Lust Life Love


TYPE
: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Post-Production

LOGLINE

A star-crossed love story in the world of polyamory and sex parties in New York City.

SYNOPSIS

When polyamorous sex writer VERONICA falls for married, monogamous DANIEL, he embraces her unconventional lifestyle. But when Daniel becomes involved with Veronica’s friend MAYA, Veronica gets caught between the identity she constructed and a love that tears her apart.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Where is the line between emotional attachment and sexual freedom?

Lust Life Love is a narrative film about alternative sex and polyamorous love, with an unconventional female protagonist and an incredibly diverse cast. In the midst of the #metoo / #timesup movement, it's time for filmgoers to see a sexually empowered female lead in an unapologetic story told through a female lens. The story started more than a decade ago as an autobiographical sex and relationship column Stephanie Sellars wrote for the alt-weekly newspaper New York Press. The column and this film explore topics that were then and are still considered taboo, including polyamory, multiple partners, sex parties, BDSM, gender and sex as self-expression.

Lust Life Love is not only a sex-positive film based on the writer’s personal experiences – it’s a nuanced exploration of contemporary relationships. The story navigates the world of non-monogamy through three main characters: Veronica, the Anaïs Nin of her circle, immersed in open love but controlling with her partners. Daniel, a newcomer who goes from being cautious and sensitive to behaving with excitement that borders on greed. And Maya, yoga entrepreneur by day, hedonist by night. She lives for pleasure and pushes boundaries.

By placing these complex characters in a stylish, seductive world of hedonistic parties and negotiated intimacy, Lust Life Love not only shows people what it is like to be poly – for an hour and a half, the viewer is invited to inhabit the perspective of Veronica Willow, a woman who romanticizes her unconventional lifestyle. From script to screen our vision was to craft a narrative of real moments, through the talent and diversity of our cast, the raw energy of actual sex party locations and background performers from the sex-positive community. Throughout the process, Stephanie often revisited her experience, to ensure that every fictional moment was rooted in truth. In Stephanie's words, "It was my goal to make a movie that authentically presents polyamory and the highs and lows of a sexually adventurous lifestyle, not only because I find this subject fascinating, but because I have never seen it portrayed in narrative film in a way that’s specific, accurate, and honest." 

Although most people are unfamiliar with consensual non-monogamy, everyone has experienced lust, love, and boundary issues in relationships. Will Veronica’s story transcend the beliefs and lifestyle choices of viewers? One thing is certain: Lust Life Love will affirm, inspire, awaken, provoke, destabilize, resonate, infuriate, illuminate. Somewhere along the line between emotional attachment and sexual freedom is our audience.  

 

KEY CREW

Stephanie Sellars - Writer / Co-Director / Producer / Actress

STEPHANIE SELLARS is a New York-based filmmaker, writer, and performer.  She has written, produced, directed, and acted in many films, which have won awards and played festivals including Outfest, Frameline, DC Shorts, Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, and Mexico International Film Festival. Her first film, Twenty Minutes of Immortality, aired on IFC for three years. Stephanie studied film at La Femis in Paris and Columbia University School of the Arts where she received a MFA. As a writer and filmmaker she was awarded residencies at Yaddo and Vermont Studio Center. An early screenplay draft of Lust Life Love was a quarter-finalist in Austin and BlueCat Screenplay Competitions. She wrote, produced and starred in the web-series Lust Life for You Tube (100,000+ views). From 2006-2007 she wrote a weekly column of the same name for New York Press. In 2006 she founded Immortality Productions, which produces film and theatrical projects, exploring art, sexuality, and spirituality, and how the intersection of these things can bring about human transformation. www.stephaniesellars.com

Benjamin Feuer - Co-Director

BENJAMIN FEUER A Columbia MFA writer/director/producer, Ben's films have screened at Clermont-Ferrand, Outfest, Frameline, DC Shorts and dozens of other festivals, have been distributed worldwide through companies such as Shorts International, Ouat! Media, Mini Movie Channel and OML, as well as have been viewed over half a million times online. In 2012, Ben produced The Skinny (2012), starring Jussie Smollett (Empire) written and directed by Patrik-Ian Polk, creator of the popular Noah’s Arc series on Logo. The Skinny was an official selection of BFI London and Outfest Fusion, won Best Director at Outfest and is distributed worldwide by Wide Management. Ben's film and television writing has been optioned to major production companies and honored dozens of times, including 2nd place in Scriptapalooza and Top 100 in Tracking Board, and his scripts have been developed at Madhouse (Prisoners) and Maven Entertainment (Black Nativity). Ben has worked as a freelance story editor on projects including Being Mary Jane and A Dog’s Purpose (2017) and has taught film at the undergraduate level at Columbia and Curry College under professors such as Annette Insdorf and Andrew Sarris. www.benfeuer.com

