Writer/director Natalia Leite may be getting a lot of attention now for her debut feature film Bare, starring Dianna Agron and Paz De la Huerta, but we’ve been fans of Natalia’s work for some time. Along with her Purple Milk co-producer Alexandra Roxo, Natalia starred in the charming and funny web series, Be Here Now-ish. We got a chance to talk to Natalia right after Bare premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City to sold out crowds.
AfterEllen: So I am very infatuated with this movie. I say infatuated because it’s the best fit. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and replaying certain scenes in my mind. The rush of colors, the music—it gives me butterflies. How did the idea for the film even come about?
Natalia Leite: Well, it was the first feature screenplay that I ever wrote. It’s a story that I’ve been wanting to tell for a while. It’s not an autobiographical story, but it’s very much inspired by a moment in my life when I was figuring out what kind of path I wanted to carve out for my life and the relationship I had with another woman. Realizing that I could reinvent myself and that I could be the creator my reality, and how empowering that was. Sort of learning through that relationship gave me a lot of strength at times and brought me to where I am today. I think also the process of making the film gave me reassurance of that, like you can do this. You can break out of whatever sort of mold or path that other people have may have set out for you.
AE: It’s incredibly hard to get a film made, especially ones with queer leading characters, which is why so many filmmakers are turning to crowdsourcing. How were you able to make Bare?
NL: I had done crowdsourcing for a web show that I was in and I put together called Be Here Now-ish, which was a very successful crowdfunding experience, but it’s so much work actually for not a lot of money. For this film, Alexandra (Roxo) and I had actually met two investors of the film through Be Here Now-ish, and sort of established a relationship with these investors and came back to them with Bare, and they loved the film and put money into it. And then one person introduces you to the next person, so we raised the money from a few investors and it’s a small indie film. The pieces just started falling together and we figured out how to make it happen.
AE: So you did it the old fashioned way.
NL: Yeah the old fashioned way, and it worked!
AE: That gives me such great hope.
NL: You know I think a lot of it is trust, too. These people who put money into this feature, who invested in it, it had been a year of hanging out with them and talking to them about our project and building a friendship. They really trusted that this would be worthwhile and they had seen us hustle on other projects. That’s really important. Then it’s great because it’s this family of people who support your work it just keeps growing. That’s the ideal scenario, right?