Written by Sophie Wilkinson
Posted 02/11/2012
On the day of District MTV's interview with Zaiba Jabbar, rain saturates Soho's pavements, neons reflect in puddles and a creeping twilight pervades 4pm. This beauty-flecked urbanity is a prevailing aesthetic in film-maker Zaiba's videos.

Stalactite-like in edginess and cool, her short films balance music, art and fashion and feature everyone from Jaime Winstone and One Direction-esque models to large bearded men and drag artists.

Zaiba Jabbar (1)

Art Department ft. Jamie Winston

Growing up in Leyton, "proper" East London, she was enamoured with the scruffy high street. "Growing up somewhere that wasn't so pretty meant I was always looking for something to stimulate me," she says. "I also found that weird, crass juxtaposition of things quite interesting. Like a vinyl sign shop with a weird launderette next door".

Zaiba not only works with fashion brands including Vogue Italia, ASOS and Vice, but also niche creatives like Charlie Le Mindu and Fred Butler.

Aurally, much of her showreel is cut to four-to-the-floor, thumping electronica, highlighted on her promo for the 2 Bears' track, Work. Although she's a fan of this genre - "it goes with my aesthetic, being vibrant and stylised," she says - does she ever film without the music then get an editor to cut to it later?

"No! I've never done that. You can't be a director and not like repetition, I've listened to these tracks thousands of times. Afterwards, I need a good couple of months where I don't listen to it or look at it, then I can feel comfortable with it," she adds.

Zaiba Jabbar (2)

Winner of the Vogue Italia & ASVOFF Light Series Competition. William Richard Green AW10 Fashion Film
Zaiba Jabbar (3)

Fashion film for Asos Revive collection designed by Ebru Ercon
Zaiba Jabbar (4)

Fred Butler SS12 Film
Zaiba Jabbar (5)

The 2 Bears "Work"



Zaiba isn't big on name-dropping, she later provides a list via email, her inspirations include Lynne Ramsay, Tim Burton and music videos by Vampire Weekend and Kelis. She's keen to work with T.E.E.D., Jessie Ware, New Look, The xx and Polica alongside designers like Meadham Kirchhoff, Mary Katrantzou and Jonathan Saunders.

Much like her videos, her Instagram is set on a "saturated, lo-fi filter" and the inspirations she names on the day of our interview are her contemporaries, she is not someone fond of nostalgia.

Directors from Partizan, the production company where she is sometimes based, or from Central St. Martins, where she studied, all feature in her list of drawcards.

"When I was figuring out what I wanted to do, inspiration came from my peers," she explains. "I loved all of Saam Farahmand's videos, James Price's and Chris Kane's at the time. It was always filmmakers that were trying to do something new. None of my work is retro, and I don't like making things that are retro. I like to look forward."

As if to define the term 'post-internet', she adds, "My inspiration is the future, the modern world, technology. I'd like to embrace CGI in my films one day. It's that blurring of genres I really love exploring".

Keep an eye on the future, because it's a place where you'll certainly be seeing much more of Zaiba Jabbar.

William Richard Green AW10 Fashion Film, Winner of the Vogue Italia & ASVOFF 1MINUTE "LIGHT" Series competition! from zaiba jabbar on Vimeo.

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