Cat Filmmakers Use Popularity to Help Needy Pets
The Creators of Popular Cat Film “Catalogue” Have Made The Finals in Fresh Step’s Catdance Film Festival for a Second Year In A Row and Are Using their Popularity to Promote Adoption With a New Web Series and Website
CHICAGO, IL – January 21, 2014 – Alana Grelyak and Michael Gabriele, a husband and wife filmmaking team from Chicago, have been chosen as finalists in Fresh Step’s Catdance Film Festival for the second year in a row. Their film, “The Inheritance,” was one of five chosen out of more than a hundred films to compete for the grand prize of $50,000. This is their second time competing after their film “Catalogue” was one of the finalists in the first ever Catdance in 2013, which lead to some exciting opportunities for the filmmakers.
After its appearances on Good Morning America and NPR, as well as its runner-up place for the People’s Choice Golden Kitty, “Catalogue’s” popularity in 2013 proved to Grelyak and Gabriele that they could do more to help animals even after the contest was over.
“Everyone really loved the film, so we started a website to remind people to vote and to share behind the scenes tidbits. It took off and people started reading, and that’s lead to some huge opportunities for us to promote adoption and help homeless pets,” said Grelyak, who runs the site called CatInTheFridge.com. Since 2013, CatInTheFridge.com, which focuses on special needs pets, has garnered several awards, one of which was the Halo BlogPaws Adoption Champion grant that allowed her to donate $2,500 and 5,000 meals to Tree House Humane Society (see our recent post Hope for Stockings) in Chicago. Her posts have lead to several adoptions and match ups, as well as facilitating an international transport to help a paraplegic kitten get to its new home.
Through their involvement in cat films, the team has connections to several of the famous cats of the world, which has helped boost her website’s presence and popularity. The site’s spokescat Crepes, a special needs cat herself, has interviewed Lil Bub and her dude Mike Bridavsky, and shares of her Bachelor of the Week posts on Henri, Le Chat Noir’s Facebook page have earned more than 10,000 page views in just one day.
“The work that we’re able to do after our first round of Catdance has far exceeded what we expected,” said Grelyak. “We hope that our second appearance in Catdance will lead to even more opportunities to do good.”
On January 22nd, the team launched a new web series called “CATastrophes” that functions on the premise that “funny things happen when cats appear.” Each episode will spotlight a topic in adoption and a rescue that the couple feels is doing good work helping pets find homes. Their first film of the series, “MagiCATastrophe,” premiered January 22 at catCATastrophes.com
“We love making films and we love animals,” said Grelyak. “It makes sense for us to try to use our popularity to make more films that could help animals in the process.”
“We hope our work will make more people aware of important topics, like adopting special needs pets, or making sure their kittens are spayed and neutered, but we want to do it in a funny way that will make people want to hear more about it. We feel like it’s a fresh approach to reach viewers who would prefer to laugh instead of having their heart strings tugged,” said Grelyak, who writes the scripts, acts in them, and composes and performs the musical scores.
Gabriele heads up the production team by serving as director, cinematographer, and editor, and he also handles all visual effects and coloring. The pair rely on their circle of friends, which includes talented actors Kris Flanagan, Sara Wolfson, and Theo Hahn, to help round out their films.
“The Inheritance” premiered at the Sundance Channel Head Quarters in Park City, Utah on January 18th, 2014. Viewers can vote at http://FreshStep.com/catdance until February 28th.
Catdance Finalist 2014: The Inheritance
Sometimes inheritances are great, and sometimes they’re Greg. After Sylvia’s aunt dies and leaves Greg the cat in her care, Sylvia changes her lifestyle to suit his needs by providing him with his favorite things, such as a private swimming pool and candlelight massage, until she finds out the truth about her inheritance.
If you’d like to vote for The Inheritance, please visit this link: https://www.freshstep.com/promotions/catdance-festival-2014/play/the-inheritance/
You have to put in your email and a password, but it’s very quick and Freshstep is excellent about not sending unwanted mail to you. Every vote will help us out. Thank you so much! – Alana Grelyak, The Inheritance Writer
Alana is also the creator of ‘Catalogue‘.
Greg in ‘The Inheritance’ is played by Alana’s special little guy named Rocky, who portrayed Felsjat in ‘Catalogue.’