Considered a living legend in some circles, Paisley cowboy and artist Len Babb will soon be further immortalized thanks to the Len Babb Movie Project, the vision of Sisters-based writer Craig Rullman.
Babb has already gained recognition for his western art – paintings, drawings and sculptures depicting buckaroo culture and old west history – which he has been selling since the 1960s.
Rullman’s desire to make a movie about Babb was motivated not just by who Babb is as an artist and cowboy, but the way of life and values he stands for.
“When I was a buckaroo in the desert, I had heard about Len; he’s kind of a legendary figure,” Rullman described. Approximately three years ago, Rullman had the opportunity to interview Babb while working for The Nugget Newspaper in Sisters. Babb was exhibiting his work in the Sisters Fire Hall Community Room. Rullman said he and Babb “hit it off” right away.
The notion to make a movie about Babb came to Rullman more recently, around April of this year. Rullman is writing and directing the film himself, and has enlisted the talent of Sam Pyke of Hill Shadow Pictures to do the videography and editing.
In a description of the project on gofundme.com, Rullman notes, “I won’t pay myself but I will pay for excellent videography and original music.” It is not a cheap endeavor. The film costs $1,000 per day to shoot, and $800 a day to edit.
Musicians Jim Cornelius – who was Rullman’s editor at The Nugget – and Mike Biggers are composing original music for the film. And Rullman has had good fortune with getting permission to use the work of a couple other artists. He reached out to Dave Stamey in the hopes of using one of his songs in the movie and was thrilled when Stamey responded, “Use it with my compliments.” He got a similar response from St. Louis-based blues musician Tom Hall.
Most of the movie will be filmed in the Paisley area, but Rullman has plans to interview a few other authorities on western and cowboy culture, including Austin-, Texas-based John Langmore, whose father Bank Langmore was a photographer who documented cowboy life and was responsible for first bringing Babb on “the national scene.”
Rullman also intends to interview professional cowboy Luke Branquinho and Dr. Larry Len Peterson, a leading scholar in western art.
“Len’s story and his artwork are driving the narrative” of the film, Rullman explained, but said the story has gotten bigger than those aspects. The Len Babb Movie Project will paint a picture of the values of friendship, family and community by documenting Babb’s friends, family and the community of Paisley. Everyone in Paisley has been “so welcoming,” Rullman added.
“Len represents, to me, a way of life, a way of living and an approach to the world that is profoundly healthy and important, and a set of values that’s important to hold on to,” Rullman expressed.
He also hopes people in the movie “will take pride in the way they see themselves represented” and that the project “will be something really positive put into their lives when it’s really hard to find positive things.”
Rullman intends to debut The Len Babb Movie Project at the Western Folklike Center in Elko, Nevada, which he called “its natural home.” Additionally, his vision for the film is to have a legitimate submission to the Sundance Film Festival, which is the largest independent film festival in the United States.
To contribute to the funding for The Len Babb Movie Project and to learn more, visit www.gofundme.com/f/len-babb-movie-project.