1. Viv Schiller and Germana Bello, Brazilian screenwriters, co-creators and producers of the excellent lesbian Web series RED (2014-). I read several interviews with you two about the series and what you wished to accomplish with it. I don't wish you repeat the same story again and again, however some of our readers do not know the story. Can you please tell us what the four seasons of the RED are about, what is it between Liz Malmo (Ana Paula Lima) and Mel Béart (Luciana Bollina) that is so appealing to lesbian and bisexual women all around the world: it seems like you followed a certain story-and love-telling structure: in first season there was an attraction between Liz and Mel, then there was desire for each other, after that was fulfillment of the desire and in fourth it was about trust and fidelity while acknowledging and engaging into a long-term relationship? Where the main idea for the the first lesbian-themed Brazilian story came from?
Germana: Yes, that’s basically how the story unfolds throughout the seasons. Additionally, I would say that Mel and Liz’s story is not just about love but also about self-exploration. It’s about being in a relationship that confronts you with questions about yourself, about who you are and what you really want from life. It’s been a long journey for both of them since Season 1 not only as a couple but also as individuals. So, even when they are going through that journey side by side, there’s the solitary aspect of it, and both of them have changed a lot.
Viv: It came from the idea of telling a love story that is genuine and, at the same time, realistic - one that other women could relate to.
2. What I found especially intriguing, engaging and with added value is that each component of the series, script, directing, scenography, music has an added value in itself: first there is a great love story, actresses have an incredible chemistry and their acting provide with the plausibility of their love story, visuals are highly artistic (through use of the paintings in the first season, through use of the occasional blurred picture in the second and the third season), music seems to tell or add another layer to the story, like an additional line of the script, directing is brilliant in a way that organize all components in a good composed unity and we get a highly artistic product. In this sense your series truly stands out and we rarely see it nowadays: how come you decided for such a highly artistic product for a webseries and most importantly lesbian webseries?
Viv: That only goes to show that we can have a low-budget series that is as creative as a high-budget one, regarless of its genre or content. But, mainly, we wanted to deliver a good story with the best quality possible - technical-wise. Also, the talent of everyone involved is something quite relevant and I am very proud of our team.
Germana: RED, like any other cinema or TV content, is a co-creation, and we were lucky enough to have so many talented people reunited to bring it to life from the start. Everyone in this collaborative process adds some kind of value to what we are creating and plays a part in what we have as a final product. As for the aesthetics and the artistic quality of the series, I have to acknowledge Fernando’s work. His sensibility as a director and as a cinematographer has a major role in what we have accomplished.
3. Do you think that sexual orientation of the screenwriter(s) or film director matter in a lesbian and/or bisexual-storyline, if yes why?
Viv: I think so, yes. Not only because it helps develop a more genuine story, but also because the process of creating the characters comes from a place of understanding.
Germana: Yes, I think it does. But, mostly, because LGBTQ+ stories have been told by straight creators for so long and I think it’s time for us LGBTQ+ creators own our narratives. On the other hand, as creators, I don’t think we should limit our stories to our own experiences. Understanding can also come from putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and empathize with what they go through being who they are. That said, I still believe it’s possible for straight creators telling good LGBTQ+ themed stories.
4. Do you think film art should be progressive and portray certain values and attitudes (i.e. portraying more diverse, inclusive, free, democratic relationships and world)? For instance, philosopher Walter Benjamin thought that art should be politically and culturally engaged; for philosopher Alan Badiou art is a production of infinite subjective series and experiences (which should aim toward creating peace), for Jean Beaudrillard art is nothing more then simulation, however. What do you think?
Viv: I think art has to be relatable. Doesn't necessarily has to portray values. It just has to be as relatable as possible.
Germana: I think art should be anything the artist wants it to be. If it comes from a genuine place, if it has some truth within it, it will have something valuable to state and add to people’s lives.
5. What are your experiences and impressions from Clexa-Con Even in April this year, you were the only international crew that attended it, how was meeting your fans? Why do you think you have such a wide range of fans from all over the world and how do you feel about it?
Germana: It was amazing and a pretty intense experience. We were very happy to, finally, being able to meet and really talk to so many people that have been supporting us. Also, ClexaCon is such a safe place for our community. You can feel the love and camaraderie all around. It’s really inspirational.
Viv: I wasn't there myself, but REDlovers are so supportive of our show I'm just glad that we have them by our side. We have more supporters than I could ever consider having. They're such sweethearts!
6. Can you tell us what comes next for Liz and Mel in the fifth season?
Viv: Can't. Sorry. Mel and Liz won't let me. :)
Germana: So, I guess I’ll be the one to spill some beans… Without giving to much away, I would say the journey in Season 5 will be more like a soul searching for both Liz and Mel. They will be trying to come to terms with who they are now after everything they have gone through together.
7. What are your biggest inspirations (film or not film career wise) and what are your plans for the future projects?
Viv: Tough question. But I really like realistic stories. I like scandinavian films, and I am a big admirer of people who are awfully good with words. I love writers. Best artistic category ever. :)
Germana: It was amazing and a pretty intense experience. We were very happy to, finally, being able to meet and really talk to so many people that have been supporting us. Also, ClexaCon is such a safe place for our community. You can feel the love and camaraderie all around. It’s really inspirational. As for the international feedback, we’ve always meant to create something that could resonate with people worldwide so I’m glad we've succeed.