Natalia Leite e Alexandra Roxo co-direct and co-produce work together, under the company name Purple Milk. They are currently co-directing a feature doc called Shooting Serrano with Vice Media and also have a pilot for Vice called Every Woman. Their web show Be Here Now-ish premiered last fall online. KNOCKOUT PICTURES is the division of PURPLE MILK dedicated to making fashion and music videos.
Was it always your dream to pursue a career as a director? What is your background?
N: My background is in Fine Arts. I went to art school and did a lot of drawings, photography, and films. It was always my dream to create stories through art, and over time filmmaking became the perfect medium for me to do that.
A: For me it started with acting. Though I love Shakespeare I soon realized I’d rather tell new and fresh stories and so I started taking photos using myself and creating narratives there. I realized film was the best way to tell stories to a wide group of people.
How did Purple Milk start? What are its goals?
We started Purple Milk after working on the Cuba Serrano documentary because we realized during that film that we work so well as a team. We decided to join forces since we both want to create work that constantly challenges ourselves to take risks, to be true to ourselves, and create stories that reflects our unique world no matter who weird or personal that might be.
Do you enjoy collaborations? What was the best collaboration you had?
I think the best collaboration we’ve had is this one! We’ve both collaborated a lot in the past but nothing has ever stuck. We have similar visions for our work and bring complementing skills to the table.
Could you please tell us something about Be Here Nowish? How did the concept come about?
We came up with the concept when we were both waiting for things to move on our separate feature film scripts. We wanted to make something personal that reflected the lives we lead and themes and ideas we don’t see often in the media.
Do you have any favorite, interesting or special movie you’d like to tell us about?
We recently watched Blue is the Warmest Color and were both really struck by the film. The story is simple but emotionally it is so raw and real. We are drawn to that realism, which is also why we like to incorporate a lot of improv, non-actors, and real moments into our scripts.
What was the biggest challenge in making Serrano Shoots Cuba?
Well shooting in Cuba was challenging because sometimes we were in the field all day and were so thirsty and it was 100 degrees but there aren’t groceries on the corner to go grab bottled water from. We were reminded of how many onset luxuries we have here in NY and LA.
What advice/tips would you give to someone who wants to be a movie director?
If you really want it then be prepared to give it 300%. It’s competitive and stressful and not for the weak of heart! But it’s the most fun in the world doing what you love.
Which of your projects are you most fond of? Why?
A: I think right now I’m in love with both of our main projects for different reasons. They represent different sides of ourselves. The VICE pilot Every Woman is raw and emotional and gritty and taps into a dark side we both like to explore in our work. Be Here Nowish is fun, silly, and a space where we can go far and really be ourselves onscreen.
N: I totally agree with all that and will also add that I loved making the TV On The Radio music video Million Miles. We had a lot of fun filming the trip sequence and it felt very liberating for me to be in that role, especially since acting is new to me.
We want to keep making work for the next 60 years! We want to continue building our company and brand, make features, commercials and TV shows. Do it all!
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/interviewed here?
We would love to see other video artists who use themselves in their work, like Laurel Nakadate. We really admire women who take bold risks and don’t play it safe.
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