Going for the ultimate in realism, Mette Bach and Brenda Robbins cast a pregnant lesbian to play a pregnant lesbian in their short The Other Mother.
The ten minute short, which was co-written, directed and edited by the duo, is a slice-of-life exploration of one person’s internal experience about having a baby and the stresses that comes with it.
“We hear so much about the great results of lesbian parenting, yet all the couples I know who went through the process of conceiving were faced with some of the biggest challenges and insecurities imaginable,” explained Bach.
“A lot of my friends are choosing to raise children and I was interested in exploring some of the stresses that might come up as a result of taking on such a responsibility,” added Robbins.
Playing the carrying mom, actor Tara Fynn brought an extra dose of reality to the set as she was eight months pregnant when the film was made.
“It was incredibly exciting to be able to capture her real experiences and emotions,” says Bach who also cast Shelina Manji, a fourth generation shamanic healer, to play herself in the film. “It was [Shelina's] first experience with acting and she had a lot of fun creating an exaggerated version of herself. As much as she is a powerful healer, she is also someone who likes poking fun at new age culture so there’s a bit of that going on in the film as well.”
Like a lot of independent filmmakers, the challenges the team faced to bring their story to the screen were numerous. For the production team of The Other Mother it meant shooting in a wind storm and always being worried about time.
“Besides the weather and the creative adjustments we made along the way for that, the time crunch for shooting the film was definitely a challenge,” explained Robbins. “Plus using an actor who was actually a week or so away from delivering her baby made our schedule quite inflexible and the main actor, Maria, is from Portland and was only in town for two days. It was now or never.”
That now or never attitude is what has made Bach and Robbins so successful at what they do. With Bach having won last year’s OutTv’s Hot Pink Shorts Award for her film B.A.B.S., they have extended what they call their own DIY dogma style of D.O.T.I. (Don’t Over Think It) to this project.
“We continued with this philosophy for Maria Callahan’s music video He’s Your Problem Now and for The Other Mother we stuck with our principles of go with the flow, use resources available to us, and always focus on having fun.”
And the fun is exactly what Robbins hopes audiences will focus on when they see the film. “Hopefully the fun and love we put into the film will come through on the screen. That’s the most we could ever hope for.”
The Other Mother
Screens as part of the 2012 Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Coast is Queer evening of short films by Vancouverites. Visit http://www.outonscreen.com for more information.