Peer to Peer Magazine

December 2011

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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communications increase and more paintings arrive from Abby, Nev's brother and a friend, who see how involved and happy Nev's becoming in these relationships, urge him to capture the experience as a documentary. CATFISH TRIVIA (Courtesy of IMDb and other sources) THE WEB WE WEAVE Nev agrees — a bit reluctantly — and they start filming him having conversations, writing email messages and discussing on-camera what he's learning about his new friends. But then a few odd things begin to happen. For example, Megan, with whom Nev begins a romantic e-relationship, sends him MP3 files of several of her recorded songs. When one of them sounds familiar, Nev searches YouTube and discovers — to a mix of amusement and annoyance — that all of Megan's songs are, in fact, performances by other people. Suspicious, yet intrigued, about what's going on, the three filmmakers travel to Michigan to surprise the family. Once there, it's they who get all the surprises. As truths are revealed, Nev experiences a wave of emotions. The excitement of these new relationships is replaced by sadness and betrayal, and he eventually comes to see the experience as a life lesson and manages to let go of bad feelings. • As of August 2011, the film has been hit with two lawsuits and, according to CATFISH distributor Relativity Media, the film has an unrecouped balance of more than $8.5 million and will not likely ever become profitable. • Angela used pictures that Vancouver-based photographer Aimee Gonzales had posted on Facebook to portray Megan and her family. CATFISH's filmmakers compensated Aimee for her involuntary appearance in the documentary, and she participated in publicity for the film. A photograph Angela described as a son, Alex, is that of rapper Joshua Paul Liimatta, also known as "The Sisu Kid." A CAUTIONARY CATFISH TAIL So what does the title CATFISH mean? It's explained near the end by Vince, the father, who comes to realize what has been going on. I'll let you hear the explanation for yourself, but suffice it to say that CATFISH will keep you on your toes. It's an unwritten, if rarely spoken, truth that everyone puts their best foot forward on Facebook and other such social and business networking sites. What Nev learns, and what most of us learn at one time or another, is that there's always another foot to be discovered in this parallel universe of 1's and 0's. CATFISH is billed as a documentary, an authentic record of one Facebook user's experience. But many viewers and critics believe it to be, at the least, a faux-documentary, and possibly, an audacious scam. Either way, it will hammer home the wisdom of always keeping an eye out for that other foot. ILTA • To see a trailer for CATFISH, go to YouTube. com and search for "Catfish trailer." • As Nev is looking at Megan's Facebook page, you can see her "Likes." This documentary is happening in 2007-8, and the "Likes" button was not yet in use by Facebook. Andy Spiegel is a creative director for a business software company based in Austin, Texas, and he's a freelance writer. An ardent movie watcher, he maintains a blog called "Austinlad's Private Screening Room," which spotlights movie reviews of films from the '30s to today. He can be reached at austinlad@austin.rr.com. Peer to Peer the quarterly magazine of ILTA 73

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