In this deeply personal documentary EAT YOUR CATFISH we meet the matriarch of the Arjomand family, Kathryn, now dependent on round-the-clock care, due to a harrowing diagnosis. She clings to a mordant wit while yearning to witness her daughter’s wedding. Co-directors and producers Adam Isenberg, Senem Tüzen and Noah Amir Arjomand — who is Kathryn’s son — deliver a brutally frank and darkly humorous portrait of a family teetering on the brink, grappling with the daily demands of disability and in-home caregiving. With her daughter Minou’s wedding day approaching, Kathryn is determined to live to see her child get married. Years with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease, have left Kathryn paralyzed and needing 24-hour care. She relies on an eye-tracking, speech-generating computer to impart her wishes, but it can be an uphill struggle to be ‘heard’. With her mind intact and having opted for mechanical breathing, she could live like this indefinitely. EAT YOUR CATFISH is draws on 930 hours of footage – all filmed without any crew present from a fixed camera and narrated by Kathryn. The result is a profoundly intimate, layered and wryly funny portrait of a family at its breaking point. Co-directors Noah Amir Arjomand & Adam Isenberg (Senem Tüzen) joins us to talk about the ways this film project came about, why they adopted the POV approach to telling the story and how seeing the world from the point-of-view Kathryn could positively impact other family’s dealing with a loved one in a comparable medical condition.
EAT YOUR CATFISH makes its national broadcast premiere on POV Monday, July 24, 2023 at 10pm ET/ 9pm CT (check local listings) and will be available to stream at pbs.org, and the PBS App until October 22, 2023. In addition to standard closed captioning for the film, POV, in partnership with audio description service DiCapta, provides real time audio interpretations. EAT YOUR CATFISH is produced by Zela Film. Adam Isenberg, Senem Tüzen and Noah Amir Arjomand are the co-directors and producers. Noah Amir Arjomand is the cinematographer. Adam Isenberg and Senem Tüzen are the editors. Erika Dilday and Chris White are the executive producers for American Documentary | POV.
EAT YOUR CATFISH made its world premiere in 2021 at IDFA in the Envision Competition and received a nomination for Best Documentary. In 2022, the film won Best Documentary at the Istanbul International Film Festival and won Best International Documentary at the Antenna Documentary Festival. The same year it was also nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and Turkish Film Critics Association (SIYAD) Awards. The documentary also received a nomination for the Youth Jury Award at the 2022 Sheffield International Documentary Festival.
“An unusually unsentimental, everyday document of ALS, tender in the expressly painful manner of a fresh bruise.” – Guy Lodge, Variety
“Intimate, brutally honest…crucially, the film gives Kathryn a platform to tell – and indeed show – her story, in her own unique way. Her lingering hope is that viewers don’t think she’s pathetic, but plucky. Painstakingly edited by Adam Isenberg and Senem Tüzen, this film grants her that wish.” – Nikki Baughan, Screen International