Author | Demitra “Demi” Kampakis
Chica Busca Chica, or Girl Seeks Girl, made history as the world’s first Spanish lesbian series—and the first to be released on DVD in the US—when it debuted in 2007. With its mostly lesbian cast, hookups, breakups, and comical shenanigans, it’s no wonder audiences have dubbed this web series as “Spain’s answer to The L Word”. A quirky and charming show that explores dating and lesbian life in present-day Madrid, Chica Busca Chica has gained international recognition and acclaim—winning several awards at the New York LGBTQ Film Festival, Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, Philadelphia QFest, and “Outfest” LA, among others. The series revolves around four major cast members: Nines the womanizing “flirt” (a la Shane from The L Word), Monica the clingy “psycho”, Carmen the desired “hetero”, and Ana the naïve “newbie”/main source of comic relief (AfterEllen). With its witty portrayal of Madrid lesbians and fast-paced comedic timing, director Sonia Sebastian’s lighthearted comedy has captured the attention of both queer and straight audiences worldwide—and after seven years of anticipation, fans will be happy to learn that the show will resurface in the form of a movie entitled Girl Gets Girl.
A “chaotic and entertaining comedy”, Girl Gets Girl will pick up where the show left off: revisiting our female protagonists nine years later. If the series is any indication, then fans can expect the same fresh tone from Girl Gets Girl: depicting the Spanish lesbian experience without falling prey to those sentimental stereotypes of coming out stories. Sebastian not only collaborated with AfterEllen and the site OneMoreLesbian (OML) to make the movie possible, but spearheaded successful Indiegogo and Crowdfunding campaigns alongside several effectively entertaining promo videos. As the campaign hype winded down, I had the chance to interview Sebastian, who reflected on the success of her series and the creative process that ultimately led to its big-screen counterpoint Girl Gets Girl*:
How did you first come up with the idea for Chica Busca Chica, and how did it eventually evolve into the concept for a Girl Gets Girl film?
The idea of the series came about when I was working with my friend and writer Olga Iglesias. We wanted to tell a story that reflected our lives, and to try to “normalize” a situation. Seven years and thousands of fan mail requests later, we have decided to make the film Girl Gets Girl.
How does it feel to have created the world’s first Spanish lesbian series?! Has your show paved the way for more lesbian and queer television/film in Spain?
One of the reasons we started the series was the lack of lesbian programming in Spain. The best moment came when Wolfe TV wanted to distribute it in The US. It was a great surprise, really wonderful. Nowadays, there are more lesbian series but still there aren’t really any Spanish lesbian films, so this film is going to be the first.
Would you say that Chica Busca Chica is Spain’s version of “The L Word”?
I don´t think so because Girl Seeks Girl has more comedy incorporated, even though I do like The L Word. I think it is a great series, and I love the way it is shot.
Did you ever expect that the web series would be such a hit internationally?
No, we didn´t believe it at first. It was wonderful and unexpected.
Chica Busca Chica revolves around four characters and their distinct personalities: the heartbreaker, the overly obsessive U-Haul girlfriend, the straight girl who may “turn” gay, and the naïve “newbie lesbian” who is obsessed with her newfound sexuality. Which character archetype is the most interesting to explore?
The characters that interest me the most are the heartbreaker and the overly obsessive U-Haul Girlfriend. Olga and I enjoyed writing these characters; we would each play one of the roles and that helped to inspire many funny ideas.
Given the huge success that the Girl Seeks Girl show had with critics and audiences, do you feel a sense of pressure or expectation from fans going into Girl Gets Girl?
I think there is a lot of expectation. We can see it on the Social Networks where many people ask us when the film will be premiered. The script is very funny and we have an amazing cast. I think the audience is going to have a lot of fun, which will help to de-stigmatize and give visibility to the LGBTQ community even further.
Do the show and upcoming film accurately represent the culture of lesbian dating in Spain?
There is a big representation of the lesbian Spanish culture in both, although sometimes you have to leave out some characters and personalities because there are just so many different facets to the lesbian dating scene. No female can ever be truly represented fictionally, but we try to do the best we can.
Unlike most gay film and television, both Chica Busca Chica and Girl Gets Girl are pure comedies, so the characters’ lives are presented in a refreshingly light tone of humor and charm. Is it difficult to portray the frustrations of love and heartbreak without being dramatic or sentimental?
Most lesbian series and films are very dramatic. It is important to talk about our issues with humor…I think humor can help to “normalize” and that is our main goal. We want to make a lesbian comedy for all audiences.
How did you and Jane Badler begin collaborating on the film?
A producer gave me her contact information and I sent her the script. She read it and loved it. Since the first moment there was a very special feeling between us and we have worked together to find a very complex role. Jane is a wonderful actress and a great person.
What can fans expect from the Girl Gets Girl movie? How will it differ from the Chica Busca Chica web series in terms of style and story?
Although another storyline will be incorporated into the film, fans will still feel the spirit of the series because the creators are the same—even the three main actresses are. The fans are going to have a great time, and hopefully laugh a lot. They are going to see how these women have grown up and become in many ways their own special family.
The crowdfunding campaign for Girl Gets Girl ended April 4th. When will the film be released, and where can fans go to watch it?
For $20, people can stream the film online. Our idea is to release the film theatrically, as well as within the International film festival circuit. And of course it will be released on DVD. No one will miss the opportunity to watch Girl Gets Girl!
*Filming will begin in Miami and Madrid later this year, and will be released in Spanish with English subtitles.