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Posted on Monday 16/07/2012 July, 2012 by Francesca Rudkin
There have been rumours social media documentary Catfish may not be as “real” as it seems, most likely by people still trying to work out if they’ve been conned by British artist Banksy's documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. I have to admit, this intriguing and strangely compelling documentary has moments where you wonder if its three filmmakers - Ariel and Nev Schulman and Henry Joost - are already aware of how the drama will unfold.

There have been rumours social media documentary Catfish may not be as “real” as it seems, most likely by people still trying to work out if they’ve been conned by British artist Banksy's documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. I have to admit, this intriguing and strangely compelling documentary has moments where you wonder if its three filmmakers - Ariel and Nev Schulman and Henry Joost - are already aware of how the drama will unfold.

Anyway, all this “is it real or not” hype makes watching Catfish that much more interesting, and has no doubt contributed to this $30,000 documentary making almost $3.5 million at the box office. 

In 2008 photographer Nev Schulman was sharing a New York office with his filmmaker brother Ariel and business partner Henry when he received an interesting parcel in the mail from an 8-year-old girl called Abby. A keen painter, Abby sent Nev a painted replica of one of his photographs that had been in a New York newspaper. Impressed, Nev makes contact with Abby on Facebook and they begin an online friendship which also goes on to include Abby’s mother Angela and her older sister Megan who all live in Michigan.

Nev and Megan begin a romantic online and phone relationship (interestingly no skype or video conversations take place) and when Megan turns down Nev’s invitation to meet, the boys decide to travel to Michigan to surprise Megan, Abby and Angela. Without giving too much away, it turns out to be a strangely suspenseful journey and a gentle reminder that old fashion face-to-face interaction should never be underestimated!

Catfish screens on Wednesday (18th July, 8.30pm) and is followed on Thursday (19th July, 8.30pm) by Morgan Spurlock’s POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Interestingly, according to an interview Arie Schulman did with Moviefone website, Spurlock is suspicious of Catfish’s authenticity. “Morgan Spurlock said to our producers [that] he loved the film. He thought it was the best fake documentary he'd ever seen” said Schulman.

In POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock wants us to know the truth behind product placement, branding and advertising in our day to day life. The film itself is funded by and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement - just to prove the point. Much like Spurlock’s Super Size Me the film is driven by Spurlock and his lively sense of humour as he tries to secure advertisers to finance his film, along with too brief interviews with contributors such as Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, JJ Abrams and Quentin Tarantino. 

There are some fascinating revelations here and Spurlock’s spin is engaging; although for those of us already aware of the influence of Apple and Coke in our daily lives this is more light entertainment than expose.

If you haven’t already noticed, Moving On is back on Monday evenings, screening at 8.30pm. It’s a series of stand alone dramas set in contemporary Britain from the creator of Cracker. The series began in 2009 with five episodes, but due to its popularity and a bevy of top British talent keen to take part a second and now third series has been commissioned. It’s a good choice if you like solid well-written and acted British drama.     

And don’t forget this month our World Cinema Series which screens every Wednesday at 8.30pm is bringing you an array of Italian films including The Double Hour (winner of the 2009 Venice International Film Festival awards for Best Actress, Best Actress and Best Italian Film) and the 2010 Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Baaria.


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Tuesday, 13 August 2013 6:18 p.m.
He was also charged and given a suspended sentence in November for taking the drug himself.

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