 

Alena Svyatova - Producer

ALENA SVYATOVA is a New York based producer.  She started her career in filmmaking as part of the development team at Alumeta Creative, budgeting and packaging projects. Alena moved on to production when she was brought on as part of the producing team for Mad Women, which went on to screen in multiple cities, including NY, LA, Seattle, and Portland. It is available on Amazon Instant Video. Prom King, 2010, shot in 2016, won the “New Visions” award at Cinequest Film Festival, and is continuing festival rounds. Alena recently produced the fiction documentary American Trial, about the Eric Garner case, and she has several other projects in development.            

Sola Fasehun - Co-Producer

SOLA FASEHUN is a producer, writer, actress, and musician based in NYC. She graduated undergrad with college and university honors from Carnegie Mellon University with a BHA degree. After CMU, Sola moved to LA and worked under Academy Award winning producer Michael Phillips (Taxi Driver,The Sting) in Beverly Hills. She also began an independent production company: Fasehun Films. In NY, Sola was an Associate Producer on the first Broadway revival of Godspell (starring Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba) and was one of the producers of Broken Badge, executive produced by Academy Award nominated Michael Hausman (Gangs of New YorkBrokeback Mountain). In addition, Sola is an ASCAP writer and Executive for Danceaholic Records/Noizy Neighbors/Universal Music Group. She produces music videos, writes music, and coordinates TV & movie music deals for the label. For five and a half years, Sola was a Sales & Distribution consultant at Submarine Entertainment / Deluxe (Winter’s Bone,Tangerine). Fasehun Films assisted Submarine with consulting on many feature films. During Sola’s time there, several Submarine-repped movies received Academy Awards: Citizen Four20 Feet From Stardom, and Searching For Sugarman. Another Submarine film, Life Animated, was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award. For the last four years in a row Submarine’s films won the Grand Jury Prize at The Sundance Film Festival: WolfpackWeinerDinaKailash. Sola is a Co-Producer on the feature film: Fire Music, which will soon be released in collaboration with Submarine Entertainment. She has an MFA degree from Columbia University. Currently, Sola works at United Talent Agency (UTA).

Ari Rothschild - Director of Photography

ARI ROTHSCHILD is a Brooklyn based DP with seven feature credits including Cinequest New Visions winner Prom King 2010 and American Trial. He got his start shooting a Bollywood feature while living in India and he continues with the same playful and open exploration in all his work. Drawing on his experience as a colorist (Fort TildenAlways ShineBone Tomahawk) he brings a rigorous approach to the technical side of lighting and exposure, turning digital images into beautiful films. 

Ayelet Gil-Efrat - Editor

AYELET GIL-EFRAT is among the top-acclaimed editors in Israel, working on narrative feature films, episodic television, and documentaries. She was the editor of Israeli episodic dramas that were remade or sold for development in the US, including "Eagles" (HBO), and "The Children of the Prime Minister" (The CW). She was also editor of two award-winning feature films, "No Exit", winner of Best Film at Jerusalem International Film Festival 2006 and most recently “Harmonia", official selection of San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and others including Jerusalem International Film Festival 2016 where it won the Jewish Experience Award. "Lust Life" is her first U.S. narrative feature film.

