Making ‘Bare’: Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo Talk About Their Fantastic Debut Film
Making 'Bare': Natalia Leite and Alexandra Roxo Talk About Their Fantastic Debut Film
This weekend, our feature film “Bare” was released by IFC Films and opened in select theaters and VOD. We premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April and with the help of CAA’s Nick Ogiony quickly sold the film in the months following it’s premiere.
The film — produced by our company Purple Milk stars Dianna Agron, Paz De La Huerta, Chris Zylka, and Louisa Krause. It was an exciting time for us to premiere the film at Tribeca and weigh our offers. We knew we didn’t want to do a year of festivals, as most indie films do, and that we would rather get it out quickly and to the right audience and move on to the next project.
For us, our path as filmmakers has been about diversifying and continuing to make the work even against all odds. We are not the kind of filmmakers who focus solely on one feature film that may take 5 years to make, as it normally does. Instead we’ve managed to keep a bunch of balls in the air, which is not always easy – we have the second season of our web show “Be Here Nowish” coming out in November, we just shot a pilot for a new series for Vice, and are in the process of developing another feature script. It helps that there’s two of us – we are a creative team of two female filmmakers. Not only do we share the work load but we also encourage each other to keep going even after a bad review or a pass on a script or when an actor drops out of a shoot last minute. Making films is like gambling. Anything can happen and we just have to hold on to the desire for telling the story and continue making the work.
Although our distribution came relatively easy and quickly, the journey of making “Bare” as not been a smooth one. The script was written years ago when I (Natalia) was in my early 20’s. It speaks to women entering adulthood and reflects what I was going through during that transitional time. The script was first shared with producer & writer, Dahlia Heyman, who saw the potential in it and helped work through revisions. She brought the script to Derrick Tseng and there was some movement in making it happen together. But raising the funds was proving to be a difficult challenge and both Dahlia and Derrick had other projects in the works and “Bare” naturally kept being pushed to the back burner. After a few years of false starts, we (Alexandra & Natalia) realized that if we didn’t take the project into our own hands and push forward as hard as we could or the story would never see the light of day.
Dahlia and Derrick continued to support the project and give advice and support our efforts in making it happen on our own. We convinced ourselves that we could raise the money and produce the movie ourselves, even thought we had no track record to prove it. We had never produced a feature film on our own with name actors on location in New Mexico. It was a challenge but we knew were resourceful and could ask questions and figure out the solution to any problem. It also helped to have Rose Troche as one of our mentors during this process, and Chad Burris who is a local producer in New Mexico. The wheels really kicked into motion once we shifted our mind frame and believed that we could do it. Doors started opening. One person lead to the next and we managed to find private investors who believed in this project and in our careers as a whole. That has been a big lesson for us. To have so much conviction and passion throughout every step of the process and not let rejections knock us down.
Casting the film presented it’s own complications. We didn’t have money to pay for a casting director then and decided to continue cast the leads on our own. Through relationship that we were establishing with agents and managers, we pulled together our 4 leads actors. But it really all came together at the last possible minute and that was incredibly stressful. Everything was constantly shifting. In the end the perfect cast for this film came together. Dianna Agron & Paz De La Huerta were the perfect pair. In many ways, making films is like birthing a child that then grows up to become whatever it wants to become. We try to create film sets with such tight structures and schedules and plans, but at the end of the day we have to accept that we have little control at least on the small low-budget indie scale. So much of what ended up in the film was far from what it was intended to be in the earlier versions of the script. But it didn’t matter. The story of the script and of making the film was organically happening and that was all part of the process.
For more on where to see “Bare” in theaters or at home, click here.