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Catfish: Profile of the team behind the ‘100% real’ documentary charting online friendship

Henry Joost and Nev Schulman

Catfish: Profile of the team behind the ‘100% real’ documentary charting online friendship

New York City filmmaker Henry Joost set up production company Supermarché in 2006 with his school friend and business partner Ariel Schulman so they could make commercials, shorts and documentaries. Joining them in their ‘collective’ was Ariel’s younger brother, the photographer Nev Schulman.

What are they up to now?
Joost and Ariel Schulman have co-directed the intriguing feature length documentary Catfish, which premiered at Sundance last January. It chronicles the online friendship that developed between Nev and a family in Michigan, after Nev was sent a painting of one of his photos by their eight-year-old daughter Amy. Supersize Me director Morgan Spurlock has described Catfish as the ‘greatest fake documentary I’ve ever seen’, but the filmmakers insist that it is ‘100% real.’

Nev Shulman on audience reactions
‘I’ve been surprised by how a lot of people who’ve seen the film have gone out of their way to express how it relates to them. They’ll say that something like this has happened to them or to a friend. It’s as though everyone sees their reflection in the story.

On the danger of spoilers
‘We wanted to give as little away about the film as possible in advance. The American marketing campaign stressed the sensational aspect of it, calling it a “reality thriller”, rather than a documentary. But it’s not a movie with ghouls, goblins or axe murderers. To me it’s a sad love story.’

Henry Joost on the title
‘Catfish was the on a list of 20 titles that we had drawn up the night before the Sundance programme was printed. We almost called it It’s Complicated or It’s All Downhill from Here. We took the advice of a filmmaker friend, whom we’d shown a rough cut and he told us to go with Catfish, even though we were worried it might confuse people.’

Interesting facts
Nev trades in classic cars and motorcycles on eBay. The son of a photographer mother and international banker father, Henry was born in Frankfurt.

Catfish, selected release, Fri 17 Dec.

Catfish trailer

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