Inspired by this year’s Pride theme of celebration, Mette Bach’s B.A.B.S. is part of the sometimes quirky and hugely popular annual shorts program, The Coast is Queer, at the 2011 Vancouver Queer Film Festival.
Shot over what she calls “that super fun weekend”, B.A.B.S. (or Butches and Barbra Streisand) tells the story of a butch woman who tries to put together a Barbra Streisand tribute band. “Barbra is this huge gay icon like Cher and Madonna,” said Bach, “but lesbians are not supposed to like her. The film tries to explore those differences.”
Co-written with another local, Tony Correia, Bach says writing the script came easily to them, often times cracking each other up as they talked through the story. Armed with two hours of raw footage, the film has been pared down to its final seven minutes and as a writer, Bach knows the challenges of telling a story in such a short period of time.
“You really have to pare down to what the plot is,” said Bach. “There is no room for sub-plots. But while there is a need for a simple story, there is a challenge about seeing how much you can actually put into the end product.”
Starring queer Portland singer/songwriter Maria Callahan, the project’s spontaneity is undeniable and one that fits well with Bach’s intent of it being free of any lofty goals.
“Maria is actually a country western singer and I called her out of the blue to see if she was interested in doing a story that used Barbra’s music. She was onboard immediately. In fact, we managed to pull the whole thing together in about a week and it really was all about the fun.”
As a novice director Bach also points to the community aspect in making the film, something she doesn’t usually experience as a non-fiction prose writer.
“My writing can be a solitary endeavour,” she explained. “With this film I loved that it was so collaborative. Within a week it all basically came together, and since it was my first time directing it was great to be able to fall back on the talents of the entire group involved.”
With no plans to take the movie further at this time, given certain copyright issues the film faces using Streisand’s music, Bach seems okay with that fact. For now though she is simply content with basking in the memories of that fun weekend and in knowing that gay or straight, masculine or feminine, we all speak the language of Babs.
As part of The Coast is Queer at the 2011 Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 9:30pm
Empire Granville 7 Cinemas, 820 Granville Street
Visit http://queerfilmfestival.ca for more information.