On Independent Film and Atypical Narratives: B. B. Araya, Director and Producer of Beta (2016)


This Friday, May 5, we'll join the Bullock Museum for a screening of Middle of Nowhere (2012), in partnership with their #femmefilmfriday series. This screening will be preceded by the public premiere of Beta, a short film created by B. B. Araya, an Austin-based filmmaker. We hope you'll join us!

The following is a written interview between #BossBabesATX staffer June Chee and B. B. Araya

How did you first get started working on films? What attracts you to film as a creative medium?

The greatest independent filmmakers say use what you have and make a film in your own backyard. After watching and being enamored by film for so long, I decided to take a stab at it. In 2014, I made my first short in my own backyard. I wrote screenplays for two years before I attempted to make a film.

Something about the chaos and all of the moving parts is what attracts me to it.  I also love it because it incorporates so many great art forms and if they marry properly its such a magical process to witness or be a part of.

What is something that you struggle with when trying to create?

I struggle with ignoring that voice in my head that's saying anything and everything to try and prohibit me from creating. I understand that it's just fear and if I push through it, good things ensue.

I watched Beta online on Issa Rae’s Youtube channel (it’s amazing btw!). What is the meaning behind the title?

Thank you so much! The title has multiple meanings starting with our character not being an Alpha female, but rather a Beta. We also featured a betta fish in the film which was symbolic for our main character. Like the betta, she is a loner who is not at peace with her reflection.  

What inspired Beta? What usually inspires your work?

Beta was inspired by my desire to explore what it might look like to speak your truth - despite any potential negative outcome.

My work is typically inspired by my experiences or lack thereof.

Do you have a usual creative routine? If so, what does that look like? Can you walk us through the writing process?

I love to write on Saturday mornings, but it's typically not up to me when something strikes or when I'm feeling super creative.

My writing process consists of me writing something and then reworking it all the way up to being on set. It's all about finding the truth.

So I saw that you are working on a film series called "We Are". Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Yes, of course! We Are is a narrative short film series that gives a glimpse into the lives of seven women in Austin. It stars Austin's brightest including Evelyn from the Internets, Ngozi Kim, Ronnita Miller from Beta, and so many more talented queens. It'll be released on the world wide web in Fall 2017. We are currently crowdfunding, so please donate if you feel compelled. It would make my heart do a happy dance.

If you could give a word of advice to all young filmmakers, or even to yourself 7 years ago, what would you say?

I would say make something! It doesn't need to be good - it just needs to exist.

(pictured: B. B. Araya with the Ava DuVernay, director of  Middle of Nowhere )

(pictured: B. B. Araya with the Ava DuVernay, director of Middle of Nowhere)

You can find everything you need to know about B. B. Araya at her website https://www.bbaraya.com/ You can also find her this Friday at the Bullock Museum's screening of Beta.

We hope to see you there!

Jane Claire Hervey