Everything you might imagine about Gia Coppola is true. She’s a little shy, (but very articulate, funny and smart), seems like a female version of Peter Pan, and possesses the kind of girlish ease that makes you want to be her best friend—during high school, with lots of glitter and pink iphone cases and re-runs of old movies. A recreation of the best kind of teenage friendship is exactly what is captured for Semaine in an exclusive short film featuring Gia herself.
Directed by her friend, musician and director Tracy Antonopoulos who also stars alongside Coppola, it follows the tale of two young girls who decide to run away to Disney World.
Shot entirely on handheld camcorders and the occasional phone, the film is full of plenty of humor, and a lot of experimentation. “I met Tracy through a mutual friend she was dating and after they broke up we stayed in touch. I’d just finished college and was working as a bartender not knowing what I wanted to do. A friend of mine was making a fashion film and wanted me to be in it but I didn’t want to so he suggested I make my own film and I asked Tracy to help me,” says Coppola. “She lives in New York and I live in LA and I wanted to do something creative. Tracy’s from Florida so when she said the rides at Disneyland are really awesome, we thought it would be so much fun. The tone of it when we were shooting was a little bit sillier. We wanted to be about two girls having fun making an at home video.”
Featuring Coppola with blonde locks and fresh cut bangs, inspiration came to the duo via Coppola’s favorite mediums—films, music, and books. “We were inspired by Ghost World and Wes Anderson movies and maybe Thelma and Louise. I’ve never gone on a roadtrip with my girlfriends, but I’d definitely like to.”
Old movies run in Coppola’s blood. Her grandfather is famed director Francis Ford Coppola, and her aunt is Sofia Coppola, who created cult films such as The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette, and The Bling Ring. Gia however, didn’t set out to become a director. She dropped out of high school before studying photography at the Bard College in New York, and looked at the film world with trepidation. “I was always a little bit intimated to try it out,” she says. “I studied photography which I liked, and film making was an extension of that. I was making short films with my friends and I saw that it was collaborative and fun. Then the fear dropped away because I was inspired and I felt good doing it. I love making movies because I feel like a lot of art forms can be solitary and lonely but I love the point when you’re all together and everyone has their expertise and you can bounce ideas off each other.” A few short films followed, made with friends such as Kirsten Dunst, including fashion films for Opening Ceremony, Zac Posen, and Rodarte.
Coppola is a fan of keeping things small. In fact, the more intimate, the better. Such was the case for her debut film, Palo Alto, inspired by James Franco’s novel by the same name. Coppola used the same crew as her previous, smaller films, filmed the main character Teddy’s bedroom scenes in Jack Kilmer’s bedroom (the actor who played him), and even had cast members stay at her mother’s house (she did their laundry). And in keeping with the family, her grandfather Francis Ford Coppola visited the set to offer advice. “My grandpa is always relating any business to the process of film making and talking about the craft and movies that he likes,” says Coppola. “My aunt and uncle have such amazing taste and I’m always so inspired by them and I’m always asking them for advice and their thoughts.”
Distance however, has certainly not impacted Coppola’s own incredible style and great eye, a quality she shares with her aunt. “I’m generally pretty casual and comfortable because I’m more focused on work, but I do get inspired by looking at style on the runway,” says Coppola. “I love what Alessandro Michele is doing for Gucci because it has the same kind of feel and approach about fashion as I do. That is, incorporating things you’re nostalgic for and combining them with what’s going on in the world currently. Girls on the street who are wearing cool and funky things inspire me. I like things to be a little bit more quirky, but at the same time I have appreciation for textiles.” Coppola’s style ranges from chilled out girl-next-door to classically chic to cool and eccentric (she recently appeared on the red carpet with blonde-pink locks and a sequined Gucci gown). “It’s always fun to dress up even though I wear sneakers. My friend has a website called Brownstone Cowboy so I throw on a few things from there.”
Inspiration also runs the gauntlet. Coppola loves old movies (you can tell she’s watched more than her fair share), but she also looks to books, photography, and music. “I love to observe and read and see other movies, regardless of whether it’s blockbuster films or art house. Photography books really inspire me. Trying to recreate things that I’ve seen—that inspires me.” She might seem shy, but guaranteed she’s always got her eyes open.
By Tara Lamont-Djite for Semaine