Tom Sykes: Your new film Anatomy of a Love Seen is about a stormy lesbian relationship. Were you consciously trying to deal with the kinds of challenges that come up in a lesbian relationship or were you just trying to tell a story that happened to have two lesbians at its centre?
Marina Rice Bader: When it comes to relationships women are so very different from men because women have a tendency to engage on every level, if you will. The story is about how nobody can walk away from a lesbian relationship without this rollercoaster of emotions: pain and resentment and bitterness and compassion and love.
TS: Is it a story that’s therefore specifically aimed at lesbians or is there something for everyone?
MRB: I’m not sure if there’s something for every man but there’s something for every woman because even in a straight relationship women want openness and passion and communication and depth of feeling. I think all women have the potential to go where the characters in my movie go.
TS: Anatomy of a Love Seen has an intriguing film-within-a-film conceit. The two characters meet and fall in love while they are acting on a fictional movie set. What inspired that?
MRB: My favourite movies take me to a different time or place, to a world I’m not familiar with. So when I was writing this movie I wondered where I could take an audience? Most people don’t get to experience a movie set. I also liked the notion of two people falling in love at exactly the same time in front of a camera and twenty or thirty people.
Many of us go through a heart-wrenching break-up and we never get the chance to see or touch our ex again. So I was interested in what might happen if these two lovely women went through a break-up and then were not only in the same room together but were back in bed kissing each other. Would that connection transcend all the problems of the break-up in the first place? Would it be a healing measure?
TS: Most independent filmmakers find it hard to fund their projects. Was it difficult to finance Anatomy of a Love Seen?
MRB: It was a very short process. I decided I was going to make the movie in December 2013 and I had it completely filmed by the end of January 2014. We had a two-week pre-prep and we shot over the course of 5 days which is pretty nuts! But I really wanted to make this film and I called an investor I knew who put up the whole budget: $70,000. The financial restrictions forced me to be more creative because I had to work hard to give people a wonderful film with high production values and the best acting possible, but for not much money. Luckily I found an amazing cast and crew who were willing to come on this crazy ride with me!
TS: What’s your estimation of the current state of lesbian cinema?
MRB: It’s hard enough to fund an indie film but funding a lesbian indie film is very very challenging. Most people still view it as a niche market. When people invest in a film they want to know how many people will see it and whether or not they’ll get their money back. Personally I don’t want to compromise what I’m doing to make bigger budget films, but luckily there are a lot of people who have the same interests as me and who want to get these movies made come hell or high water.
I think we will start to see more films with lesbian content and mainstream budgets, although maybe not in the near future. I’m quite hopeful about this upcoming movie Carol, starring Cate Blanchett, which is based on the classic lesbian novel The Price of Salt.
But it’s a double-edged sword. If big studios start making lots of lesbian films that may jeopardise my company, Soul Kiss Films, which exclusively makes lesbian movies. That said, as long as I keep on trucking and stay passionate, it won’t matter who the competition is.
TS: Although our societies seem to be getting more and more tolerant, have you ever experienced any prejudice or bigotry against you or other LGBTs in the film industry?
MRB: I think the industry here is very tolerant. I feel so blessed to live in Los Angeles and to belong to the LGBT community. I had the luxury of entering this community at the age of 52 when I was already confident and didn’t care what people thought of me.
Now people know that we LGBTs are here and we’re staying here so just frigging deal with it! Get out your history books and look at the freedoms our Constitution guarantee us!
TS: Where can we see the film when it comes out?
MRB: Our world premiere is on July 18th in LA and the film will be available worldwide the next day on our website www.anatomyofaloveseen.com.