Up until recently, Haroula Rose was known primarily as a folk singer-songwriter. Her songs have shown up on American Horror Story, Justify, and How I Met Your Mother, but Rose’s transition to the screen extends beyond the soundtrack. Here, in her proper short film debut “Baby Crazy,” the L.A. transplant explores what “‘being ready’ even means” when it comes to starting a family, all the while subtly celebrating the Chicago music scene she came up in.
Flavorwire is pleased to premiere the endearing short outside of the indie film festival circuit, where it’s won Best of the Fest at the Sun Valley Film Festival and the Lone Star Film Festival.
“Baby Crazy” centers around a blue collar guy who, for whatever reason, finds himself in a funk of arrested development. When his longtime girlfriend walks out because of this, he finds solace in bottles of PBR and fat joints, until one night an adorable baby shows up. Except, only he is capable of seeing the child. At first he’s completely overwhelmed: he puts the baby in a duffel bag and tries to leave it at the hospital, only to find it back in his house when he comes home. Hijinks ensue! He makes friends with a baby!
“I always saw this character as having a sense of fear or sadness, and in order to overcome it, he has to really be thrown into it, into the deep end so to speak,” Rose tells Flavorwire. “I was grappling with my own feelings about family. Everyone says they’re never really ready or there’s never really a perfect time to have kids, but they never regret having jumped in. So it was my way of reconciling and exploring those things.”
The film’s casting speaks to Rose’s ties to the Chicago music scene. The protagonist is played by Chicago musician Sad Brad Smith, while the titular baby (real name: Roman) belongs to Umphrey’s McGee leader Brendan Bayliss and his wife (“He was a natural! A pro! Brad kept joking about how he was getting upstaged!”). Chicagoan Andrew Bird’s “Why?” makes the perfect soundtrack for a stare-down between the baby and Brad’s character.
The magical realism of “Baby Crazy” is the first in Rose’s True Love Trilogy, while her second entry — “Wedding Dress” — has screened at Sun Valley Film Fest, Santa Cruz Film Fest, LA Indie Fest, LA Arthouse Fest, and Idyllwild International. “The third installment will star Brad and I,” Rose says, adding that she’s also working on a feature set in Chicago. “Now we just have to write it.”