The bittersweet life story of a young girl who grows up to be a crazy old cat lady.
Interview with Writer/Director Britt Raes
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I love telling stories that originate from a strong feeling. This story started when thinking about the theme of 'feeling at home' and what it means to me, and what it means to other people. During the development many concepts came to mind, but at one point I focused on the concept of 'pets'. Why do they make someone feel at home, why are they so important to us? This was the core of the story.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because you really love cats. Or because you hate cats. The film addresses cat lovers and haters :) But I don't want to say more and spoil the story!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Well, the story is about a cat lady... Do I own a cat myself? Of course :) I have one cat, Kato. So having her around was an inspiration for sure.
But while I was developing the story, and was talking to other people about pets, I realised early on that it is a very universal theme. The presence of a pet in different stages of your life, as a kid and as an adult, has a big impact on people and how they structure their life.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I knew early on I wanted to tell the story of a girl who grows up to be a crazy old cat lady, and how she got to be that way. But the possibilities to tell this type of story are endless! While developing the story I was constantly trying to feel the balance between having it very recognisable, but also letting it get a bit crazy, without going too far.
The story itself is really sad, but I wanted to make a humorous film! So during development it was also a challenge to find the balance between these too elements. And I wanted to create an interesting story, that made sense and didn't go too absurd, with a believable character but that wouldn't be predictable.
So story wise there were many versions, sometimes the actions were too expected, sometimes it went over the top, and I was constantly going back and forth between versions to find the right actions for the story.
When I started working visually, I was looking for ways to emphasize the story, and figure out how the visual style could point in the same direction as the story. I hadn't thought out the colour schemes and background deformations when I first started writing the script. It was something that grew along with the story.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Some people cry, some people laugh.
Some people say "that's not for kids!", some people say "finally something interesting for kids!".
I like that there are different levels in the story, so there is something in there for everyone to like (or dislike ;) ) The film has won a 12 prizes up till now, and they are a mix of professional jury awards, audience awards, children's jury awards and also a press jury prize!
I love that the audience the film reaches has such a big range.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I am happily surprised that kids react so well, and that they really understand the story on the different levels.
The story was not shared or tested with kids beforehand, so we had to wait until the festival release to see how they would receive it.
And I am very pleasantly surprised with the reactions! It also confirmed that this is an audience I would love to cater to with my future projects!
And in general, I am relieved that people understand my humor! I am not the type of person who makes a joke in front of a big group.
Writing and scribbling down something funny on a paper while you are creating a film is very intimate.
But then having an audience of hundreds of people in a theater laugh at that joke is a new experience for me. Being there at a film screening, I feel very exposed as I hear the reactions of people as they are looking inside my head through the screen.
I think my friends and family didn't expect that much humor in the film as they probably don't really see/know me as a "funny person".
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am just very grateful you consider it interesting enough to ask me these questions :)
This kind of visibility for my film and myself as a director is very much appreciated! I hope to create more films and illustrations in the future. And I am very open to collaborations or commissions, people can always get in touch with me!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Film festivals, journalists and buyers are very welcome to contact me. Anyone who can help get the film out there to find a bigger audience!
I currently have a wonderful producer (Creative Conspiracy, www.cc.be), a great international festival distributor (Sève Films, www.sevefilms.com) and an awesome national theater distributor (Dalton Distribution http://www.daltondistribution.be) who support the project.
But anyone out there who would like to come on board and has some ideas they would like to share, I am open to hear about it :)
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Before we started distributing the film to festivals, I had set a dream goal for myself: 60 festivals and 10 awards. The film has surpassed that already! I am just so happy about every screening opportunity the film receives! As I am developing a few new projects, I also hope Catherine opens some new doors of course.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
I wanted to create a film that was entertaining, but also contained a story that would make you think. The story does not have a big social or political message.
It's a reflection on very universal, ordinary everyday feelings: growing up, bullying, (unrequited) love, loneliness...
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
The production company Creative Conspiracy is developing a few series themselves, and also have some more short films in production. They also create commercials, so it's a mix of long term and short term projects happening there.
Currently I am doing a residency at Studio Enclume (http://www.enclume-animation.com), to develop a new animated short film for kids.
The working title is The Rock, and it tells the story of a young girl and, well, a rock :)
It's a sort of fairytale, about friendship and acceptance. But I also have an idea for an animated series, a concept involving more pets!
Interview: August 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
The bittersweet life story of a young girl who grows up to be a crazy old cat lady.
Length: 11min 51sec
Director: Britt Raes
Producer: Creative Conspiracy - Karim Rhellam
Writer: Britt Raes
About the writer, director and producer:
Britt likes chocolate, indie music, Totoro and riding her bike.
If she is reincarnated, she hopes to come back as a cat named Fluffy.
Karim Rhellam is the artistic producer at Creative Conspiracy.
Creative Conspiracy is a production and animation studio in Belgium, focused on character animation.
Oskar De Rycker
Olivier Vanden Bussche
Male voices: Braden Lunsford
Female voices: Madison Reeves
Animal Sounds: Rudi Rok
Pieter Van Dessel
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
film festival directors, buyers, journalists, sales agents
Social media handles:
tumblr of Britt: http://brittraes.tumblr.com/
Funders: Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Belgian Tax Shelter
Made in association with: Creative Conspiracy
Where can I see it in the next month?
On August 8 (WORLD CAT DAY!) in selected Belgian theaters as the supporting program for the feature film Kedi.
At some Belgian theaters the film will screen the whole month.
In Italy at the festival La Guarimba (7-11 August) in the Unicef program for children.
On August 11 and 19 at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
On August 18 in Kosovo at the Anibar festival.
In the USA at the Sidewalk Film Festival (August 22 - 27).
In Finland at the TAFF festival (August 25 - 28).