Directors Dominique Mollee and Vinny Sisson document the eventful road trip of The Rebekah Starr Band as they travel from rural Pennsylvania to the Sunset Strip. Desperate to become a successful rock-and-roll musician, lead singer “Rebekah” packs up her life in small-town Kittanning and hits the open road with Estonian tambourine-playing band mate, “Annika.” With a strong feminist message, the inspiring My Way works well-enough to overshadow any amateurish qualities.
Rebekah’s theme of “struggling for respect” is apparent in all aspects of her life, not only experiencing gender discrimination from her own family, but lacking any support from her husband. Nonetheless, Rebekah’s passion and specific vision propels her into the life she desires – beginning en route to Los Angeles. Shot on multiple platforms, cameras follow Rebekah and Annika from city to city as they book gigs, chat up the locals, and sell the band’s merchandise. Weeks of footage is edited and strung together, with the help of narration by Rebekah, Annika, and their third band mate “Temea” (who stays in Kittanning with her husband and children) as they encounter typical drama fit for America’s Next Top Model or The Real Housewives. Annika doesn’t feel like she’s valued. Rebekah thinks Annika is attention-seeking. Temea is the peacemaker. Both sides of the situation are documented as tensions build between Annika and intensely-focused Rebekah. Much like a feature film, the drama builds to a climax as the band prepares for their first music video.
Although the footage is outdated (i.e. the world before iPhones, the beginning of Facebook), editing is what makes the film work. Logan Boettcher (along with co-editor Sisson and assistant Mollee) paces the film fast enough so the footage doesn’t drag. The constant scene changes, from the car to bars to hotels to multiple cities, keep you engaged in the story. Between the actual documented footage, the interviews from all involved, and the music, Boettcher saves the film from being redundant and makes it easy to watch.
My Way, referring to The Rebekah Starr Band’s hit song, acts as the anthem to the documentary itself. Rebekah continually reflects on her own life decisions and doesn’t care whether or not she’s pleasing people. She pursues her dreams, even if it means the end of her marriage to her less-than-supporting husband. Rebekah has a goal and she does it her way. That admirable trait inspires viewers to follow their own dreams – in their own way. Hopefully dreams that don’t require a week’s worth of driving.
Review © Brigid K. Presecky (2/26/15)
Photo: Rebekah Snyder-Starr and Annika Alliksoo in The Rebekah Starr Band’s music video
Absolutely! Only sporadically dealing with the relationship to her husband, the entirety of the film is based on Rebekah, her dream, and the journey with Annika. Their friendship – which has its dramatic moments, of course – is a fun and enjoyable experience.