#theircatsaswell

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

Orig. Title
#theircatsaswell
Year
2016
Country
Austria
Duration
4 min
Director
Lisbeth Kovacic
Category
Animation
Orig. Language
english
Downloads
Credits
Director
Lisbeth Kovacic
Music
Matija Schellander
original texts and pictures
Goldie, Silver, Rodina
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
4:3
Sound Format
stereo
Frame Rate
24 fps
Color Format
colour
Festivals (Selection)
2016
Wien - VIS Vienna Independent Shorts (Night of The Light, Award of the Jury)
Wien - One Day Animation Festival (Jury Award for Best Sound)
Kassel Dokumentarfilm & Videofestival
Wien - this human world International Human Rights Film Festival
Ljubiljana Animateka - Int. Animation Film Festival
2017
Milano Aiace - Invideo
Leipzig - Dok Leipzig - Int. Festival für Dok.- u. Animationsfilm
ZagrebDOX - Documentary Film Festival (Special Mention)
Cork - IndieCork Film Festival
Moskow - Big Cartoon Animation Festival