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THE MOST META FOUND FOOTAGE
Be My Cat: A Film for Anne 

By Audrey Lorber  March 15, 2024

The most compelling part of the found footage genre is what makes it distinctive from any other: it’s realism. Believing a found-footage movie is real is what makes it scary. Though implemented across every film genre, the found footage genre or technique is most associated with horror and science fiction, which naturally lend themselves to each other. In most of the films, the footage is supposedly the only surviving record of the events, with the participants now missing or dead. 

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Though found footage movies can be traced to the early 1960s, the technique was popularized by The Blair Witch Project (1999) for its unprecedented use of the internet for surreal marketing. Many young people who saw the movie at the time truly believed it was real- and they were scared. “One thing about Blair Witch: the damn thing looks real. Another thing about Blair Witch: the damn thing feels real,” Stephen King wrote in his overview of the horror genre, Danse Macabre. He watched The Blair Witch Project for the first time in a hospital room after a terrible car accident. He recalls needing to pause the movie because he was just that scared. “Those didn’t look like Hollywood-location woods; they looked like an actual forest in which actual people could actually get lost,” he writes.

Our societal familiarization with media and the internet has stifled some of the genre’s ability to trick us into believing. But under the right circumstances, found footage can still really get me. And that’s exactly how I felt when viewing Be My Cat: A Film for Anne (2015).

Be My Cat: A Film for Anne is the weirdest, most thought-provoking movie I’ve watched on YouTube in awhile. You read that correctly- this movie is on YouTube FOR FREE. I can’t think of any more realistic place for a vlog style found-footage. 
 

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The movie is a mega-meta about an aspiring Romanian filmmaker, Adrian Țofei, obsessed with Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, and goes to shocking extremes to convince Anne to star in his upcoming film. I spent the whole watchtime fully engaged and frequently confused. The unreliable narrator, director, and main character switch back and forth between his roles, making it hard to tell what’s “real” and what’s part of the film within the film.

He speaks directly to the camera, which makes it almost feel like a Facetime. He shows us around his home and tells us his plan. We are Anne Hathaway- he’s speaking directly to Anne Hathaway through the camera. He’s making this to convince Anne to be in the movie he wrote after seeing her as Catwoman in The Dark Knight. He sounds like every self-proclaimed “film bro” in my dms that has an idea for the latest and greatest movie that he hasn’t written any of yet. Not to mention how wild it is to be obsessed with a catwoman, and it not be Halle Berry.

He hires 3 naive and inexperienced actresses to be in this “movie” and it’s clear they, like us viewers, don’t actually know what’s going on. He kills the first two actresses while filming under the guise that it’s not real and it’s just part of the movie. After the first murder, he talks to camera and assures us that when he was committing the murder, he was just playing a part and that’s not the real him. After the second murder, he comes to a realization: he doesn’t need to murder anymore because he has become the character he was just playing before. 

“Fuck, Anne. I don’t know if I’m me or if I’m playing that guy in that movie... I’ve become the character. I don’t need the third actress. I’m ready to be your acting partner in the movie because I’ve become the character. Oh my god. I’m so happy,” he says to camera. 
 

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This movie is a ride. This gem of a rollercoaster is the most psychological found footage since The Blair Witch Project. It’s “shot on iPhone 6” quality and home on YouTube provide a state of realism that is rare these days. Be My Cat: A Film for Anne was shot with a modest budget of $10,000 with 25-hours of footage edited down to this tight 87-minutes. It is Adrian Țofei's first film and Romania's first found footage horror movie. It has garnered praise over the years for its low budget and meta-ness, qualities which bring out the best in each other. I recommend this movie to any found-footage consesour or lover of weird low-budgets. I can’t wait to see how the genre can be nuanced by our ever-changing relationship with media and technology. 

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Audrey E. Lorber (she/her) is a Brooklyn based video producer, film editor, and award-winning independent filmmaker. She grew up in Staten Island, NY and has made a name for herself in the indie horror community. She is always writing her next short film and is drawn most to animation, post production, screenwriting, and the horror genre.

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