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Thursday, September 23, 2010

What to ask 'Catfish' co-director Henry Joost at Landmark

One of the most thought-provoking documentaries in a year teeming with excellent non-fiction films, Catfish opens Fri., Sep. 24, at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Catfish's directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman chronicle the latter's brother Rev as he becomes increasingly involved in the lives of a family he meets through Facebook. (My review will appear next week alongside that other Facebook-themed movie, The Social Network.) On Saturday the 24th, Joost will be in attendance for post-film Q&As after every show: 3:15, 5:25, 7:40 and 9:50 p.m. Catfish raises all kinds of questions about the filmmakers' process and motivations, as well as the deceptive potential of the Internet (and cinema itself, for that matter), so seeing it with Joost is the ideal way to catch a film you should see anyway. Here are some possible questions for Joost, some of which contain spoilers, so they're after the cut.

1. Supposedly Ariel Schulman had been filming his brother Rev well before the events of Catfish. Why? And when did Joost become part of the picture?

2. When did Schulman and Joost decide to focus on Rev's relationship with Abby, Angela and Megan?

3. Once you started focusing on the family as your cinematic subjects, why didn't you research them more closely?

4. Was Rev never skeptical that Megan, whom he'd never met in real life, was too good to be true? Weren't stories about people with false internet identities common when Catfish was filmed in 2008?

5. When investigating the horse farm where Megan was allegedly staying, why did you knock on the doors in the middle of the night? Weren't you afraid someone could have shot you?

6. After you revealed to Angela that you'd figured out the truth about her, why did she agree to let you guys film her and her "real" family?

7. How many Facebook friends do you all have now?

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