×

International sales agent Deckert Distribution has taken world rights to “Eat Your Catfish,” directed by Adam Isenberg, Noah Amir Arjomand and Senem Tüzen, which will celebrate its world premiere in IDFA’s new Envision Competition section.

“Eat Your Catfish” is filmed from the perspective of Kathryn, who has become completely paralyzed because of ALS – also known as motor neurone disease – and is in need of 24-hour care. With her mind intact and having opted for mechanical breathing, she could live like this indefinitely. But the situation has embittered and alienated her husband Said, and proved too much for many nurses and aides.

Her grown son Noah, who lives with Kathryn and Said in their New York City apartment, struggles to balance his academic obligations with those he feels to his mother. The disease has also been a destructive force complicating relations between everyone in her family. Kathryn often falls into despair, but she has been holding on to see her daughter’s wedding day.

“Eat Your Catfish” draws on 930 hours of footage – all filmed without any crew present from a fixed camera from Kathryn’s point of view. The result is a profoundly intimate, layered and wryly funny portrait of a family at its breaking point.

“Rather than turning and looking at Kathryn, or asking others to sit down and tell us about her, we wanted to bring the viewer as close as possible to actually being Kathryn and experiencing what she experienced. Through Kathryn’s own narration, we enter the inner world of a severely disabled woman and mother facing her own mortality. We wanted to break from earlier documentaries on these themes by telling a true story, without contrived heroics, of the brutality of the daily challenges – both practical and emotional – of in-home care for a disabled and terminally ill person,” the director trio, who also produced the film, states.

Liselot Verbrugge, head of sales and acquisitions at Deckert, says: “We were immediately drawn to the style and tone of the film, which stood out so clearly from the majority of the films that we get offered. The POV perspective feels so open and honest, that you just have to open
your heart to Kathryn. A story with a laugh and a tear, that will stay with you for a long time.”