In creating the world of VERITAO we drew inspiration from the art of film. Film, at its finest, can be visual poetry and has the ability to transport the viewer to a different world. Some of my favourite works have suspended current beliefs and immersed me into the director’s vision – one with a different perspective or kernel of truth that then lived on with me well after viewing. We strive to create a similar experience, one in which we present an alternate world, a world where skincare is not only about achieving healthy, “aesthetic” skin but more so about a mindful, nourishing practice that facilitates calm, presence, and balance.
Our inspiration comes from the category of film called ‘film d’auteur’, where the work is an expression of the director (and writer) and their artistic personality. These works do not aim to tell stories in a traditionally consumable manner but rather how the artist views it. Through the tools of editing, composition, lighting, and storytelling, the artist constructs an alternate world with its own qualities and feel.
There is something deeply courageous and admirable and almost romantic to creating and sharing art that tries to articulate the human condition, unique to you. A similar exchange you may have in your daily life is sending that friend a personally curated playlist or recommending a movie or TV show you deeply appreciated – it’s exchanging art that partly reflects your identity.
When it rings true, this exchange can be powerful. Maybe that new perspective affects the way you feel about your personal relationships, or how you integrate nature into your daily life, or maybe even something as small – and significant – as the way you greet your own mind in the morning.
This adoption of new perspectives feels fluid and vivid as children – maybe it’s because we have less learned experiences, maybe it’s because we’re less sinical, or maybe It’s because we’re more courageous. I prefer the last option. As a kid, when I saw The Iron Giant (incredibly underrated animated movie), I felt rebellious and adventurous and ready to explore the seemingly massive forests in my neighborhood (I ended up settling for small walking trails accompanied by my older sister, but I took what I could get). When I saw The Lion King, I felt regal and ready to take on any fights that may come my way (I proceeded to try and fight my sister often, she was much stronger, it didn’t fare well for me).
As I’ve grown, the takeaways have become a bit more nuanced, but still impactful. The visual and narrative that sticks with you is somewhat unpredictable, you know it when you feel it. It sometimes feels like abstract editing that stitches distant concepts together based on a feeling or a time or a cyclical narrative. It sometimes feels like impossibly close-up angles on characters as they move through complex emotions, with each scrunch, wrinkle, and glimmer indicating an internal movement. It sometimes feels like a grainy saturated composition of a breeze making its way through tall grass at sunset – slow and meditative like – or rain clouds folding over a mountain of tall pine trees in a blue moonlight-soaked night. All evoke something though that sticks with me for some time.
Here are some films that have stuck with me long after watching, the list isn’t comprehensive but what comes to mind. I won’t attach any words to them, I feel it may do a disservice if anything.
The Tree of Life (2011) – Dir. Terrence Malick
Her (2013) – Dir. Spike Jonze
The Before Trilogy (Before Sunrise / Sunset / Midnight) (1995-2013) – Dir. Richard Linklater
Mirror (1975) – Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky
Breathless (1960) – Dir. Jean-Luc Godard
So – I’ll get to the point – what the hell does this have to do with a skincare brand?
On a stylistic level, I take a lot of inspiration for our own content from the visual storytelling of some of my favourite movies, for example:
- Editing for artistic style, not for reality – inspired by La Nouveau Vague, works like Breathless, 400 Blows etc.
- Editing for feeling and emotion – inspired by Terrence Malick
- Meditative compositions with quiet movement – inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky and Hayao Miyazaki
But, beyond the style, I take inspiration in these films’ (and others) ability to use visual artistry and engaging stories that impart some new perspective or truth in my own life. We aim to similarly impart a new perspective – one where skincare is less about pursuing an aesthetic (which can cause anxiety about your own unique qualities) and more an opportunity to slow down, breathe, and find calm in a nourishing, caring, healthy ritual. Further, a perspective where products are intentional, purposeful, and built to live long and well in your space rather than plastic-heavy, bloated product sets designed to grab attention and create want.
I’d like to start by launching two types of content series – and would like to hear your thoughts:
(1) REAL LIFE STORIES: Interviews with individuals from diverse cultures, age groups, and interests, we seek to delve into the nuances of self-care, wellness, skincare, beauty, aging, and other related topics. That said, this content will seek to be as fluid and organic as possible with the purpose being to reveal a slice of life, a glimpse into the unpredictable, colorful, and awe-inspiring stories from real people. Author John Koenig introduced the term "sonder," which acknowledges that each passerby is the protagonist of their own unique story, living a life as intricate and vivid as our own. Through the art of storytelling, we impart knowledge, just as our ancestors have done for generations. Each of us has a multifaceted narrative that is infused with learned wisdom that we can share.
Our hope is that by sharing these stories, our viewers will discover tools that positively impact their lives, whether it's a new mindset, a physical practice, or a way of being. It is humbling to remember that every stranger we encounter is the protagonist of their own story, and we must celebrate and learn from them. In our discussions, we will probe various aspects of self-care and beauty, such as what it means to "take care" of oneself, finding calm amidst a busy and anxious mind, changing the narrative around beauty and aging, and how our perspectives evolve with experience and wisdom. Is there anything we have overlooked? Do let us know.
(2) JOURNAL ENTRIES: Like the interviews, the topics covered with range from self-care, wellness, skincare, beauty, aging, and others. This style will be distinct because the subject will act as the director, like a vlog or a journal entry. As the subject controls the production, the content will be slower, more intentional, and more meditative. The ultimate purpose is similar, to share knowledge and inspire introspection. Through these journal entries, we hope to provide a glimpse into the diverse and multifaceted experiences of our fellow human beings.
So what do you think? What sort of content would you like to see us explore? As an early supporter of the brand, I would like for you to be as integral as possible – so shoot me a message, and let’s open a dialogue!