The Handler And The Cat

Average: 3.3 (8 votes)
The Star-Crossed Lovers Movie
Christchurch > 02

Great shooting, editing and story. The connection between the main character and the cat she fell in love with was portrayed really well. How you got the cat to behave and play along so well is beyond me. Great work team!

Great start and middle, I wanted to see more!

Zac Neill

Audio issues let down the overall film. Very strong opening sequence of shots, and I'm a huge sucker for a cute cat.

I appreciate the ULTRA struggle you guys had. How do you tell a story about a cat when its owner can't be a main character? I wish we'd seen more grief from the handler (audio issues may be to blame for that), but maybe that pushes the boundaries of main characterness?

Who knows, but there was obviously a lot of good moments in this film.


A cat that stars in a series of commercials becomes the centre of a question about love vs ownership.

This started strongly with some excellent advertisements, then showed us behind the scenes, a lot of cat cuddling before everything gets ripped away and wrapped up abruptly. As a result, nothing really is developed to any great heights and the impression we get is that it all became too tough to do what you perhaps wanted to do. And, this is all very unfortunate as everything in this film looks really great.

This film looked really really good, some of the audio let it down a little bit as I couldn't actually hear the conversation between actors that well and missed the reason that the cat was taken away. Besides that though, it was a great shot at a difficult task. Well Done!


What an amazing way to incorporate your ultra must haves into that genre. I loved this films cinematography and that cat is the best actor of the night. I think we all fell in love with that cat! Well done, really enjoyable film.

Very nice cinematography and the set-up was great. Some dialogue issues confused the ending and the film seemed to finish a little abruptly, and I hope perhaps there's a further plot twist in there for the Director's Cut...?

Best actual animal ultra made in CHCH good storey albeit brief.
it would have been good if at the end we had just followed the inside the cat cages in a montage in different sets and eventually the handler shows up and steals it. would have helped cement the cat as the main character and added a layer to the love storey without actually needing the cat
Technically good although i think the audio may have peaked at one point

Alexander Jones
city manager

I gotta be honest with you guys, I don't think I've ever been more frustrated with a 48hour film!

This is sort of a backhanded compliment too- because when your film started, I was like "Oh shit. This is gonna win". I was absolutely enamored with the commercials, and then when the story develops to BTS I was like "Yes! This is so good!" and then when the cat gets taken away I was like "Oh boy, central conflict, here we go..." and then your film faded to black and the credits rolled.

Let me just say that I appreciate how difficult this must have been, but my god the results really speak for themselves- not only did you get a well trained cat, the harder of the two most common household pets to get to sit still, to not only meet its mark for the commercials in such a well choreographed way that they 100% looked like real commercials, but then you even got it to growl and dilate its pupils when the villain turns up! Astounding!

This film had everything going for it; fantastic cinematography, a great premise, a beautiful cat and a relationship we immediately invest in, and then we just end.

There's literally a screenwriting term called "Save the cat" which refers to the act of having your character save a cat, or some other helpless victim, so that we immediately know they're a good person. You can see this is plenty of films from "Transformers" to Disney's "Aladdin", and there's even a screenwriting book named after the technique, which is why I was left so baffled that this film just abruptly ends, and the kicker is the entire duration of the film is under 3 minutes at this point, meaning we have plenty of time for a daring escape or rescue in the non-existent third act.

In trying to figure out what happened here, I have 3 theories:
1. Dealing with the cat was just too difficult, which I understand, so you guys just decided to cut the story short.
(if this was the case, the POV shots from inside the cage were working alright, so maybe you could have kept going along those lines)
2. You got caught up on the Ultra clarification that ALL main characters MUST be children/animals, and you couldn't think of a way to ensure the cat stays the lead- if the Handler saved the cat then this could be construed as her story.
(If this was the case, maybe you could have found away so that while the handler chases after the cat, she gets intimidated by the bad guy, and the cat then attacks the bad guy, in essence the cat doing the saving, or you could have done like a "Finding Dory" situation where the cat orchestrates an escape with a bunch of other movie star animals- which is a huge scale attempt I know, so there's probably a better ending here, but hey, I didn't work on the film so I'm just spitballing)
3. You genuinely felt the ending we got was the best way to go, and wanted this Star-Crossed Lovers film to be a tragedy.
(If this was the case, the problem then is not that there's no happy ending, but that there is no closure- I'm fine with the characters never reuniting, but with tragedies you've got to make it all about the message- so if this film emphasized the conflicting nature of life as a celebrity, or how happiness is fleeting, or even something about animal cruelty, then a tragic ending would have suited- though I would have still preferred a happier ending personally, or a least a longer film)

I've tried to reverse micromanage a few films through my reviews now, so to be clear I absolutely understand how infuriating it may be for the city manager to try and come in and fix what you may consider to be a film that doesn't need fixing, so for that I'm very sorry, but rest assured it comes from a place of absolute adoration for the first 2/3rds of your film, and I'm upset that I felt it didn't reach it's full potential, which could have been Christchurch Winner, National Finalist and would have (and maybe still is) my pick for best use of Ultra purely because of how hard cats are to work with.

As for your title, "The Handler and the Cat" has a great star-crossed lovers vibe to it, there's maybe a better title out there but I've already tried to rewrite enough of your film already so I'll cool the jets. Hahaha.