MP reports from the TriBeCa Film Festival 2013, as part of her series on the Paparazzi Diaries. Today’s report – the TriBeca Drive-In.
Over three consecutive chilly but stunning Spring eves, lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City hosted the annual TriBeCa Drive-In, a free community outdoor cinema event of the Tribeca Film Festival with pre-screening games and activities for all ages.
Screenings have included Hitchcock’s The Birds and Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, but it is the world premiere of LIL BUB AND FRIENDZ which has fast become a highlight of the Drive-In, and indeed of the Festival, this year. This documentary, which won the Best Feature Film award at the 2013 Tribeca Online Festival (as voted for by online viewers) follows the internet sensation cat Lil Bub and his fellow cat-lebrities, with a broader look at the online cat video phenomenon from different perspectives, including that of ‘meme-manager’, Ben Lashes (“No one cares about Bart Simpson anymore… This is popular culture.”)
Prior to the film’s start, as the sun was setting on the Hudson River, Bub and owner Mike Bridavsky appeared before their fans in a rather ethereal way, similar to how Bub first appeared on Earth (from space, as per the doco). My three-year-old son got me in closer than did my press badge on this occasion, and we petted the famous feline with other children at the Drive-In (groups of four at a time, please) whilst chatting casually to owner Mike, who, thanks to Lil Bub, has been rescued from financial woe.
As the film reveals, Bub’s cute stumpy legs, inability to walk and permanently protruding tongue, are all due to an underlying severe rare genetic disorder, leaving the cat with a somewhat grim future.
Whilst Mike likes to refer to Bub as ‘Nature’s Happy Accident’, at the same time, I couldn’t help feeling it’s a bit sick (pardon the pun) to be cashing in on this cutie in this way. Having seen Bub’s x-rays on the film trailer, the doctor in me couldn’t resist the temptation of discussing Bub’s diagnosis with Mike, rather than discussing what film he’ll do next. The cat’s diagnosis, obvious from the imaging, is… wait for it… yes, osteopetrosis, which causes dense bones to lead to growth problems, fractures, recurrent infections, and possible deafness and blindness. So we chatted about this for a bit before being scurried away by managers, and before my son could have his own questions answered (“Where is Bub’s real daddy?”).
The film though is overall SUPER CUTE, and despite not personally being a cat-lover, I found Lil Bub GORGEOUS. Hopefully, Bub will be able to get a bone marrow transplant one day.
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