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SUNDANCE 2018 World Cinema Documentary Competition

Lorna Tucker • Director

“Vivienne Westwood is the most reluctant protagonist I’ve ever worked with”

by 

- Lorna Tucker, a former model turned filmmaker, essays maverick designer Vivienne Westwood for her debut documentary feature, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Lorna Tucker  • Director

Starting with Vivienne Westwood questioning why a film is being made about her and voicing the opinion that she doesn’t want to delve into her own past, director Lorna Tucker manages by hook or by crook to get the fashion designer to tell stories about the Sex Pistols and Malcolm McLaren and her rise to the top of the fashion world, as well as her recent environmental campaigning. Supplementary interviews were also conducted with Westwood’s team and partner. After the Sundance premiere of Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Lorna Tucker
film profile
]
(released across the UK today, 23 March), Westwood took to Instagram to condemn the film, which just seemed to reinforce what a good job Tucker has done in bringing this intriguing sideways glance at Westwood to the big screen.

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Cineuropa: Vivienne Westwood seems like a very reluctant protagonist…
Lorna Tucker:
 She is. She is the most reluctant protagonist that I’ve ever worked with, or will probably ever work with. But I really wanted to get that across in the film – that irreverence whereby she doesn’t care if a film is made about her. All she cares about is saving the world. What I really wanted to do was show the world why her trying to save it is so important. I wanted to show everything that inspires her, and also how difficult she is and how fun she is, and the fact that it was difficult to make the film. But it was fun, too!

So what made her say yes to the documentary in the first place? Was it through a relationship that you had previously?
It kind of came about through the fact that we had bumped into each other a number of times over several years, and the fact that she really inspired me and educated me about a lot of environmental issues. She is quite an inspiring and stubborn person, and that automatically made me want to make a film on her. Her only drive to make a film at this point in her life is as a vehicle to get her message about climate change and the environment across. 

How much time did you spend with her and her team? 
This film took four years to make, but we weren’t filming every day. At first, it was self-funded, and we were just popping in whenever we could. Sometimes it was just me with the camera, or sometimes the camera operator would come, too; it took a while, and it took quite some time to gain the trust not just of Vivienne and her partner, Andreas, but also that of her team. I didn’t want it to be a fashion film; I wanted to get that sense of family and what drives them. The way you can do that is by being around so much that they forget you are even there, and that is when the magic happens.

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See also