artist derives his art from his life experiences and expresses his
life through the people he meets, the anguish he suffers, the
torment that envelopes his mind and the loves he endures in this
feature motion picture by Director Jennifer DeLia, titled “Billy
Written by Ms.
DeLia, “Billy Bates” follows fictional 30-year old artist Billy
Bates (played by Houston's James Wirt). During an interview at an
art gallery where his work is being displayed, Billy reflects upon
his life that inspired his current pieces. A movie about
nonconformity and the release of our social conventions, “Billy
Bates” takes the audience into the mind of one artist and his
process of anguish in creating his work. Billy takes you back to his
dysfunctional childhood and his interaction with his parents, the
people that affect his life. During
the venture into his mind and while roaming the streets, Billy walks
into a "do-drop-in" where he meets singer/songwriter Kaia
(played by Savannah Welch) and is entranced by her haunting songs.
Two peas in a pod, their love affair flourishes and freeing Billy to
bath in a deep psychosis and mental insanity that pronounces his
instability and artistic development. Billy enters a deep
rabbit hole of despair and sexuality that goes beyond the reaches
that Kaia can endure. All cumulating in artwork at a gallery. What
we see is art imitating life (or at least one persons view of it).
“Billy Bates” met the standards usually applied to moviemaking.
Sound was consistent throughout the entirety of the movie, lighting
was appropriate and moody, cinematography was creative and composed, Camera work produced
nice movements and angles, color
was graded evenly with no shocking washouts, editing was pacing,
transition were seamless and moved nicely from scene to scene,
soundtrack complimented and set the tone for the movie, makeup and
hair was outstanding, set-designed developed the characters, locations
were interesting, acting superbly done and directing
outstanding. As a whole, the movie was excellently created and
well-made. Not bad for Jennifer DeLia's directorial feature project.
Bates" was an expansion of a short 2008 movie titled "I Am
An Island" that played in Cannes, London, New York and Los
After the Texas
(upstairs theatre) at the Landmark River Oaks Theater, Tuesday
night, November 11th, 2014, we had the opportunity to hear some of
the feedback from some of the audience viewers that were NOT
associated with the project. (The theater was filled with family and
friends) And, although they agreed with our assessment of the
production quality of this feature motion picture (stated above)
their assessment of the story being told differed quite a bit from
those that were, indeed, associated with film. The most common
expression was that of confusion. Apparently, the movie bounces
around in time quite a bit and exhibiting, as one would refer to as,
an acid-trip with a convoluted sense of self.
Jennifer DeLia, Julie Pachino, Robert MacCready, Steven Kaplan and
Ron Stein, our particular view of the story was one of amazement. Objectively,
the story had a beginning, middle and end. The underlying story
being told from the perspective of a narrator (or interviewer) who
is gaining some insight into who this artist is that is displaying
his art in their gallery. Mingled in between Billy's interview are
snapshots of his past, a reminder of the development of his eventual
and inevitable works of art. What we are viewing is a
"process" of creativity that one artist lives and
experiences in order to express what he sees or feels on canvass. Of
course, to the detriment of his sanity and introspective search for
self and love. We didn't have a hard time following the story
from opening to ending credits. However, to say that the movie was
not a depiction of a drug-induced
trip into delirium and only mentally induced insanity without heroin
or acid is a question left to the viewer. "Billy Bates"
reminds me of some nights at Studio 54 in the late 70's and the
likes of artist Andy Warhol, among others.
two principal actors
James Wirt and Savannah Welch (playing artist Bill Bates and
singer/songwriter Kaia) did an amazing job with their respective
characters. Mr. Wirt was a natural in displaying his emotional
upheavals and his quest for creative juxtaposition. Director
Jennifer DeLia was able to get the most convincing character of
Billy through this dynamic and talented actor, Mr. James Wirt. In
fact, even though, the movie was released for the festival circuit a
year previously, James seemed to still be in "character"
at the Texas Premiere (it was not a reach for him to portray his
character Billy Bates). Also, Actress Savannah Welch was equally
talented and natural as her character "Kaia" but not
surprising. Ms. Welch is a successful singer/songwriter in the group
"The Trishas". Not only a talented actress and singer/songwriter
Savannah is also the composer and performer of the songs in the
impressions of "Billy Bates":
Personally, we thought the movie was interesting. Although dark in
its theme, "Billy Bates" is a trip to watch. We thought it
was easy to follow, despite the jumps in time and the voyage into despair
and the artists torment. But, we believe that the writer/director is
delivering to an audience and the viewer a creative process that one
particular artist will experience in order to develop his art and to
find his art.
Watch the movie for yourself, but we think you will enjoy it and
best of all...talk about it.
News & Entertainment Magazine was invited to the Texas Premiere
screening of "Billy Bates" at the Landmark River
the TSIRS scale we rated the movie as a strong 4.6 out of 5 stars
Premiere: Houston, Texas, Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at the
Landmark River Oaks Theater.
time: Approximately 83-minutes
Companies: Clayhead Pictures, Four of a Kind Productions, RainStrom
Entertainment, Poverty Row Entertainment
DeLia, Julie Pachino, Robert MacCready, and Ron Stein
Producers: Edward Jacobson, Steven Kaplan and Said Zahraoui
Producer: David Miller, Rosa Ganguzza
by: Jennifer DeLia
by: Jennifer Delia
by: Aaron Kinsley-Brooks, Daron Murphy, James Robertson and Ryan
by: Salvador Bolivar and Mike Washlesky
by: Luis Ascanio, Barry Farrell and Matt Garner
Lisa Choi, Tara Cooper and Laura Jefferson
design by Christopher Stull
by: Anya Taraboulsy
Supervisor: Michael Kurtz
James Wirt, Savannah Welch, Josephine de La Baume, Liz Foster, Heidi
Hite, Bob Juergens, Frank Linsalata, Jack Metzger, Kelly Mickwee,
Margherita Missoni, Edwin Sean Patterson, Emmy Robbin, R.L. Sparks,
Zoe Twitt and Jamie Wilson.
H.Luna/C47Houston November 13th, 2014. All rights reserved.