Director Q&A — Laura Madalinski

Rom Com Fest included a mix of classic and new movies that are diverse and representative of the genre. To better showcase the new films, we decided to do Q+As with the directors!

Say hello to the director of Two in the Bush, Laura Madalinski!

Laura spent her childhood in West Virginia, where she was queer before she knew it had a name. She studied film and video at Columbia College Chicago before launching a career in post-production. After working in editorial boutiques for eight years, she started her own company, Strange Charm, in 2013. She got her start in independent film as an assistant editor on the award-winning documentary We Live In Public.


She wrote her directorial debut, Two in the Bush: A Love Story, with her partner Kelly Haas. This film is for the queer community, for the sex worker community, and for the polyamorous and non-monogamous communities because we need, and deserve, love stories.


Favorite movie snack?

  • Hmmm, probably popcorn and a cherry coke.  :)

Favorite rom com?

  • I'm a fan of classics like "When Harry Met Sally" and "The Princess Bride", but I also love queer-focused love stories like "But I'm a Cheerleader" and "Boy Meets Girl". 

Where do you typically find inspiration?

  • I think the better question would be, where don't I find inspiration? Seriously, I get inspiration from everywhere! I watch a lot of movies and TV shows, but I also just love talking to people and hearing their stories. 

What was your inspiration for this film?

  • Most of the inspiration came from my own life. My partner and co-writer Kelly Haas and I really wanted to make a movie that echoed our experience and the experience of our communities. We'd never seen a romantic comedy that included bisexuality, polyamory, and sex work, so we wanted to make one.

What about casting? How did you approach finding the right talent for the project?

  • We were super lucky to have found Sarah Clark at Compass Casting in Chicago. She really listened to us and helped us bring together an incredibly talented and diverse cast. She even reached out to the local drag and burlesque communities so we'd have more authentic representation. Even though I had never before met our leads (Sarah Mitchell, Travis Delgado, Caitlin Aase, and Melissa DuPrey), I now consider them to be close friends and I cannot wait to work with them again. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and who was it from?

If you could have anyone (living or dead) watch your film, who would it be and why?

  • Again, this is hard! I can't think of any one person. Instead, I keep thinking about the people who've come up to me after our screenings and told me how much it meant for them to see themselves onscreen. Those are the people I really want to see the movie. Anyone who might watch it and feel less alone because of it.  

If you got the opportunity to remake a classic, which would it be?

  • I don't think I'd be interested in remaking a classic. There are so many stories out there! I'm much more interested in making movies that I haven't seen before, movies that only I can make.

Any hints on upcoming projects? 

  • Kelly Haas and I are working on a new screenplay. It's a horror-comedy where strippers save the world!