Lil Bub & Friendz – Best Feature Online at the Tribeca Film Festival

It didn’t take long for Andy Capper and Juliette Eisner to recognize a good thing and do something about it.

Online cat culture is an obsession uniting besotted fans from around the world in love who love cats. Cats have come out of the closet in recent years and so has our crazy, boundless affection for them.

YouTube is crammed with cat videos and there’s that song “The Internet is Made of Cats”.  Cat Video festivals attended by Cat Reporters and fans are sprouting up all over the place. 

VICE producers Juliette Eisner and Andy Capper had an Aha moment a couple of years ago.  They saw that the net was bulging with cats. They decided to document the phenomenon in a film called Lil Bub & Friendz.  It won the top online prize for a feature length film at New York’s prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.

Their star is a two year old perma-kitten, Lil Bub, a ”one of a kind” who lives with her Dude in Bloomington, Indiana, whose eyes would make Bane realize he had a heart and then melt it.  A single shot of Bub posted on Tumblr blew up, then a video and over the course of her life – two years – she hit the top. 

Bub is the undisputed Queen of the internet cats.
Bub is a shed rescue, without teeth, a lower jaw, bone marrow or mobility.  Her tongue hangs out, as no jaw or teeth impede it.  What she has is charm, spunk, and beauty, enough to inspire 131 k Facebookers and 11k Twitter followers.  And now Bub’s fans can look forward to her debut film Lil Bub & Friendz, which will be available for digital download in the future.
Lil Bub & Friendz explores the eccentric world of cat fanciers and their cats, real and virtual. The Nyan Cat Guy explains that the flying cartoon cat made of Pop Tarts is a lucrative business venture, with its own pop up stores and customers.  Grumpy Cat, Maru the box cat, Colonel Meow and dozens of other internet cats make guest appearances.

But Bub’s the star.  She appears to make other cats withdraw; they seem unsettled by her.  She doesn’t care for dogs who try to intrude into her space and scraps at them with a surprising ferocity, hissing and snarling for all she’s worth.  But humans. That’s another story.  Humans line up to meet her, they pay money – most of which goes to cat related charities – and occasionally burst into tears when they come face to face with her.  Who is she? Justin Bieber?

Lil Bub must have patience judging by the bruising few weeks she’s been through since her film was announced as an official entry into Tribeca. Bub attended the Lil Bub & Friendz NYC première and found herself being cuddled by fest founder Robert De Niro.  She appeared on the Today Show and The View and Whoopi Goldberg cuddled her hard. 

The Dude watches over her closely.  He has dedicated himself to her care and the care of cats in general.  Bub has raised $30k so far for shelters, surgeries and outreach.  She undergoes frequent visits to the vet given her condition and east the best diet the Dude can provide; a small price to pay for a creature that inspires so much happiness. 

Her fans post on her many sites, thanking her for improving their day, for helping them survive bad situations and as some say, for simply existing. 

Eisner and Capper traveled the States for material but the most compelling is in a small home in Bloomington.  That’s where the real drama of the film lies.  Bub has her difficult moments and it’s hard to watch.

It’s the jarring note in this seductive, sweet story.  It is a documentary not a fictional story.   Bub is truly one-of-a-kind and the Lil Bub & Friendz film captures her essence and importance well.  Kudos to Capper and Eisner for their vision.

Watch the Official Trailer for Lil Bub & Friendz on VICE here: