Catfish - documentary
Catfish is a documentary film which was released in 2010 by production companies, Relativity pictures and Rogue pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures. This is the story of a young photographer called Yaniv “Nev” Schulman from Michigan who was using the online social network Facebook to build romantic & legitimate relationships with women, or so he thinks. The highly commercially successful movie directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman is what ultimately influenced the making of the hit MTV reality series Catfish.
Where did the name Catfish come from? The name was coined by the father of one of the women that Nev was building an online relationship with on Facebook; Vince. Essentially it is an analogy of cod fishing in Asia and North America whereby fishermen put catfish in the cod tanks as they are being transported long distances to keep them occupied. This relates to how people keep active in their everyday lives in this film, or rather they should most certainly keep an active mind while exploring the internet. This is important to the plot of Catfish since it becomes obvious that when people are given the opportunity to lie, more often than not they do.
The nature of the subsequent TV series following the Catfish documentary has caused some people to say that the romantic scenarios are in fact set-up. The suspicious rumours originally started on the tv show and then people claimed the documentary to be a fake. One of the leading arguments behind the claims is how the Catfish documentary filmmakers followed the story of Nev’s online relationship from such an early stage even though they could not have predicted whether anything interesting worthy of making a film out of would entail where we would all want to watch catfish online. It is also improbable that Megan's parents would want to be a part of a film, so it has been suggested by some people on the internet that the media-savvy Schulman's actually talked about making a documentary with Megan's family about such a subject, however, none of these claimed are actually backed up by hard evidence.
No matter whether Catfish is true or not it does raise some serious questions about how we live as a society. The internet is a vast place where you have to keep a level head and that is demonstrated in detail in this movie, because even if you think you know someone online until you actually meet them in real life then it could all just be fabricated lies. In the MTV series “Catfish” we see this on an almost regular basis and for some people who have been lied to they never really get a justified answer.
The documentary Catfish holds a high rating on the critical website Rotten Tomatoes and Time magazine featured a full spread on the film giving it a positive and critical review.
Catfish has been involved in a number of lawsuits due to the use of copyrighted music which ultimately meant that the filmmakers would never actually make any profit for their efforts.