Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival follow up: CATFISH

In the last year since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival’s Spotlight section, filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman have spent some of their time basking in the overwhelmingly positive reaction to CATFISH, but most of their time defending its veracity. CATFISH documents the relationship between Schulman’s brother Nev and Megan, a girl he met on Facebook through her younger sister Abby, a supposed painting prodigy. As their relationship evolves it becomes clear that all is not what it seems, and the attractive, 19-year-old girl Nev thought he had been emailing and calling on the phone is another person altogether.

The film easily generated some of the most buzz at the festival – it even received a standing ovation at its first screening – but many viewers had a problem with what they felt was a set-up, twist and reveal too perfect to be real. Joost and Schulman swear it’s the truth, as does producer Andrew Jarecki, whose film CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS debuted at the festival in 2003 (his latest venture ALL GOOD THINGS premieres this week). There’s even a website called iscatfishfake.com, but most critics agree that even if you stripped away the suspense and revealed the twist from the start, CATFISH remains a compelling and heart-wrenching story of love and deception in the age of online relationships.

Though Joost and Schulman call themselves documentarians first and foremost, their next project is going the narrative route with a thriller the duo are writing together. They’re also working on a book of the correspondence between Nev and Megan in CATFISH. No word yet if it will coincide with the DVD release in January.

Be sure to satisfy all your festival needs with the latest buzz, top stories, and celebrity interviews from Sundance Channel’s coverage of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.