 

Simon Taufique - Composer / Co-Producer

SIMON TAUFIQUE is a UK-born, NYC-based creative polymath: a producer, composer, festival contributor, executive and two-time Sundance lab finalist (Composer’s Lab and Creative Producing Lab). Simon has worked with director?s Mary Harron?, M. Night Shyamalan, and Grammy-winners Julian Casablancas and David Torn. He has composed music for several films including JESUS HENRY CHRIST for executive producer Julia Roberts. Simon also recently produced the Lionsgate/Universal film, IMPERIUM, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Collette. Simon co-produced and scored SHE’S LOST CONTROL, a 2014 Berlinale CICAE prize-winner and dual nominee for the Independent Spirit Awards. Recent projects include HORROR TIME, for writer/producer James Franco, THE INTERPRETERS, an award-winning feature documentary and ARE YOU GLAD I’M HERE, winner of the Audience Award and Best Original Score at the 2018 Brooklyn International Film Festival. Upcoming projects include producing duties on films including THE CATCH, BLACK DOGS, and ?PURPLE AMERICA, an adaptation of the cherished novel by Rick Moody and the upcoming romantic comedy series, I MARRIED A LEMON. Simon has been profiled by NBC NewsASCAP,  and 15 Questions as well as mentions in Rolling Stone, Deadline Hollywood, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Spin Magazine and IndieWire. Simon is a graduate of and upcoming Producing instructor at New York University. Simon is also an active member of the Producers Guild, a board member of HRTS-NY, a 2018 Trans Atlantic Partners fellow, recent juror at the Oscar-qualifying Bermuda International Film Festival and a regular contributor to theTribeca Film Festival Programming Committee.

Jay Lifton - Composer

Greek-American composer Jay Lifton grew up in the comfortable suburbs of New York where he was protected by his parents from anything bad ever happening to him. As a result he is now strongly attracted to projects involving the very subject matter from which he was sheltered. Currently Jay is composing music for the 2019 feature THE PLEASURE OF YOUR PRESENCE, starring Alicia Silverstone and Tom Everett Scott. Recent projects include the documentary GETTING NAKED: A BURLESQUE STORY, which premiered at Venice Days and later screened at DOC NYC. He is also working on IT TOOK 50 YEARS: FRANCES GOLDIN AND THE STRUGGLE FOR COOPER SQUARE, the story of how a small group of residents in New York’s East Village were able to stop the city from demolishing most of lower Manhattan to make way for luxury condos. In 2015 Jay co-scored the documentary LAND GRAB with Guster’s Ryan Miller. Directed by Sean King O’Grady (IN A WORLD), it is the story of a Detroit community’s skepticism of a wealthy businessman who purports to want to help rebuild their neighborhood. Jay also scored the narrative HOW HE FELL IN LOVE, directed by Marc Meyers (MY FRIEND DAHMER, APPROACHING UNION SQUARE) which premiered at the 2015 LA Film Festival. Jay also wrote, directed, and scored his own short film, TEST (2014) which played over 50 festivals worldwide and won four awards. Jay also wrote the theme music for IBM’s “Watson and Me” campaign (2015-present), featured in over twenty national TV spots starring Sir Ridley Scott, Carrie Fisher, Ken Watanabe, Stephen King, and Serena Williams. Jay holds a B.A. in music from Tufts University, and an M.M. in Jazz Studies from The New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Roos, Alan Chase, and George Russell. He was a 2-time finalist for the composer lab. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two sons.

Suzanne Barnes - Costume Designer

Suzanne Barnes has over 20 years experience in both the UK and US film industry. After receiving her BA in costume design from London's prestigious Wimbledon School of Art, she worked in theatrical costume design. Suzanne developed her taste for features in 1997, while assisting Oscar-winning designer Sandy Powell on Todd Haynes' The Velvet Goldmine. Since then she has designed many award-winning films including Dark Heartsand Where the Road Runs Outwith director Rudolf Buitendach, and In Embryoand Gutterbeewith lauded Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen. Other film work includes award winning Selling Isobel, based on Frida Farrell’s true story about sex trafficking. In 2014 Suzanne co-designed the New York thriller Never Here, written and directed by Camille Thoman, with a stellar cast: Mireille Enos, Sam Shepard, Vincent Piazza and Goran Visnjic. Never Heredebuted early 2018 on Starz and was released theatrically. In 2016 Suzanne had the pleasure designing costumes for actress Jennifer Morrison’s directorial debut Sun Dogs, a Netflix Original, with Melissa Benoist, Michael Angarano, Ed O'Neill, Allison Janney and Jennifer Morrison herself. Recent work includes a supernatural thriller Hexwith long term collaborator Rudolf Buitendach. Hex had its World Premiere at the 26th Raindance Film Festival. Another recent film, prison drama Clemencywas written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu, and Lust Life Love, was shot in NYC. Suzanne is a member of the Costume Designers Guild.  http://suzannebarnescostume.com/

 

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