anna biller shares chilling story of sabotage on "the love witch" set

“Some crew members seem hell-bent on destroying you and the film to make sure it never gets in the can, and will use direct subterfuge," the director tweeted.

by Hannah Ongley
08 December 2017, 5:36pm

Image courtesy Anna Biller

Before women recounting horrific experiences became the entertainment industry’s biggest story, director Anna Biller was taking on cultural gender biases in her 2016 movie The Love Witch. The technicolor feminist throwback exposed supposed gender equality through a Victorian-era lens. But it wasn’t just the on-screen events that revealed our society’s still-pervasive misogyny. Biller designed everything in The Love Witch herself, from the screenplay to the costume construction. And apparently this DIY approach didn’t go over particularly well with some of her crew.

In a series of tweets last night, Biller offered a pretty shocking anecdote about her experience working on The Love Witch. “Fun fact: most of the crew on THE LOVE WITCH (with a few exceptions) hated what we were shooting and did not even see the movie after it was done,” she wrote, implicating the assistant directors she had initially brought on. “It was so bad that during reshoots we had different ADs, and they were appalled at what was going on. ‘Your own crew is sabotaging you. Why??’ they asked.”

Biller described on-set offenses including location assistants pretending that they had been denied permits to shoot outdoors, and lying to her that house owners were making them vacate their properties. “I later found out the owners were totally fine with us being there,” she said. Many of The Love Witch’s scenes were shot in Eureka, California, where some crew members “were literally screaming in our ears while we were working that they forbade us to get the shots.”

Biller said that her experience wasn't wholly unique to The Love Witch. “Some crew members seem hell-bent on destroying you and the film to make sure it never gets in the can, and will use direct subterfuge,” she wrote, adding that other crew members flat-out refused to fulfill their job descriptions. Often Biller would resort to staging some incredibly complex scenes all by herself, she said — including, ironically, a suckerpunch-heavy bar fight where a group of leery men cause total havoc.

“I think they wanted to see me fail spectacularly to create my movie, since they thought I was an egomaniac in controlling so much of it myself,” Biller wrote to her outraged fans. “I think the attitude was like, ‘You think you can do everything by yourself. Well, see if you can make your film without a crew!’”

Biller stressed that her actors were fantastic, and largely unaware of all this behind-the-scenes ugliness. Speaking to i-D last year, after The Love Witch had been released, Biller offered some pretty telling comments about the male ego. “It's also that men don't know how to talk to women, so they express themselves physically,” she said. “This has to do with a lack of empathy and interest in what women can offer, and a genuine fear of a woman's power. Women cater to these deficiencies in men because they have no choice.”

We reached out to Biller and will update this story accordingly.

the love witch
anna biller