Maria Millan is a London based Image Maker. She is known for her amazing storytelling in her editorials, normally charged with tension and hidden feelings that she manages to bring to the surface in a subtle way in her pictures found in Vogue, Huff, Complot magazine amongst others. Now she has done a film: A story of a women’s aid refuge where we find four girls living in an isolated fortress gatehouse: The Refuge. The film is a protest to the current crisis that these institutions are facing due to government cuts. It shows how women are being marginalized instead of being included into society.
One of the main characters is the model Demi Scott, who we know for her constant work at Show Studio with Nick Knight, her worldwide campaign with Uniqlo, her shots by Tim Walker and her catwalks for Fenty Puma. Lujza Richter plays Eva. Her performance is as poetic as the words of her third great grandfather Victor Hugo, and the amazing paintings of her dad Gerhard Richter. Even though this film sounds like a documentary, it is not. Millan doesn’t abandon her love for fashion and aesthetics and she delights us with a film where each shot is a still that could be found inside a high fashion magazine. She is in charge of the cinematography, and we see her play with colours and textures in a beautiful way in order to engage the spectator with the dramatic story that lies beneath. With an all female cast and a female director The Refuge aims to call the attention on gender disparity in the filmmaking industry. Text by Saskia Edward, BBC Reporter.