Catfish is a 2010 American documentary film directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. It involves a young man, Nev, being filmed by his brother and friend, co-directors Ariel and Henry, as he builds a romantic relationship with a young woman on the social networking website Facebook The film was a critical and commercial success. It led to an MTV reality TV series, Catfish: The TV Show. The film is credited with coining the term catfishing: a type of deceptive activity involving a person creating a real social networking presence for nefarious purposes.
In the film, Vince, the husband of the “catfish”, relays a story of how, when live cod were shipped to Asia from North America, the fish’s inactivity in their tanks resulted in only mushy flesh reaching the destination. However, fishermen found that putting catfish in the tanks with the cod kept them active, and thus ensured the quality of the fish.
Vince then states that his wife Angela acts as a catfish, keeping the lives of those around her interesting. The title of the film is based on this dialogue, and it is where the term “to catfish” comes from
Catfish may have generated an impressive buzz when it was unveiled at the Sundance film festival in January, but few, after watching it, could say conclusively what exactly the film was. It appeared to be a documentary. And its star, the 24-year-old New York photographer Yaniv “Nev” Schulman, seemed innocent enough. Yet the story – on the surface a tale of Nev’s online friendship with a prodigiously artistic eight-year-old and her sister – takes a darker twist that to some appeared too good, or too odd, to be true.
The directors of Catfish, 28-year-old Henry Joost and 29-year-old Ariel “Rel” Schulman, Nev’s brother, denied all charges of fraudulence. It hardly matters. Their movie has proved bizarre enough on its own merits to withstand any doubt and dissent. Nearly a year after the Sundance premiere, as the film goes on general release, the mystique around it has only increased.
Indeed, Angela is in many ways the true author of Catfish. She had followed the filmmakers’ work closely in advance