The documentary filmmaker Richard Rossmann from Saalfelden, Salzburg, is the new face of the Frames of Life campaign. In which Giorgio Armani’s glasses do not adorn the faces of famous celebrities, but rather five young and diverse people whose lives, as it turns out, are truly inspirational. They are the food blogger Mimi from France, the Italian ballet star Damiano, the rodeo rider Nicole from Oregon, the surfboard designer Caner from Istanbul and, as we mentioned, Richard from Austria’s own Pinzgau. He takes us on a journey into his homeland, into the snow, into the mountains, to the farmers. He speaks and even sings in his Pinzgauer dialect and, carefully and affectionately instils in his viewers a desire for the primeval and raw nature of his alpine world. What connects these five brand ambassadors? Their passion for their work and their homelands.
Occupation Documentary filmmaker
Favourite film Some Like it Hot (by Billy Wilder)
Motto Respect each other
Favourite film quote Nobody’s perfect.
What was your first thought when you were asked to be an ambassador for Giorgio Armani’s Frames of Life campaign?
In August 2015 I was still just one of several hundred suggestions. I had to send in photos and texts that illustrate how my relationship with my homeland is a feature of my work. Then, in November 2015, I got the call to say that I was one of the last three candidates, and Giorgio Armani himself then made the final decision. I thought that was a nice touch. I also found it really nice that his assistant sent me back my production file – with Armani’s signature underneath.
What happened next?
They actually wanted to film with me in the French Alps. Though only because they didn’t know Pinzgau. But it was very important to me that I would be shown in my homeland. So I took a few photos of the Kitzsteinhorn Mountain and the other mountains. That easily won them over. I organized lots of shooting locations for the 16-strong team.
The game reserve that belongs to the Schloss Prielau. There we waited in the snow for the game for an hour and a half, at freezing temperatures, early on a January morning. To no avail. We were luckier the next day and we managed to shoot a couple of great scenes. And the Taxhof and the Schloss Kammer and the famers from the place where part of my next documentary is set.
In the feature you are wearing a hand-knitted Tyrolean Janker [traditional jacket]. A timeless classic that goes well with the Armani aesthetic. Is down-to-earth the new luxury?
I’ve always been down-to-earth, which is why it’s not a question that I’ve ever asked myself. But I think that there is a desire for down-to-earth clothes. And also it feels good when you slip into something that your grandmother knitted for you 25 years ago.
You film very thoughtful documentaries. In “Tagaus, tagein” your focus was your grandmother, who is now over one hundred years old and still runs the Harhamhof farm. In “Max and the Others” you portray the sexual self-actualization of three men in Berlin and their life with HIV. And now your subject matter is distilling schnapps.
Yes, there’s something archaic about it, in my opinion. The smells, how sociable the people are: a cabin where people distil schnapps is a wonderful place. I searched for farmers who still do it in a traditional way. Something like rowanberry schnapps – it’s not for nothing that it’s sold as a rarity in five-star hotels in New York. It’s almost like being served caviar. Every farmer has a favourite fruit that he likes to talk about. And the fruit’s attributes are often the same as the farmer’s. That love for their work and for the fruit – I find that incredibly inspiring.
If you could ask Giorgio Armani a question, what would it be?
I don’t have a burning question for him. I’m an observational filmmaker. What’s important to me is showing the person behind the actions, creating a portrait of the entire person in all their complexity.
Have you met the other ambassadors?
No. We have never met.