Natalia Leite is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Since moving to New York, she has directed music videos, documentaries and short films. She is a recipient of the Kodak Grant Award, a Sundance Screenwriters Lab Finalist, and a Queer Arts Mentorship Fellow. “Bare” is her feature film debut. (Tribeca Film Festival)
“Bare” will premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival on April 19.
W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.
NL: It’s about a young girl who finds herself and her freedom by becoming involved with a female drifter that leads her into a darker world.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
NL: The story is very much inspired by a time in my life when I was deciding how I wanted to live and who I wanted to be. I didn’t have a lot of freedom in my teens and I felt like an outsider most of the time, but during that time, a series of events totally changed the way I saw my own reality and showed me that I could be the ultimate creator. That was very empowering.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
NL: Raising the financing, because Alexandra Roxo, producer, and I were doing a feature for the first time and it took a while for the right doors to open. There were a few false starts. Also, we were on a very tight schedule and shooting six-day weeks. Everything had to move very fast during production.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?
NL: I don’t like to feed the audience with one message because I think people should apply their own experiences to it and come to their own conclusions. I’m telling a story, not delivering a telegram. But I hope people will leave the theatre inspired, and that it could motivate them to make bold choices for their future and be themselves, even if it means going against what their community expects of them. For Sarah, the lead in the film, creating change in her life starts just by experimenting and figuring out what she doesn’t want.
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
NL: Don’t worry about being a female director. Just be a director.
W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?
NL: Not everyone is going to get it, and that’s okay. If you worry about that and try to please everyone, then your work ends up having no voice. So I don’t know what the biggest misconception is. A lot of people have been really touched by the work, and that’s all that matters.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
NL: Producer Alexandra Roxo and I went out to private investors that I had met through other friends or producers. Most of them had never invested in a film before, but they loved the script and the work and wanted to be involved. Alexandra and I literally just started asking everyone we knew and one thing led to the next and that’s how we got it funded. There was no studio or production company behind it, just us making it happen. We learned that it’s totally possible!
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
NL: There are many, but one of them is “XXY” by Lucia Puenzo. It’s a unique story that is told in such a genuine, raw and beautiful way.