INTERVIEW: Jessica Huras’ New Bi-Visibility Short Film, Bing! Bang! Bi!
Jessica Huras is a Canadian actor and filmmaker, and Bing! Bang! Bi! is her latest short film, which she wrote, directed and starred in. The film is a personal exploration of representation of bisexuality on the screen and is currently screening at Frameline International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, then at the Inside Out Film Festival in October. Find out more about the movie and Jessica below.
Hi Jessica, thank you for answering our questions today for Defective Geeks! Please tell us about your new short film, Bing! Bang! Bi! What inspired the story and the title?
The film is a bi-visibility, slice of life, comedic short that follows Morgan– a recently single, struggling actor, who is trying to navigate her sexuality and express herself amongst her oldest friends after arriving in her hometown for an unusual gig. I wanted to write a screenplay that was personal and meant something to me. My process was inspired by a scene I had observed between two exes who hadn’t seen each other for almost 20 years. By contemplating the fluid nature of relationships and love gone by, I started to zero in on what I really wanted to explore– the intricacies of being bisexual. The title is a play on the song at the end of the film. That Sophia Loren track really encapsulates the buoyant and slightly vintage feel I wanted the film to have.
What makes this film deeply personal for you? Does it reflect aspects of your own life? What was the most challenging for you personally while creating this film?
I identify as bi/queer, so I was definitely writing from personal experience. It took me awhile to really zero in on this topic but once I did, I hit all the usual roadblocks– fear of revealing too much, of getting it wrong, etc. I kept reminding myself that if the writing was truthful to my experience, it would likely resonate in some way with someone else.
How do you hope to represent bisexual people and the LGBTQ+ community through Bing! Bang! Bi!?
I think having positive, bi identifying characters on screen is the first step in representation. We haven’t seen a lot of bi representation in the media, so creating material that gives that identity a voice and visibility feels necessary in combating bi-erasure.
What kind of impact do you hope to leave in people’s minds and hearts after they watch your short film?
I hope they recognize themselves in the characters. If they can’t relate to being bi like Morgan or Sofia, maybe they learn something new or unlearn assumptions they may have had. I just hope the story and characters feel relatable in some way, and that their desire for acceptance and connection continues to resonate with the audience after the lights come up.
Why do you think bisexuality is often misinterpreted– not only in real life, but in movies and television? Which stereotypes or misinformation do you hope to challenge through your work?
I think it’s misinterpreted because there has been a real lack of authentic representation and positive conversations around the identity. There are so many stigmas and cliches when it comes to Bisexuality, it was kind of like, where do I even begin! The first major untruth I wanted to challenge is that being Bisexual is not a legitimate orientation – there’s this false idea that a person must ultimately favor either men or women, and that being Bi is simply a testing ground, or transitionary period on your way to becoming gay. Our societies’ obsession with thinking of everything in binary terms, was definitely the first and biggest myth I wanted to challenge. I also touched on that being Bi isn’t about being confused, or unsure of yourself, and it also doesn’t make a person more promiscuous because they find multiple genders attractive.
Since Bing! Bang! Bi! was your first film you wrote and directed– as well as starred in– what did you learn during the process? What advice would you give other people who want to make their first short?
I learned that if something really inspires you and means something to you, you should honor that feeling and pursue crafting it into a story because if it’s truthful to you, chances are it will resonate with others. I think taking your time and really sitting with a story is helpful, especially in the beginning when you’re still trying to find your voice as a writer/director. I’m so glad I didn’t head into production with an earlier draft of this script, it would’ve been a disaster!
Also be really thoughtful about who you approach in collaborating with you on your project. You want to find artists that really respond to your work, who share your vision and who you can easily communicate with. Filmmaking is such a collaborative art form, you really want to set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with a positive and talented cast/crew. I also think all new filmmakers should work with a small budget because it forces you to think really hard about every decision you make, often leading to more creative choices and nothing is taken for granted. Developing an understanding and appreciation for all areas of the filmmaking process will make you a better director.
Do you have a dream project that you would love to work on in the future?
Yes! I’ve spent the last year and a half co-writing a feature film that I’m set to co-direct with my close collaborator Kathleen Munroe. I’d like to get that film made! I’m also developing a couple other projects that I hope see the light of day. Other than that, I would love to act in other people’s amazing films.
Lastly, if you could be a superhero or a super villain, which super power would you want and why?
I would for sure like to be a superhero, and my super power would be teleportation. I know it’s an obvious one, but with the pandemic, I haven’t been able to see my family in a long time. I’d love to be able to zip around from country to country, visiting loved ones and friends who need cheering up.