Alexandra Roxo and Natalia Leite, a Greenpointer and a Williamsburger who together are Purple Milk, know a thing or two about reinvention: for their web reality show “Every Woman,” Roxo (purple) and Leite (milk) take on the stigmatized jobs of women around the country (the pilot, for VICE, finds them working a truck-stop strip club). Their new scripted web series, “Be Here Nowish,” is about “two girls who are having a shit time in NY and go to LA in search of a spiritual awakening and new potential hot dates.”
That pilot went online yesterday via the Tribeca Film Festival’s new N.O.W. section. After the premiere party Wednesday night at The Jane Hotel, the queer filmmakers talked to us about their subtly funny, quietly outrageous new show, featuring cameos from personalities like Karley Sciortino of Slutever and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio.
Those shows have distinct voices and we love them both. Our show is about the things we are passionate about, the struggle of maintaining balance with love/partying/meditation/trying to be a good person….etc etc. And also trying new things that are looked at as more alternative or queer.
It looks like there’s going to be a lot of both of you in the show, in the humor, experiences, romance, and spirituality of the characters. So can you please give us a run-down of who Natalia and Alexandra are up to this point?
Well, the characters in the show aren’t based on our real lives, actually. But we do pull a lot from our experiences and our friends’ experiences and both of us have spent a lot of time exploring our spirituality so we bring that to the story. In real life we work really hard, are responsible, and both in committed relationships. In the show we are a bit more of a mess. (Which was maybe us last year?)
“Every Woman” is a series [where] we investigate what it’s like to “walk a mile in another women’s shoes” in a metaphorical sense. In each episode we travel to a different community and see for ourselves what it’s like to live and work in that community. With the show we wanted to investigate themes around sexuality and gender expectations, while also making something that is entertaining and fun.
We’re in the age of the advent of the web series, the good web series. And there are signs that the format is starting to gain more traction and relevance than its predecessors. There’s a Daily Mail article from 04/08 about how Yahoo! and Microsoft are searching out web series pilots by talented network veterans to host and invest in. But what’s rad about many of the good web series online right now is that they aren’t put together by veterans. They’re DIY but the upstart crews behind them make their very best finished product and then share it with the world. The latter seems to be the group you’re in. How would you say Purple Milk projects fit into this new era?
Not everything we make is specifically for the web, although we see how the web can be such an exciting platform for things being more immediate and allowing people to easily share and interact with the work. For the “Every Woman” pilot we received so many responses, tweets, Facebook messages from people telling us how much they loved the show. It makes it easier for people to interact with us if they see the work online and can immediately go to our Twitter with just one click, rather than seeing it on TV or in a theater.
For “Be Here Nowish,” we wanted to make something that we had total creative control over and that didn’t depend on other producers or a lot of money to exist. Today there’s no excuse for making something not look good. We shot everything on the 5D with a crew of three people on most days. Same with our VICE pilot — that was just the two of us filming and doing sound, and one producer helping out. It’s amazing that because of the Internet, communities that don’t normally get much exposure in the mainstream media are able to put their work online and find their audience.
It’s been super collaborative for us. Prior to our Kickstarter campaign, we had no money to pay people or rent equipment, but we did have a lot of great talented friends who were willing to take a few Saturdays to hang out and make something fun together. The show is a reflection of our community and every shoot was a family affair.
You’ve said in interviews that there are a bunch of shows about white, straight, well-off girls, but that you want to make a show that reflects your community. How would you describe the women you know in real life that channel into characters in “Be Here Nowish”?<
That’s true. What we bring to the table is that we are very DIY and raised all the money to make this show ourselves and have done it from the ground up. Also in the show our characters have jobs and are struggling. And our characters are both queer. If you want to know what that means, Google Judith Butler.
Purple Milk are planning on moving into production on a feature, “Bare,” this summer. For a taste of “Be Here Nowish,” take a look at the pilot below and the following three episodes on their homepage.