"There were no teachers and no instructional books at the time. I actually asked the saw player to give me a lesson, but he refused. He told me to get a handsaw (from a hardware store), imitate what I remember him doing on stage, and figure it out."
Since figuring it out, Natalia has found her niche audience in film and has made a life out of playing what she loves. She's been in almost a dozen indie and big budget productions.
Her first feature was in the 2002 film Dummy with Adrien Brody.
"It is the only movie in which you can see me on screen and not just hear me. They made me wear a horrible pink dress, but Adrien Brody was real nice to talk with. Other movies followed in which you can hear my saw: I Sell the Dead, American Carny, Carnaval de Sodoma, etc., as well as many documentaries such as Bend & Bow.
Natalia also plays the saw in the 2012 Sci-Fi Sundance winner, Another Earth. "Mike Cahill came across me in the subway and liked what he heard so much, he wrote my scene into the film."
"He sent me the script along with an eloquent description of what he wanted the music to convey. Just by his e-mail I knew his film was bound to be great because the man writes like a poet! We recorded a sketch of it in my living room, with one cheap microphone and me sight-reading the sheet music. Mike loved it so much, he said he couldn't stop listening to it and that demo is what you hear in the movie. He thought it was perfect--low-tech and all! I had a session with actor William Mapother, where I had to do something I've never done in my life: I usually teach people how to play the saw, but here I had to teach him how to pretend to play the saw. We filmed the scene in two segments. First we filmed William, "playing" on stage. In the movie it seems as if he is looking at Britt, but in reality Britt wasn't even there; he was looking at me miming directions to him."
What's next for Natalia besides continuing to perform notes that I personally equate with an exquisitely beautiful weeping woman? An assortment of things including a musical cameo in the new Richard Gere film Time out of Mind, now in post production and a musical vignette in a documentary short by Jenny Schweitzer.