Outfest: Producer Makes Directing Debut With ‘Anatomy of a Love Seen’

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“Anatomy of a Love Seen,” premiering Friday at Outfest and online the following day, had been percolating in filmmaker Marina Rice Bader’s head for some time. When another film she hoped to premiere this summer hit snags in the editing room, she told herself:

“Gosh, I’m going to make this movie and I’m going to make it in 30 days.”

Time and money issues didn’t stop the veteran producer (“Elena Undone,” “A Perfect Ending”) and first-time director from bravely forging ahead, the way the characters have done in previous films she made with her ex, Nicole Conn (“Claire of the Moon”).

“I made the entire film, including post-production for $70,000,” Bader says of “Anatomy.” “We shot the film in 5 days.”

The cost per day is “about the same as ‘Elena’ and ‘A Perfect Ending,’ just shooting in about a third of the time,” she adds.

Nicole Conn wrote and directed the semi-autobiographical “Elena Undone,” based on her relationship with Bader.  That was Bader’s induction as a film producer. Now, her mission as a filmmaker is to continue making lesbian films she believes her niche audience wants to see.

Her first film as director seems to follow a pattern—beautiful women falling in love and falling into bed.  One wonders, are the films she’s involved in a reflection of her own life?

Well, it’s complicated.

“The only person I’ve ever truly been in love with is a woman. I don’t know if that means anything. If I were ever going to have a relationship again—or even date, or even have sex!, it would be with a woman,” says Bader, laughing.

“Anatomy of a Love Seen” is the story of intense love blossoming before the camera, between two actors in an onscreen love scene. The couple is told they must recreate the scene for television, although they have since broken up.

“You know, I had a shot at true love with Nicole, and what I learned is, no matter how much you love somebody, or how much you truly on a deep cellular level believe somebody is your soul mate, because that’s what I truly believed about Nicole and still do, that there are certain circumstances in the world that make it impossible for you to stay together,” says Bader.

“Anatomy ” was filmed with a 15-page outline because, says Bader, there was no time to write a script. “We all knew the scene arch and all that. There might be a scene where we would be like, ‘we have to get this line in,’ but everything else [was improvised].”

By limiting the shoot to one location was a timesaver; having the crew play themselves also helped.

“We all had to be in character at all times because we had cameras rolling on the set … you never knew when the cameras would be picking something up that we could use.”

While this story isn’t autobiographical the way “Elena” is, there are elements of truth because of the way the film is shot.

“I really wanted to do that film-within-a film genre. I wanted the audience to go behind the scenes … into a world you don’t really get to go into it.”

The cast and crew of “Anatomy of a Love Seen” will do a Q&A following the screening at the DGA, 7920 W. Sunset Blvd. The film can be streamed online as of July 19 at  anatomyofaloveseen.com.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.

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