July 19, 2024

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Aurelio Costarella short film set to spotlight his mental health journey and fashion label triumphs

2 min read

Everyone knows City of Vincent local Aurelio Costarella as a fashion icon, but not many know the extent of his mental health challenges.

A short film on his life is bringing this to light in a bid to show others struggling with mental health that they are not alone.

Perth fashion photographer Chantel Concei has taken her first step into film-making to direct the documentary, with renowned producer Kate Downie also working on the project.

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The duo were one of three beneficiaries of the City of Vincent Film Project — an $8000 grant helping local filmmakers produce a short, non-fiction film which “captures the essence” of the city.

Producer Kate Downie and director Chantel Concei. Chantel Concei
Camera IconProducer Kate Downie and director Chantel Concei. Chantel Concei Credit: Chantel Concei/Chantel Concei

The story is one close to Concei’s heart as Costarella gave her first opportunity in fashion — getting the chance to shoot his collections until he shut his label down in 2017 due to his mental health struggles.

“I was with him through that journey and saw him at his absolute worst,” Concei said.

“Seven years on, he has that lightness back and I thought the time was right to share his story.

“It is quite fitting really because I had the opportunity to work with him starting out in fashion and now he has given me the opportunity to direct a film about him. It has come kind of full circle.”

Downie said she expected viewers to be surprised at how precarious Costarella’s mental health journey had been.

“I think there will be a sense of surprise of how much of the mental health journey he has gone through,” she said.

“Also I hope there is an understanding that there is a lot of support out there.”

Behind the scenes of the documentary on Aurelio Costarella
Camera IconBehind the scenes of the documentary on Aurelio Costarella Credit: Alex Gibbs/Alex Gibbs, Alex Gibbs Alex Gibbs

“I just want people that are struggling with their mental health to be able to come forward and have that conversation,” Concei added.

“I think when somebody like Aurelio comes forward, who has this big profile and has achieved so much, it shows that just because you have achieved so much does not mean you are not struggling and do not need help.”

Viewers can also expect to see the development of Costarella’s fashion label, which started right in the heart of the City of Vincent, with plenty of archival footage of his collections.

“He is such a fashion icon in Australia. I’m really proud to say he is from Perth,” Downie said.

The short documentary will be shown as part of Revelation Perth International Film Festival’s closing celebrations on July 14.

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