We see a snapshot of a young couple with a cat. The little animal, which they took along with them when fleeing Syria, is tenderly wrapped in a baby sling; in the background is the sea. A message flashes: "This is Rodina and Silver, owners of Zaytouna". #theircatsaswell uses WhatsApp to help trace out the stops along their exodus, as the couple exchange messages with an Austrian activist about the tense situation in a German asylum center. The facility is filled past capacity, and things are unclear. There´s no response from those in charge – until a revolt attracts widespread media attention.
In collage-like illustrations, Lisbeth Kovacic depicts the elements of a communication flow that is both personal and political. From out of virtual space pops the question "How is your cat?" Later we see the answer: "She already got a German passport". Photos on blog posts alternate with instant messages; as scanned drawings, in contrast to the generic design of application programs, the narrative shows a distinct, individual style. The audio track is well-suited to this artistic transformation – it utilizes the sounds of a double bass, both acoustic and electronically processed to sound like cellphone ringtones. The low babble of voices accompanies mobile phone recordings of protests forming, while symbols provide the forceful dynamic through which the story unfolds.
The animated documentary tells of real living conditions through virtual communication technology, the interaction between power and powerlessness, and searching and finding new ways of connecting when more direct attempts go unheard. Thus the film doesn´t need to explicitly criticize a policy of dehumanization: its artistic method of translating events into animation resonates with critique regardless. (Jana Koch)
Translation: John Wojtowicz