This feature is a part of Lil BUB Week. Unfortunately, today is the last day!
We are so sad to say this, but it's the last day of Lil BUB Week. It was fun while it lasted, and we learned a lot about her, but even good, magical things like week-long cat coverage come to an end. To end it on a positive note, we have an interview with the co-director of Lil BUB & Friendz, which premiered last night at the TriBeCa film festival. She discusses the making of the documentary in addition to cats and memes online. After you read it, catch up with the other features we did earlier in the week to celebrate Lil BUB, the most amazing cat in the world.
There were over 10,000 people from all over the world who had come just to watch cat videos online on a big screen.
How did you discover Lil BUB before there was ever an idea to do a documentary?
Discovering BUB was actually through VICE. One of our editors had done a post on BUB with a video of hers. Normally I would never watch cat videos, and that wasn’t something that I was really up on. I watched our video, and I was like, "Holy shit, this cat is awesome."
It wasn’t actually there that it all started, though. I heard about the Internet Cat Video Festival in Minneapolis last year, and to me it was amazing and hilarious that a museum was putting on a festival devoted to cat videos. So I pitched an idea to make a 10-minute piece on it for VICE, to meet crazy cat people, and I thought it could be fun to get a celebrity cat on board. Knowing that we had worked with BUB before, I just reached out and Mike who was totally down and ended up coming with us. So that was when I first met BUB for real, and it was love at first sight. Honestly, we just loved that cat immediately, and we knew that she had an interesting story and that it could be more than just a little video with her, so we kept going.
How long did it take to get everything together and filmed?
Mike was a fan of VICE, so it was easy to get him to agree to going to the festival with us and letting us film him. We got along with him really well, so he invited us back to his home with BUB. Overall, it was five months of filming, and it was just laughs the entire time. We were having the best time ever doing this whole project, and we met a lot of interesting people outside of BUB’s immediate family. We hung out with Grumpy Cat, Ben Lashes (and all the celebrity memes who he manages), so that was cool. We also met with a bunch of people who are semi-experts on the whole Internet and social media cat craze, so that was also really interesting.
Did you conceive the idea to tell the stories of many different memes and cats through BUB, or did that just sort of happen naturally?
BUB was always our go-to. There was definitely something there without BUB. That festival was the most ridiculous event I’ve ever been to in my entire life. There were over 10,000 people from all over the world who had comejust to watch cat videos online on a big screen. That, to me, was the huge eye opener in realizing that this is relevant. Cats are total pop icons for some of these people, who spend hours watching them online. But BUB was the obvious star of the film, and we got along so well with her owner. She is just the most amazing creature on the planet, so yeah, she is definitely the star. She is our little starlet, for sure.
This is the next step in what I we see as pop culture icons. These cats are almost replacing our previous pop culture icons.
What’s your opinion both within the documentary and otherwise on how people have become inspired by animals they see online?
It's really interesting. This is the next step in what I we see as pop culture icons. These cats are almost replacing our previous pop culture icons. I feel like BUB, Grumpy Cat, and Nyan Cat are like the new Hello Kitties. They are like the new Garfields, but even more so than that. They have followings, like Twitter followers and Instagram followers in the millions; their Youtube videos are totally surpassing most other famous peoples' views. It’s cool to see how you can now make something famous, or you can be famous via the Internet, and it doesn’t have to be a human. A cat can be like an indie rock band with its own Youtube channel and selling merchandise; people can make money off of it.
I thought that part in the documentary when they said BUB was selling more merch than Bon Iver was incredible. People are going to be stunned.
It was crazy to hear about that [Laughs].
Who were the craziest people you met during the making of the documentary?
We met some crazy characters who were kind of trying to make their cat famous in regards to how BUB is famous. There are people out there who are trying to follow in BUB’s footsteps and make their cats famous online, but they don’t all have that special look BUB has, so good luck to them [Laughs].
What was the overarching message you were trying to convey with this documentary?
To make a fun, heartwarming movie about a cat. I wanted people to really like it and come out of the theater laughing and crying and being able to relate to it to a certain extent. Everybody has had a pet and knows how they feel about their pet, so it's highly relatable. What was most interesting to me was this new Internet that people are starting to really understand better—like how you can be famous online.
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