Under the Radar: Recent Alum Ali Nasser makes professional directorial debut at New York Fashion Week


A Detroit Love Song

We are so thrilled to share our original fashion film "A Detroit Love Song' which premiered during #NYFW at The Roxy Hotel NYC. Featuring the new Fall 2016 collection, it also stars Tracy's hometown of Detroit. We are so proud of this labor of love!

Posted by Tracy Reese on Tuesday, February 16, 2016



When the reviews for the Tracy Reese fashion film, "A Detroit Love Story," started pouring in this week--from Vogue, AP, the Washington Post, The New York Times (just to name a few), the film’s director, Ali Nasser (B.A. Film, Dec. 2015), pondered on his Facebook page, "How did this happen?"


Credit retired CFPCA lecturer Linda Simmons (Maggie Allesee Dept. of Theatre and Dance) for igniting the spark. Just one month before the film’s February 14th premiere at New York Fashion week, Simmons sent out a call to her colleagues for assistance in helping her niece, acclaimed fashion designer Tracy Reese, bring her vision for the debut of her Fall '16 collection against a backdrop of her native Detroit to reality.


Enter CFPCA Area Heads Jeff Michael Rebudal (Dance) and Juanita Anderson (Media Arts and Studies).  Rebudal agreed to provide dancers and went on to secure dance studio space and enlisted assistance from Art and Art History whose studio space also provided a setting for the film.  It was Anderson who recommended Nasser to Tracy Reese as the director of the film.


"When Linda said that Tracy wanted to showcase images of Detroit, I knew that Ali Nasser was the right person for the job," Anderson explained.  "Ali has a wonderful sense of movement and he knows how to film Detroit. I sent Tracy the two short films he had completed in my Directors' Workshop class last semester, and the rest is now history." 


Anderson went on to advise the team at T.R. Designs (Tracy Reese’s company) on the project budget and necessary production agreements, while Nasser assembled his production team and began collaboration with Reese on the story and look of the film.


Tracy Reese flew into Detroit and, after a long day of location scouting with Nasser and his team, enjoyed an evening at the premiere of the Dance Workshop’s concert on Friday January 28th.  The next morning she headed back to New York to continue work on the collection.


Less than a week later Reese was back in Detroit with an entourage of models, stylists and samples from her new collection ready for the February 4-5th film shoot.


"It was wonderful to see so many of us come together to help make the shoot a reality," Anderson said.


Lending support behind the scenes were Patricia Moore, Jessica Chavez, Maria Paglia-Militello and Lynnetta Smith from the office of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance; Dept. of Communication multimedia specialist Kelly Gottesman and his MAER student staff; CFPCA systems administrator Gary Cendrowski, as well as a host of businesses and individuals from throughout the city of Detroit.


Nasser had just two days to deliver his first cut of the film so that the final collaborator, jazz violinist and Detroit native, Regina Carter, could begin composing the score for the nine-minute film.


The Valentine’s Day premiere of A Detroit Love Story at New York’s Roxy Hotel rocked the New York fashion scene with Reese’s unconventional presentation of her fall collection.


"I think we’re all suffering from a little runway fatigue," explained Reese in an interview with Vogue. "Doing the same thing season after season doesn’t seem relevant. This felt like the right moment to do something different."


Standout moments of the film include a scene in which models are surrounded by the movement of WSU dancers. Featured performers include Kelsey Chism-Lewinski, Britney Birr, Jessica Masse, Sydney Robin and Reide Beatty, with Jeff Rebudal in a cameo as the piano accompanist. At the heart of the Love Story is a model posed in front of an Old Main art studio easel. On it is a hand-painted note from a student, "I will always love you. Thank you for helping me find the life inside of me." 


"Tracy Reese truly understands and articulates the interrelatedness of all of the arts," observes Anderson. "I hope this is just the start of a new era of college-wide collaborations on innovative projects."




For interviews contact:  

Ali Nasser: m.nasser4@gmail.com

Tracy Reese (via Alyssa Jones: ajones@tracyreese.com