Film and TV

Bebe Zeva, Internet Sensation Documentary, Screens at The Joanna This Weekend

On the surface, Bebe Zeva may be a run-of-the-mill online personality. But not everybody thinks so, especially MDMAfilms, who have helped the teen elevate herself over the steaming rubbish heap that is the blogosphere.

For the uninitiated, Zeva is a 17-year-old fashion commentator and founder of the I Am Carles brand. Apparently, she's no slouch at these things because Hipster Runoff recently dubbed her as an "alt-celebrity."

Big freaking deal?

Well, Tao Lin and Megan Boyle thought highly enough of her internet persona to fly out to Vegas (Zeva's hometown) to capture the teenager in action as she, in short, goes through teenager stuff in this newfangled age of social media.

"Bebe's writing and internet (and in-person) presence conveys a sense of self, cultural and existential awareness and humor that seems advanced to me," says Boyle. "Tao and I were visiting Las Vegas, knew she lived there and knew all of us sort of knew each other from the internet. We were both curious about meeting her and seeing what her life was like to the degree that we thought filming a night hanging out seemed like it would be compelling enough to make a film."

Documented during a single night in November 2010, the 88-minute Bebe Zeva was chopped from five hours of footage shot entirely using a MacBook Pro. This isn't the first time the husband-and-wife team have used this approach for MDMAfilms, which is the duo's vehicle for out-of-the-box filmmaking concepts. Their first effort, MDMA, was also captured with a laptop.

About the encountered pleasant surprises while shooting Bebe Zeva, Boyle, who is a frequent contributor to Thought Catalog, says, "The scenes where we sort of forget the computer is a camera and it's treated like a computer again seemed interesting to me as we were filming and now. Outside Urban Outfitters, a mass of drunk strangers rushed Bebe, screaming into the camera because they thought we were doing a live broadcast of something."

Now that Bebe Zeva is good to go, Boyle and Lin -- the latter who's more known for his hipster-tinged books Eeeee Eee Eeee and Shoplifting from American Apparel -- are currently working on two films.

Mumblecore, currently in the editing stage, is Lin's take on the low-budget cinema movement that places heavy emphasis on chronicling the relationships between twenty-somethings. Meanwhile, Heroin, a yet-to-be-filmed project, will potentially feature the two "taking heroin and having five-plus cameras film us doing work on our computers," says Boyle.


Bebe Zeva plays at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Tha Joanna, 1401 Branard. (Yes, Tha Joanna. Ignore the posters that list Domy Books as the venue; event organizers had to move locations after the promotional material was printed and distributed.) The filmmakers won't be there, but Lin, following the screening, will be in the Q&A mix via Skype.

Before the film, there will be a reading with writers from OH NO Books at 6 p.m.

Admission to all of this stuff is free. Visit the Facebook event page for more info.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen