I met queer Brooklyn filmmakers Alexandra Roxo and Natalia Leite last fall at a networking event for women in film. They’re disgustingly good looking, so it takes a bit of self-control to look beyond that (I’m talking porcelain skin and the most glorious golden hair I’ve ever seen up close) but once you do, it becomes clear that these ladies are the future of female-driven indie filmmaking. So how cool is it that they’re gay?
For someone who launched her career with a web series, I am not a big fan of the genre. Unlike most content I see online, their new series Be Here Now-ish provides just the right blend of humor, sex and youth-driven existential neurosis.
I admire women who put themselves out there and keep it honest and that’s why I wanted to interview these two for AfterEllen. In the world post-L Word, I’m looking forward to content made for gay women by and starring gay women, funded not by Showtime or HBO, but us via Kickstarter.
AfterEllen.com: What’s the show about?
Alexandra Roxo: It’s about these two girls in their late 20s who meet at a bachelorette party and bond over being the outsiders there. They both are going through rough times with love and their jobs and they end up going to LA to have a ceremony with a shaman and find a life change. Someone called it Eat Pray Love meets The L Word the other day at a BBQ.
Natalia Leite: I think that’s a good analogy, but I really hate that anything lesbian film related has be compared to The L Word. I think our show is nothing like The L Word other than the fact that there is lesbian sex. Maybe it’s also like Girls but queer and with less money, much more alternative lifestyles, and with a minority lead.
AE: Why did you decide to grace the internet with yet another lesbian web series?
AR: I’ve been tired of watching all these shows about women our age that are very, very straight and well off and don’t resonate with me or my life really. We’d been joking about wanting to make a show about our community and the absurdity of dating and sex and balancing that with trying to be healthy and spiritual. Then we were like “Who should be the leads?”
NL: Alexandra has done a lot of acting before, but not me. I was once cast in a lesbian soap opera play called Room For Cream and basically had to down a 40 every night before getting on stage. It made me really nervous. I’m always behind the camera, but eventually Alexandra convinced me that we should be the leads in our own show.
AR: We were like “Duh no one is gonna work for free/get naked/be weird all the time except us.”
NL: We both have other projects that we are working on but it takes so long to get feature films off the ground. I’ve been working on my feature, Bare, for years and now it’s finally happening in the fall.
AR: I’m directing a feature film next year about two girls that share a ride together from New York to L.A. and fall in love along the way and I was just getting a little impatient to make something!
AE: How did you two meet?
AR: We ended up sitting next to each other at this party called Misster at the Woods in Brooklyn. I was tipsy and blabbing to Natalia about how I’d never hooked up with a girl with long hair and lace undies until the night before. She prob thought I was a drunk oversharer.
NL: No, I was just happy to have a real conversation with someone in a queer party, especially on a topic I know a lot about. I’ll tell you about hooking up with femmes and straight girls if you tell me what it’s like to be with a really butch girl or a trans guy. I think that’s how our collaboration started.
AR: Sex lives aside, we realized we had a lot in common. Natalia is Brazilian. I’m half-Brazilian. We are both queer, and filmmakers, and the same height.
NL: We both made weird naked performance art films in college. We share the same shoe size. So, of course, we decided to be friends.
AE: Do you have any favorite lesbian films/characters on TV?
NL: Bea Arthur in The Golden Girls. I mean…
AR: I still think Chloe Sevigny in If These Walls Could Talk 2 is my dream gf.
NL: I really like My Summer of Love. Bad title, but the film is so beautiful and real. I’m a big fan of Natalie Press. Also XXY and Fucking Amal. Most of my favorite queer films are foreign.
AR: Except my first feature Mary Marie right?
NL: But of course!
AE: When it comes to hard decision making/disagreements, which one of you is the top?
NL: We both have pretty strong personalities so it’s hard for either to be the bottom. If we don’t agree on something we need to find a compromise that feels balanced every time. The Libra in me is good at mediating that.
AR: Natalia can be really tough at times, like a severe Brazilian schoolmarm, but we oddly easily navigate disagreements and are pretty damn honest about who’s good at what. Natalia does more techie stuff and I do of the Southern hospitality side to our team if that makes sense. I’m from Georgia. But all the big decisions are made together. Except what’s for lunch. That’s my decision always.
NL: I think we have a good balance of masculine and feminine energies. Not to say that I’m more butch. I’m not. I think I just like doing the stuff that would normally be considered a more stereotypical man’s job.
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