Cinema Perfecto Magazine - Issue 1

Confessions of a Video Artist: Crazy Things We Will Do For Art
By Alexandra Roxo

Making films and photos on a small budget can be a challenge. Sometimes it means luring your friends over for a nice dinner and then persuading them to be in your film or photo shoot. Casting calls and auditions take time and money, but if you have some good-looking friends, why not just use the free resources?

As I have matured as an artist, I no longer have to trick my friends. Now, people actually volunteer! But I am continually grateful to those who did demanding and often dangerous things for little or no pay, only for the sake of my art. Here are a few of my all time favorite moments.

Cold Feet - I decided to go make a Super 8 film with a couple friends in a Washington State forest in the middle of winter. We got completely naked and ran through a giant corridor of snow. It was probably the most tortuous thing I had ever done. After a minute of screaming at the tops of my lungs, I put my boots back on, but kept shooting. After a few swigs of Johnny Walker, things got a little easier.

Paper or Plastic - I once dared my friend to act in a film I was making where he would be naked and dragged through an alley in a giant plastic bag. To my surprise and delight he responded, "Okay, I'll do it for $40. " Interestingly enough, the nudity was the easy part. It was the handling of raw cow hearts dripping in fake blood that involved a good bit of coaxing on my part (he was vegan). My neighbors' faces were plastered to their windows as I wrapped this naked guy in a big plastic bag. (Note to self: When making abstract and gory experimental films, do it in someone else's neighborhood.)


Crimson Shower - The first film I made that involved public nudity was with a dear friend in a public park in Seattle. The film ended with her aggressively breaking a pomegranate open with her bare hands and devouring it voraciously while the juice dripped down her face and naked body. Of course since I was a newbie, I had not thought to bring paper towels and I had no car or cab money. Let's just say it was an interesting bus ride home.

Trashed - I asked my friend if she would strip down and get into a trashcan in the middle of winter for a photo shoot. Without any hesitation, she got in a Hefty trash bag and laid down next to the overflowing trashcan. Looking back, I think it was easy for her because she was an avid dumpster diver. But, I doubt she ever dumpster dived in the nude.

Vampiresses - Years ago, I asked some lady friends to come to my house. Some of them invited their friends, who had NO idea I was planning a photo shoot After what seemed liked 10 years worth of cajoling, but was probably more like an hour and a half, I had twelve naked women posing for a picture with fake blood dripping from their mouths, toasting a glass of red wine, which was definitely a key negotiating tool.

I am eternally grateful for the fun and brave people who have done crazy things for my art. CPM

Alexandra Roxo is a filmmaker and artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Her award winning feature film Mary Marie is currently playing at festivals and has been featured in Variety Magazine, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post. She also directs fashion films for designers and magazines and enjoys taking photos.

Alexandra's latest project, which will be part of the Seattle City Arts Festival, involves a very brave actress performing live via Skype for the gallery-goers in a private peep show booth. Check out her website for photos.

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