First-time feature filmmaker Rebeca “Beba” Huntt debuted the first look – clip from her remarkable coming-of-age documentary/cinematic memoir BEBA premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival. In the film, Beba reflects on her childhood and adolescence in New York City as the daughter of a Dominican father and Venezuelan mother and can be best described as “a courageous, deeply human self-portrait of an Afro-Latina artist hungry for knowledge and yearning for connection.”
“I carry an ancient pain that I struggle to understand.” So begins the confessional narration that opens Rebeca “Beba” Huntt’s remarkable coming-of-age documentary/cinematic memoir, BEBA. What follows is a groundbreaking film eight years in the making, which sees Huntt investigate the historical, societal, and generational trauma she’s inherited and ponder how those centuries-old wounds have shaped her. Raw and intimate, powerful and profound, BEBA is a courageous, deeply human self-portrait of a restless artist hungry for knowledge and yearning for connection.
Seeking to gain a more concrete understanding of her identity as a young Afro-Latina woman and an up-and-coming filmmaker, Huntt reflects on her childhood and adolescence in New York City as the daughter of a Dominican father and Venezuelan mother. After graduating from Bard College, Huntt returns to the rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment on Central Park West where she and her two siblings were raised.
Weaving together music, 16mm film, poetry, and interview footage, Huntt traces her life’s journey from her family home to the mountains of South America, where she spent youthful summers, and then onto the campus where she formed pivotal friendships and began to discover her authentic voice. As Huntt strikes out into adulthood, intense racial and political unrest mounts, leaving her eagerly searching for a way to forge her own creative path and to find her place in the world.
Explaining why she decided to make an autobiographical film?, Rebeca “Beba” Huntt said, “I was going through this existential crisis upon graduating from college—I think every human being goes through some sort of an existential crisis in their early twenties. I was graduating from an educational institution where I had lived in a bubble for a while. I had briefly moved back home to a one-bedroom apartment where most of my family members weren’t talking to each other, and the tension was palpable. Outside in the streets, there were echoes of the murders of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, and someone very close to me had taken their own life. There were these things happening around me, and I felt incredibly curious about all of them. I was like Whoa. Is this what life is? I exist within this framework of chaos, and it’s constant. How do I navigate this? BEBA came out of an intense curiosity about my relationship to being alive.”
Watch the clip from Beba