A woman who unapologetically does whatever she wants.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Caitlin Farrugia
Harlene Hercules as Bitch - Episode Cyclist
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Through comedy, I wanted to place a woman at the centre stage to examine this idea of being a ‘bitch’. That’s why this 10 part web series and the main character are both named ‘Bitch’. Each episode is a self-contained sketch where Bitch cracks it at someone for getting on her nerves and A LOT annoys her.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Come see ‘Bitch’ if you want to be shocked and potentially laugh. Also of course to support women in film and Melbourne independent cinema!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Part of the appeal of this series is that Bitch says everything you’ve ever wanted to say but have been too afraid of saying. We’ve all wanted to yell at a cyclist who uses both the road and the footpath, we’ve all wanted to bluntly admit that we’ve hated a gift, we’ve all wanted to tell a waiter to get our order right. Other themes are hardarse women and unwavering female independence – these things are relevant to the ongoing discussion about female representation and identity.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Harlene and I met on set of ‘So Long’, Michael Jones' and my third feature. She was playing this horrendous boss and that’s when I fell in love with her. We started sending funny ideas of this character back and forth until eventually we decided to make the series. I wanted her and the series to be called Bitch to reclaim the word. Women are called bitches if they are being bossy or bold or doing their job or speaking out.
From Harlene and my ideas came 10 snappy vignettes following Bitch. Part of her character is that she is relentless, unapologetic, quick-witted and fierce so I decided that it would be entirely improvised, there was no script. We knew what we wanted to achieve in each scene and from there, Harlene just let the other characters have it. We ended up with something far less tame than expected…
What type of feedback have you received so far?
I laughed out loud when I read this question! For Film's Sake is Bitch’s premiere. But I can speak about the other actors. Our cast included other funny people we knew, namely Kimberley Lisle and Robin Brown. They only knew the idea of Bitch and so when they met Harlene in character, I think they were fairly shocked at the beating they copped. That definitely worked in our favour though; crazier dialogue was born from seeing how far we could take it.
When we were doing big scenes with heaps of extras, every time I yelled cut, everyone would laugh. Not sure if it was in relief that Bitch’s rant was over or if they found it funny. Hopefully the latter. In terms of other feedback, I can’t wait to see what kinds of Youtube comments are accumulated when this baby is released.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Looking forward to finding out, but also quite apprehensive!
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Chatting with We Are Moving Stories is grouse for spreading the word about ‘Bitch’ so that people may be influenced to have a gawk at what we’ve created.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
It would be amazing if Bitch was to obtain funding and also a broadcaster to find home with. With funding we could make the series more polished and highly stylized which is the vibe we want to work towards. Being financed means that we would be able to live out all the other crazy stories we have of this character. And of course, a broadcaster means a wider audience and more exposure.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
I think the title Bitch sparks debate from the get go. The idea of how this word is used in a social context within our culture is interesting to examine. When used as an insult, it’s incredibly nasty. I hope this series challenges people when they think of the ideas associated with being a ‘bitch’. Why can’t a woman speak her mind, have a harsh personality, act vulgarly or be an industry titan? Why is she seen as a bitch? Our language and definitions are born from social milieu.
The main character Bitch is an over exaggerated, general perception of being a bitch. She is supposed to be loud and overwhelming because that’s what society has told us being a bitch looks like – we are making fun of the idea of being a bitch. Ultimately, I’d like people to develop a wider vocabulary when talking about women, not just reducing someone’s behaviour or identity to a single abusive word.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Harlene has a historical black comedy at the Melbourne Comedy Festival called Horrendus! The Bizarre True Trial of a Very Dead Pope. At the moment, I am in development with our fourth feature film that Michael and I have very good feelings about!
Interview: April 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
A woman who unapologetically does whatever she wants.
Length: 10 episodes
Director: Caitlin Farrugia
Producer: Caitlin Farrugia and Michael Jones
Writer: Caitlin Farrugia and Harlene Hercules
About the writer, director and producer:
Caitlin Farrugia is a writer from Melbourne who focuses on stories about human connection and social issues.
Key cast: Harlene Hercules
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): All :)
Instagram handles: @bitchwebseries @ohuniverse
Funders: Self funded
Made in association with: CF films and Blazing Arrow MediaWhere can I watch it next and in the coming month? For Films
Sake, Fright Night, Friday 13th, Addison Rd Picturehouse.