Nineteen years ago, Eleanor Hubbard adopted a calico cat from the Edgartown animal shelter. Tonight, in New York city, that cat is about to get her closeup.
The cat’s name is Ulla, a Norwegian name. Her actual pedigree is unclear, perhaps French, based on her inclination towards the arts and painting. Over the years Ulla has become Ms. Hubbard’s muse and model in the studio.
Last spring, filmmaker Brigitte Cornand of West Tisbury and Paris invited Ms. Hubbard to make a short film about her cat, who is still alive, and their relationship for the second annual New York Cat Art Film Festival. The film is called Art Imitates Cat, which follows on the heels of Ms. Hubbard’s previous work, Art Imitates Ox.
“It took five months of filming for five minutes of film,” she said. “I never realized how far editing could go.”
Lynn Chrisophers, a local photographer, was also asked to submit a short film. Ms. Christophers opted for one long shot, à la Martin Scorsese and his epic tracking shot in Goodfellas. Her entry was filmed in 1998 and features her now deceased cat, Priscilla.
“It shows her cleaning herself for eight minutes,” Ms. Christophers explained. “She was a good cleaner.”
The film is called The Long Take.
Ms. Christophers has a history making cat films, having done numerous feline inspired video’s in the 1990s and screening them at a gallery in Soho.
Of The Long Take, and watching a closeup of Priscilla at her toilette, she says, “It becomes a kind of abstraction.”
The film festival features many other original shorts by off-Island artists. It also opens with archival footage of the artists Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, and Piet Mondrian together in the studio playing with a kitten.
The festival begins at 7 p.m. tonight at the Anthology Film Archives located at 32 Second avenue and Second street in New York City.
Hopefully, the next time Ms. Cornand is on the Vineyard she will provide a hometown screening.
— Bill Eville