photographer bffs wiissa channel the 70s with their dreamy super 8 films

Join the duo in Rio for an exclusive look at their new film about femininity, friendship and the girls of summer.

by i-D Staff
23 June 2015, 8:30pm

Meet photographers Wilson Philippe and Vanessa Hollander. Having first crossed our radar with their nostalgia-tinged Instagram a year back, it was their recent collaboration with Kali Uchis, on the video for her track Rush, that made us want to get to know them a little better. Only in their early 20s, the duo are all about creating their own world through their shoots, and aim to take you through "a time warp to a place and era you've never been before." While a lot of their styling is super 70s, they like to mix in more contemporary elements too, leaving viewers thinking, "wait… is this from now, or then?!" Despite the online hysteria for all things analogue, it's clear that Wiissa's obsession with shooting on film runs deep, and we're not mad at them for it. Here, the duo unveil their latest vision, Garotas de Verão - a short film set in Rio that explores femininity, friendship, not taking shit from exes, and the liberating confidence that summertime brings.

Tell us a little about how the two of you began collaborating...
We met when we were 14 and 15 and started photographing each other for fun, without putting much thought into the photos. It wasn't until we got film cameras that we started to pay more attention to what we were shooting - film forces you to take your time and think. We then started to incorporate other people in our photos, thinking about styling and locations. We taught ourselves film and photography, and since we usually do everything together, it was only natural that we would collaborate. We're together 24/7.

How would you describe the Wiissa aesthetic and what are your main influences?
We'd like it to be timeless, colourful, and happy! Some of our favorite references are The Rolling Stones, Jane Birkin, Serge Gainsbourg, Wes Anderson, Verner Panton, Godard, The Strokes, Manu Chao…

Documenting women seems to be a focal point of your photography - was this a conscious move?
At first we photographed our friends, who are basically all girls, so it happened naturally. Women inspire us and spark shoot ideas all the time, but for some reason it just hasn't really happened with guys yet… Maybe one day it will!

Your new film Garotas de Verão is set in Brazil. What's the story it?
We wanted to create a simple day in the life video about three carefree girls in Rio de Janeiro. So much media is America-centric, so we decided to go against the grain a bit by creating content in different languages and different settings. Vanessa's half Brazilian, so we were visiting her family there and figured it was the perfect opportunity to start. It's a little unfair that you have to go out of your way to find international music or films in the US, but when you go to France or Brazil, for example, most of the films playing in theatres are American, and a lot of the music on the radio is American Top 40 stuff. We're missing out on a lot of good content, and we should all learn to embrace subtitles. We made Garotas de Verão to give some insight to the dynamic personality of the mythical 'Garota de Ipanema'. Ipanema girls are always sung about in pop culture, but there's a whole lot more to her than her tan body and mysterious nature!

We love how carefree and unbothered the lead female is about her breakup! What inspired the dialogue?
We were inspired by that new-found confidence you have when it's finally summer. Summer's kind of like a fresh start, a time to become the most ideal version of yourself (or at least we always felt that way!). We were also really inspired by a scene in Le Mépris by Godard where Brigitte Bardot slowly says a bunch of curse words at her husband, and he tells her not to use such language as it doesn't suit a woman.

Describe an Ipanema girl?
Outgoing, a lot of fun, laughs easily and goes with the flow!

Favorite hang out in Brazil?
Every time we're there, we just go to the beach all day long. We love just walking to Ipanema everyday, and sunsets from Arpoador are crazy beautiful.

Your video for Kali Uchis' Rush is a particular favorite of ours. How did you guys link up?
We filmed a short video in the desert with one of Kali's close friends, and she found our work through her. Quentin Tarantino was Kali's biggest inspiration for the video; she's a huge fan!

What's next for Wiissa?
We're currently working on a short film about groupies, trying to turn the word groupie back to what it was when it was coined: simply girls who were with the group. We're exploring the more feminist ideas of being a groupie (getting what you want and doing what you'd like with your own body), while also looking into how they had a huge influence on the bands themselves. They were muses and did a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for bands that many people don't think about!


Text Laura Arowola
Film directed, written and styled by Wiissa
Starring Susanna Crestani and Pamela Esteves from Ford Rio, and Janaina Nilson from Joy Models 

Super 8
janaina nilson
laura arowola
pamela esteves
susanna crestani