FIPRESCI award winner CHATTY CATTIES coming to Northwest Film Forum
Pablo Valencia’s debut feature film, CHATTY CATTIES, is a laugh-out-loud comedy set in an alternate world in which cats are able to communicate with humans. Sassy tabby Leonard (voiced by deaf actor John Autry II) is at odds with his human roommate, Shelby (Megan Hensley), whose own emotional problems limit her abilities to provide for the most basic of Leonard’s needs. But, when Shelby begins a relationship with kind-hearted musician, Nate (Matthew Grathwol), Leonard sees a brighter future for both him and his owner, but it won’t come without a few emotional fireworks along the way.
The film was the winner of the prestigious FIPRESCI prize at the Seattle International Film Festival in 2015.
The film is also special in that it provided unique roles for deaf and hard of hearing actors, including John Autrey II, the star and voice of Leonard the Cat.
Says director Pablo Valencia:
"I wanted the cats to sound different from the humans and I wanted a way to communicate the film’s themes. Casting deaf and hard-of- hearing actors allowed me to do that; it also gave these actors an opportunity to play the kinds of roles that they are not normally offered, roles in which their hearing loss is not part of the plot. Learning about deaf culture and working with these actors was truly a rewarding experience.
This is a film filled with cats, though it isn’t necessarily about them. It’s really a film about communication and agency. It’s a story about not losing one’s self while being held prisoner. It’s a series of glimpses into another world, a world that reflects our own. It’s a story about hope, hidden behind tabby stripes."
CHATTY CATTIES plays September 9th, 17th, and October 8th at Northwest Film Forum. It recently had its run extended at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco after a sold-out opening weekend.