In a time when feminism seems to be at the height of its latest wave, and platforms such as Instagram can make or break a young girl’s dreams, “Lady Hater” stands a good chance of stirring up some conversation during the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. The annual celebration is currently underway and will run until May 5th.
Alexandra Barreto makes her directorial debut with her seven-minute short. The film premieres on Friday, April 26, during the 18th installment of the renowned festival. After spending nearly two decades in the entertainment industry, producing and writing, as well as starring in shows such as “The District,” “Justified,” “Parenthood,” “The Fosters,” and “Mayans M.C.,” Barreto reveals a new side of herself with “Lady Hater.”
The initial inspiration came as an idea for a feature film, after the Women’s March a few years back. Barreto credits her husband, Rider Strong, for eventually encouraging her to pen the short. Her producing partner, Taylor Feltner then entered the picture, which inevitably led them here – to the Tribeca Film Festival.
“We all have the Goddess within, it’s up to you if you want to free her or not,” actress Natalie Zea says, in character, as she stands in front of a room full of women. Zea plays Premstar, a pretty instructor, who is teaching an all-female seminar on how to live life as a “Goddess.”The comment comes after Sam, a self-described “guy’s girl,” played by Allyn Rachel, attempts to walk out of the New Agey class. Sprinkled throughout the room, is an eclectic group of women; different ethnicities, different styles, and as we later learn, different insecurities. Some discussion of feminism versus femininity arises before Sam is tagged as a “lady hater” by the group, following her statement about not being into “girly things.”
Barreto pulls from personal experience, referencing back to a Facebook post, which led to some honest discussion about toxic masculinity and the role that women play in it. Once she opened up about distancing herself from other women because of her insecurities, the actress found that not only did other females feel the same way, but by talking about it, it unified women as a whole. On screen, Barreto taps into the same theme. She calls on comedy to help challenge people’s perceptions about womanhood and encourage authentic dialogue around it.
In “Lady Hater” Sam lists off typical “girly” things that she dislikes (going so far as even to bash brunch), naturally causing the women in the class to take offense. All of the women in the room begin to question their own lives, leading to the ultimate message: honesty. It’s not only about being honest with yourself; it’s about being honest with others. Eventually, everyone declares their faults, realizing that no one is perfect. The point is, that commonality should bring us together, not drive us apart.
The film leads with a humorous tone, as it examines universal ideas about outer beauty and who gets to decide what being beautiful means. In the end, we’re all just human. Yes, as women, there are a lot of expectations placed upon us, but mostly, we put them upon ourselves.
BIO: Alexandra Barreto has been working on sets for over eighteen years as an actress, writer, producer, and director. Alexandra’s directorial debut, “Lady Hater,” a short film based on her feature script will premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Alexandra’s first feature she produced, TOO LATE, starring Academy Award Nominees John Hawkes and Robert Forster premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was released theatrically in over thirty cities. It’s currently available on Netflix and iTunes. Past projects include writing and directing the first political commercial to air on Comedy Central. She produced, “The Dungeon Master,” which won Best Short at the Tribeca (Online) Film Festival, and Best Comedy Short at the Sonoma International Film Festival, and “Method,” written by herself and Chad Crone, which premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and was singled out as one of the best of the fest by the Huffington Post. Shorts International is distributing both films. In addition, she’s produced four short films including, “F*ck The Parents,” starring Pamela Adlon (“Better Things,” “Californication”) and Twitter sensation Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe”). As an actress, she’s guest starred and/or recurred on television shows spanning all genres from “Pushing Daisies” to “Justified” to “Parenthood” to, most recently, a five year run on “The Fosters.” She is currently recurring on the FX breakout hit, “Mayans MC”