The film must go on

Cancer couldn't stop Barbara Troy from making her first movie

By Chris Azzopardi

The same week Barbara Troy got the go-ahead from the state on her short film, she also received some bad news: She had breast cancer. But that didn't stop the Pleasant Ridge resident from shooting "Best Girlfriends," her mini movie that's part of Lunafest - a local film festival of shorts by, for and about women that fittingly benefits the Breast Cancer Fund.

"I've been wanting to make films for a long time," Troy says. "I've been writing for years, but it's just been very hard to get funding. With this particular film, I wrote it a year or so ago as a feature and it was much better than some of the other things I had written. I just had been sticking to this (project), trying to get some interest in it."

Now that it's found a venue, the short will screen during Lunafest at 6 p.m. April 21 and 4 p.m. April 25 at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak. At the core of Troy's 10-minute directorial debut, filmed in November over three days around the metro Detroit area, are two women who fall in love within 24 hours on Halloween. That it's about lesbians - in this case, ones with a rebellious edge - is nothing new for Troy.

"Most things that I write turn gay," she says, laughing.

The movie was meant to be a full-length feature with a whole road trip and murder scenario, but Troy decided to pare it down to showcase her ability to craft a movie and enter it into a festival since she's an amateur filmmaker. Her primary talent is as a visual artist, which she honed while studying painting at Wayne State University in the '60s. Her artistic knack is communicated in the film's cinematography, which local director of photography Lon Stratton, known for his documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," captures beautifully, she says.

"He totally outdid himself in my film. It's just gorgeous. I'm very happy about that."

Detroit should also be happy - Troy's film, she says, is flattering to the city.

"I show Detroit in a very, very good light and realistically, it's not all that pretty," says Troy, noting local landmarks in the film like Como's and The Ringwald Theatre.

She used local actors and received lots of help from Michiganders, but Troy's film was entirely self-funded, she says. That meant early on, when there were tiffs with some of the crew, she wasn't having it.

"It was my story, my film," she says. "I ended up funding it myself, so I needed to tell it my way."


6 p.m. April 21 and 4 p.m. April 25

Main Art Theatre

118 N. Main St., Royal Oak

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