I recently watched another of HBO's documentaries called Catfish and found myself yet again compelled to review it. The synopsis of Catfish is a NY based photographer, Yaniv and his two film making buddies (one is his brother), happen to start documenting a friendship that starts between Yaniv and an 8yr old girl named Abby.
Abby finds one of Yaniv's photos that made it to a national magazine and takes it upon herself to paint a beautiful realistic rendition of his picture and sends the canvas to him as a gift.
Abby and Yaniv begin a friendship on Facebook and then he begins to send photos and she paints them and sends them back through the mail.
Yaniv also begins a friendship with the little girl's mother and very attractive sister with who he finds himself falling in love. Little by little some things start to not add up and Yaniv discovers his online friendships and courtships aren't what they seem to be.
Catfish Documentary Trailer
Catfish Documentary Review (cont):
There are some amateur-ish things about the film, such as the hand held video recorder and many shots of Yaniv slouching in his underwear. (I don't think any of them initially thought the film would be more than just a home project). But as the trio make an uninvited journey to Michigan where Abby and her family live, a real true human interest story unfolds.
The filmmakers were conscious enough to not make a spectacle confronting the family, but instead allowed the kindness of a true documentary subject to reveal their personal truth. The result is a full heart story of the reality of what one person can create using imagination and the internet.
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--Sarah (Sydney, Australia)
I am a professional filmmaker, and I applaud this site for detailing the ABC's of documentary filmmaking. It serves as my own checklist as I continue making my own films... Thanks!