But it’s his aesthetic loyalty–an unwavering commitment to collaboration and upholding the integrity of the filmmakers original vision–that has really qualified him as an in-demand asset in the film world.

“Many editors have said that the relationship between a director and an editor is almost like a marriage,” Yue said. “Understanding and trust are very important. Film is never a one-man-band type of thing, and an editor’s work gets done by maintaining a responsible attitude to the director. But at the same time, as an editor, you need to leave your own signature on the project. Finding that sweet balance is really important for me all the time.”

PROFILE: CAMPBELL GREENOCK Transitioning from an on-stage thespian to an acclaimed screen actor 

Born in Perth, Australia, Campbell Greenock quickly made quite a splash in on small and big screens not only in his home-country but also, now, in the North American film and television market. 

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Aussie talent Campbell Greenock shot by Sally Flegg.

At a young age, Campbell set his mind to becoming an esteemed actor who would focus on being well-trained refining his talent before eventually accepting on-screen roles. 

“I first discovered acting when I was about three years old. Me and my older sister, Scarlett, would put on ‘shows’ for our parents, dressing up and putting on funny voices. I think a part of me has known since then that this is what I wanted to do with my life.”

Since then, he followed the advice of Hugh Jackman (also a WAAPA alumni) “Say yes to everything.” Campbell really takes this advice to heart. You never know what is around the corner, but you shouldn’t say no to opportunities in the hopes that something better will come up. 

He studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), one of the world’s leading performance training institutions. It is recognized nationally as well as internationally for the quality of its alumni, including A-listers such as Hugh Jackman, Frances O’Connor, Marcus Graham, and William McInnes. 

After school he started his professional acting career in theater. Like Oscar-winning Australian actors before him – Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman – Campell mastered his on-stage performing skills before tackling a different medium. When asked about comparing acting in the different mediums, Campbell explains that training in theater truly doesn’t leave any room for mistakes. He goes on explaining “Stage actors have to memorize lines for the entire production and they don’t have the luxury of a director yelling cut in the middle of a scene to reshoot a moment the actor didn’t get right the first time.”

When asked about what theatre has taught him and how this experience shaped his acting style which undoubtedly informed his success that can be admired in the hit show Metro Sexual or the films Trembling Waves, and Pray.

“I believe my experience with the WA Youth Theatre Company is vital to my success on screen. In theater you have to be engaging every night, you can never let your performance become stale, so you are always looking to find the deeper truth. I always try to bring this to my film performances, and I hope that it helps my characters really connect with the audience.”

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Campbell performing in The Dreaming Hill, a production for the Western Australian Museum.

 

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Campbell was the star of The Dreaming of Hill, one of many theater productions which utilised his talents.

The actor certainly puts all his acquired experience into his memorable performance in the feature, Whiteley, in which Campbell takes on the lead in depicting one of Australia’s most celebrated artists, Brett Whiteley. The extremely successful film won 4 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. Also known as the AACTA awards, they are considered to be the Australian counterpart of the Academy Awards in the U.S. and the BAFTA Awards in the UK. The film also took home the Film Critics Circle of Australia (FCCA) Award.

Whiteley is the youngest person to ever have his art acquired by the Tate gallery. His painting The Olgas for Ernest Giles became the most expensive Australian painting when it was sold at auction for 3.5 million dollars. Unfortunately, Whiteley developed a severe dependence on alcohol and heroin, his ‘muse’ Wendy Whiteley, with whom he had a daughter, divorced him. A storied life required an actor with the deep emotional bandwith to give him justice, and Campbell continues to attract praise for his work in the award-winning film. He appears as Whiteley in his 20s.

 

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Campbell as famed artist Brett Whiteley in the award-winning Whiteley.

Campbell talks about how he was given ample opportunity to research. “[His 20’s were] a pivotal time in Brett’s life, as it is when he was first thrust into the spotlight as an artist. I was given unprecedented access to Brett’s home videos and photos, as well as interviews with him. Being able to really embody that young carefree spirit that Brett had, and how it is lost down the track, is one of the most beautiful parts of the film, and without my vulnerability and innocence that was brought to the role, that vital theme would have been lost.”

Unsurprisingly, Campbell’s journey from stage to screen is now seeing his sights set on Los Angeles. He is attached to several U.S. productions, including one involving him filming in California. The role will call for him to use his well-rounded artistry. 

As his agents at Morrissey Management, one of Australia’s leading agencies expressed unwavering praise when asked about Campbell’s prospects and future. Simultaneously, they pointed to his willingness to continually evolve.

“I love to think of every time I am on set as an opportunity to learn. As an actor, I don’t think I will ever be finished developing my craft, and the best way to do that is to build on every experience. We must always push ourselves out of our comfort zone; that’s when actors deliver incredible performances.”