No Milk, A Film About Breasts: Melanie Abramov Interview

The year is 2036. Breast milk has become unfit for human consumption, and is heavily regulated by the medical arm of the US military. In this weird alternate world, breasts are repulsive to men and women alike.

This is the setting for New York-based director Melanie Abramov and producer L. Simpson’s latest project, No Milk. The film traces the story of teenage girl Sasha, who toys with the idea of going under the knife to achieve acceptance within society.

“What I want people to take from this is a true appreciation of our natural human instincts,” Melanie explains. “Some people will take it as a really entertaining high school story with a sci-fi distopian slant, some people will view it as feminist statement on the roles of women in society, and some will just enjoy it as a really fun story with lots of great tits.”

Having already put in about a year and a half of legwork, the pair is currently crowdsourcing funding for No Milk via a Kickstarter campaign. Ahead of their final pledge date of Thursday May 23, FRANK spoke with Melanie about a world with No Milk.

You describe No Milk as inspired by a dream. Can you tell us what this dream was?
In the dream I was 17 years old again, running with my girlfriends down the street after a long beach day in Brooklyn. We were passing 40s of Olde English, drinking, laughing, and being the rebellious high school girls we once were. As we were running I realized I had tan lines from the beach so I decided to pull down my shirt and run topless to try and get some extra sun time. The girls were laughing, yelling and telling me to cover up. I did not.

We then bumped into a few cops at the end of the street. They stopped us and started telling me to cover up and saying, "That's not right, you should know better." They even wanted to arrest me. But what I really remembered when I woke up was the feeling I had, and the disgusted look on the cops’ faces when I was topless, as though they hated boobs. I woke up thinking, “Wow that would be a strange world,” and later that day the dream evolved into No Milk as I rode the F train on my way to work. The dream is the opening scene in the film.

You also speak of No Milk being a conceptual art piece. What do you mean by that?
This sci-fi idea is conceptual overall and is not a traditional story. By "art piece" I mean the film though narrative will have a strong focus on the colors, beautiful shots, transitions, silent moments, and really experiment with how to portray the story's themes and the visuals this alternate world has to offer. We also will partner up with graffiti artists, clothing designers, and other artists to add some originality.

Can you speak a bit on the feminist bent that No Milk seems to lean towards? Was this part of your initial intent?
I'm a woman so I'm all for progress, but I didn't write this specifically to have a feminist theme, I visualized a story that was fun, weird, that involved girls, boobs, and an alternate universe. I'm certainly inspired by feminism and other movements. My ideas and beliefs keep evolving so I just let them guide me.

In the Kickstarter trailer, it references your attraction to bizarre imagery. Can you talk a bit about this and some of the weird scenes we can expect to see in No Milk?
All my work has really strong imagery that walks a line between sexy and disgusting, but seems to keep people intrigued. Something unforgettable, but not entirely enjoyable, either. You'll understand bizarre when you watch the grinder scene in my first award-winning short, Dame Factory. No Milk will explore some classic high school moments and will bring in the unexpected. We have all seen boobs but some bizarre visuals in No Milk will be the girls without breasts. The health class video explaining the new world will be an explicit montage. As well, you can expect odd behavior between the boys and girls.

In relation to the above, you describe your approach to film as "surrealist artistic style." Can you detail what this means?
I have always been a huge surrealist fan in art and film because it speaks my language. I like juxtaposing imagery in a strange way, showing the viewer something they haven't seen before or showing them something normal in a new, unsettling context. When you watch my films you should experience a new feeling that is simultaneously arousing, and hard to watch. My art installation Deflection is a great example of that. It's exciting coming up with new visuals and being able to share that publicly.

More from FRANK:

Militants Use Boobs As Weapons

Chapter 50: Brazil - Carol Marra

Melanie Abramov