Front woman Rebekah and wild-at-heart Estonian tambourine player Annika of Rebekah Starr Band, set out on a journey across-country from rural Pennsylvania to big city Los Angeles, facing the trip's hardships along the way, in hope of defying the odds and the doubts of small-town society.
MY WAY begins with the conventional “small-town girl livin’ in a lonely (corporate) world.” Yet instead of taking the midnight train, Rebekah Starr swaps out her briefcase for a Les Paul, grabbing her sassy Estonian sidekick Annika and hitting the highway – destination? Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
When Rebekah’s marriage falls apart in real time, we realize her dream is not a whim. It is a burning passion for music that comes with its share of real world sacrifices. Thanks to the support from her newfound rock’n’roll legend friends, such as Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses) and Rikki Rockett (Poison), Starr re-commits to her mission and sets out to do what she has always dreamed to do. Her contagious optimism acts as the film’s through line, inspiring anyone who might feel trapped by their circumstances.
"MY Way"; A Collision of Anvil! The Story of Anvil meets Thelma and Louise
Meet smart savvy businesswoman Rebekah Starr. Frustrated by the roadblocks of the male-dominated corporate workplace that she has worked in for years, Rebekah has decided to ditch everything and take off for Hollywood to film a music video for her all-girl rock band. Accompanied by her wild-at-heart, tambourine-playing bandmate, Annika, she sets out on a real-world Thelma and Louise-style adventure from small town Pennsylvania to star-studded Los Angeles. The two women have a plan for survival that is a no holds-barred rebuttal to traditional buttoned-down business. They creatively promote their struggling band's rock music from town to town with spur-of-the-moment concerts, hustling of their band's CDs and download cards, and the befriending and inspiring of new fans all along the road to their dreams in California.
The decision to leave involves tough personal choices for Rebekah, who finds herself balancing the risk of losing her beloved husband and best friend, Mike, against an irrepressible passion for going after her music dreams. Along the way the adventuring women face hilarious setbacks, like being stranded in rural Oklahoma, and fight societal prejudices chastising their free-spirited behavior. Rebekah and Annika rely on their faith in friendship and belief in the impossible to overcome their doubts and carry them over hurdles that test their conviction in themselves and each other.
The documentary parallels Anvil! The Story of Anvil with similar use of of evocative commentary from music celebrities, that puts into perspective the heartaches, challenges and sacrifices that drive and propel people toward their dreams. Celebrity commentators include: Eighties' rockstars, Rikki Rockett (of Poison fame,) Steven Adler (of Guns & Roses fame,) and Chip Z'Nuff (of Enuff Z'Nuff fame,) and also screen legend, Ron Jeremy.
My Way shares common thread with Thelma and Louise in more ways than purely superfluous entertainment value. For instance, whereas, at surface, the film flows from two women's hilariously unpredictable roadtrip, we soon discover that the impulse, which drives these women forward, extends much deeper than the dream of becoming rock and roll stars. Analogously, the subtext is a contemporary feminist narrative, wherein we observe a plot unfolding in reaction to two women's sometimes desperate and often creative response to unfair circumstances they find themselves in. From a sociological context, the film is a real life story that contemplates society's conflicting realities on what role beauty should play in female power.
The film's dominant thematic exposition, the "struggle for respect," will resonate with many viewers as an all too common, and regularly tiptoed around, phenomenon experienced by many female business professionals, like Rebekah. Interview commentary by authors/gender studies' experts, Lynn Cronin and Howard Fine, focuses attention on the disillusionment that many modern American professional women find themselves contending with. While Rebekah's and Annika's quirky approach to realizing their professional value potential is undoubtedly unique to their story, the frustration that drives them on their journey is not, and this theme is intended to shed light on this lingering serious dilemma many American woman face. While the expert commentary explores this sexist conundrum that occurs when women recognize that their contribution is being undervalued in the workplace and traditional gender biases hold back their ascension in professional ranks, the narrative spotlights two women's marvelous and unorthodox solution to this problem.
This entire film began with a quip by Annika, "Why don't we film our trip along the road and all the people we meet on our way to LA…?" she mused. I thought it was a pretty clever idea. After all, the whole undertaking was more than just a band promotion for us, and we knew it. It was a personal statement of self-assertion…and that may sound silly, but I don't know how else to describe it. For years I had been trying to please everyone, and I finally faced the setback where I JUST DIDN'T CARE anymore…. and in this, was a lesson that maybe other people could relate to as well. The playing field, I realized, really wasn't level after all, and I was going to stop blaming myself and allowing other people to blame me for this. Annika and I both had something to say to this effect. We had an irrepressible desire to upend those who were trying to repress us. Filming a documentary was the intermediary that revealed itself as a means to this end, a platform wherefrom we could reach our like-minded audience.
So what we ended up with was "My Way," a hilarious chronicle of the band's adventures, as we road-tripped all the way from Kittanning, Pennsylvania across America to Los Angeles, California, to make our first music video.
It's important to point out here that the film angers anyone, it was intended to be rebellious. It was intended to upset Aunties and Grannies (especially our own,) and it was intended to make lemonade from the lemons we were handed; to speak truth to power, in its own covert way, and to tell the "YOU CAN'T"-'s that "WE CAN!"
A complementary concept that we came up with was to tell our story through our songs. The soundtrack for the movie is made up in part from the music of our first record "Rockstar Girl!" (And we got a little free help from our friend Chip Z'Nuff using a song from his Johnnie Rotten Jr. side project, as well as compositions written by our composer Diego Tovar and director Vinny Sisson.)
It was curious how the lyrics of the songs as I originally wrote them took on new meanings with the new situations that we encountered. But we think that is attributable to the magical medium that is music! And what better way to make your statement to the world than through music. Thank you everyone for coming along for the ride.