Teenage model Sara Ziff, documents her (hopeful) rise to the top of the modelling industry, in her self directed documentary Picture Me: A Model’s Diary

Using a two camera setup (the other by her boyfriend Ole Schell), Ziffs documentary takes us into the casting room, the fashion shoot, the runway events and even her hotel room in a attempt to reveal
an honest and cleansing look at the modelling industry.

In past model /fashion documentaries I have seen, the subject is often controlled by the content of the film.  Valentino as an example is one long giant pat on the back to his work and his clothes ,  The September Issue is one long advertisement for Vogue magazine.  But Picture Me: A Model’s Diary isn’t constrained by a company or promotional product.  Ziff is the product, and along the way she begin to reveals the highs and heartache of modelling in New York and Milan.

Interspersed through the fly on the wall documentary is mini testimonies by fellow models as well as designers and photographers.  And these are key to the film as they allow a narrative to form.
Although not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination – one has to give credit to Ziff for thinking ahead and shooting her journey.  
Sometimes it’s difficullt to feel for Ziff – her distraught at photographers shooting her backstage while she is changing is difficult to accept, as she relates the story while herself being filmed naked in a bathtub.
But her intent to reveal the seedy, dark and unprofessional side of modelling is to be applauded.

Do we learn anything new about the model industry that we haven’t read in magazines or blogs before ?  Not really. 
But occasionally there are glimpses in the film of moments that are surprising and confronting. Her revealation of the amount of money in her first paycheck is unimaginable.
Her father puts it into persepctive when he says ‘How does it feel to be out-earned by my daughter?  It felt great’.
To the viewer, it just feels wrong.

Picture Me: A Model’s Diary is on limited release at ACMI.
2.5 / 5 stars
[My #1311 film I’ve seen]

Screening times at ACMI:

 13 March 2011 – 5:30pm
 15 March 2011 – 2:30pm

$14 Admission
$11 Concession