It’s not a coincidence that the feature documentary Love Etc. will premiere on Oprah’s fledgling net, OWN, this month, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. The film, from director/producer Jill Andresevic, was filmed over the course of a year, combining five very different stories, but all involving the topic and varying aspects of love. It may sound like a simplistic idea on the surface, but, as Andresevic, no one has really captured the reality of love on film.
“We set out to break new ground,” she says, “by making a documentary that explored what real love looked like, a question not typically addressed in either documentaries or Hollywood films. Stylistically, we wanted to create a film that paired the truth of documentary storytelling with the editorial pacing and visual style of a narrative feature film.”
The doc features characters ranging in age from 18 to 89, including high school sweethearts Gabriel and Danielle, whose relationship takes on an air of suspense as graduation and separation nears. There’s also Albert and Marion, octogenarian lovebirds who remain as enamored with one another today as they were 50 years ago when they first married. We also meet Ethan, who is straight and the father of two teens, and Scott, who is gay and the father of two infants, both on a quest to find new partners. And then, there is engaged couple, Mahendra and Chitra, whose lavish Indian wedding is the centerpiece of the film, but who soon find that the realities of marriage will change and challenge their life together.
“We cast individuals who had the possibility of giving us stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end,” adds Andresevic. ”We pre-selected ‘types’ according to several criteria such as stage of love, or age, interesting backdrop, and location.”
Andresevic kept the crew small in order to preserve the intimacy of the relationships and subjects they were filming. After gathering between 500-600 hours of footage the filmmakers discovered, though the common theme was love, there was a lot more to the each situation, or, as Andresevic puts it, “everyone’s love story has its own ‘etcetera’ that is particular to him or her”—hence the film’s title.
Love Etc. premieres on OWN Thursday, February 2nd @ 8 ET/PT. Check out the trailer here: