BERLIN FASHION FILM FESTIVAL
BEST DOCUMENTARY / PORTRAIT (2021)
BERLIN FASHION FILM FESTIVAL (BEST DOCUMENTARY / PORTRAIT)
The Flower Man - The Swagabonds
|Title of Piece:||The Flower Man|
|Production Company:||Alegria Films|
|Director:||Diego Hurtado de Mendoza|
|Producer(s):||Diego Hurtado de Mendoza|
|Art Director:||Audrey D'Erneville|
|Creative Director:||Gigi Freyeisen|
|Editor:||Antonio Gómez-Pan at Final Cut|
|Director of Photography:||Diego Hurtado de Mendoza|
|Music/Sound Design:||T. Terressa Tate at Machine|
|Additional Credits:||Color Grade by Quinn Alvarez at Apache|
|Additional Credits:||Associate Production Company: Afterhrs|
|Additional Credits:||Associate Producer: Theo Brooks|
|Additional Credits:||Production Assistant: Marina Jamieson|
|Additional Credits:||Film provided by Kodak|
|Additional Credits:||Film Lab: Pro8mm Burbank|
|Short Synopsis:||The Flower Man
A portrait of a dapper homeless artist living in LA’s notorious Skid Row
Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles has the ignominious title of being the homeless capital of America. But what most people do not realize is that this makeshift town, which covers the equivalent of fifty city blocks, has bred some amazing artists. The Flower Man, directed by award-winning filmmaker Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, looks beyond the headlines to create a heartfelt portrait of a remarkable man who has called Skid Row home for over twenty years.
Donald Reese is a homeless artist who is committed to spreading joy by selling handmade roses on the streets of Los Angeles. Unafraid of standing out, he struts through Skid Row in a sharp, lime green suit that has only added to his status as a local legend. With a bouquet of ribbon flowers in one hand, he extends the other to the audience in an invitation to walk the city in his shoes.
Reese’s singular sense of fashion and his belief in the therapeutic effect of his flowers dispel any stigma that might arise from his living on the streets. Although the realities of homelessness are brutal, devastating, and tragically fueled by rising drug dependency and complex mental health conditions, Mendoza masterfully mixes 16mm, VHS, and Red footage to capture the beauty hidden in the chaos of Skid Row.
Reese is the first artist to work with The Swagabonds—a project that started as a photo series and evolved into a collaborative fashion brand designed with artists from Skid Row. The goal is to help them rise above their circumstances through their craft and to showcase their stories. Don’t miss out on supporting Reese by shopping his capsule collection, A rose from the concrete.
Text by Shelley Jones