By Jack King
“Bollocky Simper” — the title means “a pure, nostalgic smile,” according to its author — is a traditional girl-meets-boy story. It’s even filmed in black and white with dialogue cards like an old silent movie romance.
Except that all the “boy” and “girl” parts are played by two young women. And there is that business about the angel.
The whimsical film, the work of University of New Mexico students Aaron Hendren, Eva Blaylock and D.J. Babbitt, was chosen from hundreds of entries to be shown at the Santa Fe Film Festival in December. It didn’t win any prizes, but it was seen by crowds of festival goers and its creators, like so many other young, independent film makers with their sights on Sundance, already are planning a bigger, more complex film, said Babbitt.
Babbitt is a Clovis native, a year 2000 graduate of Clovis High School. Her father Garry, mother Caroline, and brother Dallon still live here. Her grandfather, Floyd Goodgion, who also still lives here, is a longtime principal and teacher in Clovis’ public schools.
She’s a junior art major at UNM, but said film making is her passion. She met Blaylock and Hendren in a UNM theater class and they soon formed their production company, Kids on Coffee. Their first film together was called “The Vampire Clown Killers.”
In “Bollocky Simper” she plays Sidni Fishes, an innocent country girl who comes to the big city and falls in love with Truelove — played by Blaylock in a fake mustache and an Ace bandage — a sophisticated city boy who doesn’t know she’s alive. Blaylock also plays Jilly, Sidni’s best friend, a sophisticated city girl, while Babbitt — also in a fake mustache and an Ace bandage — plays Dan Jupe, an innocent country boy who comes to the city and falls in love with Jilly, who doesn’t know he’s alive.
All the lovers are very unhappy until an angel appears to Sidni and gives her the power to sing beautifully (an interesting talent to have in a silent movie). After many complications, all the lovers are finally united, except that all the lovers are played by Babbitt and Blaylock.
It’s a comedy. “Well,” Babbitt said, “I think love has its own comedy.”
The screenplay was written by Hendren and was filmed at sites all over the Albuquerque area with the help of an enthusiastic cast of amateurs willing to show up in 1920s-style clothing with their hair slicked down for crowd scenes and ballroom dancing.
Babbitt said she thinks it was Kids on Coffee’s ability to make so much from so little that impressed Santa Fe Film Festival organizers.
“I think the board was able to see we were young and didn’t have a lot of resources. We were able to keep things simple and that attracts people, because getting back to the basics attracts people,” she said.
While continuing to study art at UNM, she said, she also will continue to make films with Blaylock and Hendren. Their next film, titled “Albuquerque, Denver, Phoenix,” will be much more intense than “Bollocky Simper.”
“The characters are going to be a bit disturbed,” she said.
Garry Babbitt said D.J.’s family has seen “Bollocky Simper” and is proud of her.
“I thought it was great. You’ve got to be pretty industrious to do something like that on your own, when you don’t have a lot of materials and just have the will power to do it,” he said.
D.J. said, if she has any message for her friends back in Clovis, it’s to follow their dreams.
“I really want people to know not to defer their hopes,” she said.