Lust Life Love: A woman’s journey into modern Polyamory Romance

When a bisexual, polyamorous sex blogger falls madly in love with a monogamous man, she must confront the fact that she is not as sexually liberated as she thought.

Arts Movies & Television Brian Webb

This article was published on February 12th, 2022

What if you fell in love with someone who challenged everything you thought you knew about yourself? What if they made you question your most fundamental beliefs and values and forced you to re-examine your entire way of life?

That’s the premise of Lust Life Love, a new film that explores the sex-positive world of polyamorous relationships. 

The film, a feature directorial debut of co-directors Stephanie Sellars and Benjamin Feuer, is based on Sellars’s personal experiences with polyamorous relationships. It highlights how the bisexual, polyamorous sex blogger falls in love with a monogamous man but later comes to terms with her own identity as she explores life outside of monogamy.

The movie centers on the lifestyle challenges between three people — Veronica (Sellars), unhappily married (monogamous) realtor, Daniel, played by Jake Choi (ABC’s Single Parents & American Housewife), and free-spirited Maya, played by Makeda Declet (Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, House Of Payne, Being Mary Jane).

While it’s easy to focus on the sexual nature of their relationship or the atypical nature of their living arrangement, the film explores deeper themes like emotional connection and honesty.

Candid and uninhibited

Sellars, who plays lead character ‘Veronica’ in the film, has been a chronicler of and participant in New York’sLGBTQ+ community since her inaugural “Lust Life” column for The New York Press. Curious, candid, and uninhibited, she bares far more than skin in her semi-autobiographical portrayal of Veronica in Lust Life Love.

As a thirty-something bisexual blogger in NYC, Veronica Willow has it all: girlfriend Joanne, lover Pedro, an array of intriguing friends and strangers she enjoys at sex parties. Her life is not as simple as it seems, however. 

As her best friend Maya speaks out about her polyamorous lifestyle and reveals that she’s been seeing a married man for years now, Veronica can’t help but feel caught in the middle. She had always found herself incredibly attracted to Daniel, a normal guy with an “ordinary” marriage, until the day he confessed his attraction for her, which complicates things.

After Veronica’s other relationships drop away and Daniel gets divorced from his wife Andrea, she attempts to cultivate a triad relationship with him and Maya, but unexpected jealousy causes her heart and identity to turn inside out. 

Is this really what Veronica wants? Can she truly be polyamorous if she’s jealous when most people would be satisfied? And is Daniel really looking for something other than a typical marriage? Will either of them discover what they truly need with each other?

Sexual openness

In her film, Sellars aims to explore the history of monogamy and sexual norms as they relate to love and desire while also spotlighting real-life couples with different levels of sexual openness.

“My goal was to make a movie that authentically presents polyamory and the highs and lows of a sexually adventurous lifestyle. Not only because I find this subject fascinating, but because I have never seen it portrayed in a narrative film in a way that is specific, accurate, and honest,” said Sellars.

Co-director Feuer concurs with Stellars’ sentiments, adding: “From script to screen, our vision was to craft a narrative of real moments through the talent and diversity of our cast, the raw energy of actual sex party locations, and background performers from the sex-positive community. Throughout the process, Stephanie often revisited her experience to ensure that every moment was rooted in truth.”

Following the virtual premiere in February 2021 at the Berlin Independent Film Festival, where it won Best Romance Feature, Lust Life Love was acquired by 1091, the global distribution partner and platform for film and television creators and content providers. 

The film later bagged several awards including the ‘Most Watched Film’ at the New Renaissance Film Festival, ‘Best LGBTQ Feature’ at Queens World Film Festival, and the ‘Freedom Award’ at FilmOut San Diego LGBTQ Film Festival.

Stephanie Sellars was a graduate film student at Columbia University when she started writing the screenplay for Lust Life Love. She was working on it with the help of co-director Feuer, whom she met at the time.

The film was shot almost entirely in Manhattan and Brooklyn with a creative team that includes director Stephanie Sellars, co-director Alena Svyatova, producer Sola Fasehun, cinematographer Ari Rothschild, editor Ayelet Gil-Efrat, composers Jay Lifton and Simon Taufique, producers Yael Leventhal and Minoo Perlmutter and supervising sound editor Zach Djanikian.

Watch the Lust Life Love trailer:

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