Award-winning “Catnip Nation,” a 75-minute documentary about Good Samaritans who will do just about anything – including fight in court and overthrow political rivals – to care for feral cats, will screen at the New Hope Film Festival at 6 p.m. July 26.
Tickets at Newhopefilmfestival.com.
The film weaves together three main stories, about people who live miles apart and come from different walks of life, and invites viewers into a world of advocacy, political wrangling, and legal intrigue.
• Sue and Ray Jones are a 75-year-old couple in Augusta, Kansas, facing $5,000 in fines and 14 days jail time for putting a bowl of water out for a handful of feral cats living in an alley behind their store.
• Stanley Lombardo of Oceanside, N.Y., has been barred from his 30-year post as a volunteer at the local landfill where he cared for a colony of 40 abandoned cats, and was forced to watch helplessly as the town supervisor denied these cats any access to food and water, while threatening to arrest anyone for trespassing who attempted to save the cats’ lives.
• New Jersey’s Ken Salerno was the colony caretaker for 65 cats living under the Seaside Heights boardwalk when the newly elected mayor put out an executive order to kill all of the cats.
These stories are not unique. There are over 90 million feral cats in the United States, and without any laws in place to protect community cats, colony caretakers are most vulnerable, whether it’s being followed by unmarked vans at night or being put on high alert by the local law enforcement.
“Catnip Nation” also focuses on the big picture solution of trap, neuter, return, as well as animal cruelty prevalence, shelter cronyism, and political retaliation.
“Catnip Nation” is the winner of Best Documentary at the Big Apple Film Festival in New York and the Hoboken International Film Festival in New Jersey in 2019 and the Audience Choice Award for the Kansas International Film Festival.
Tina Traster, director/producer/writer, is a socially-conscious, award-winning journalist, author, and filmmaker. Lennon Nersesian, producer/writer/editor, is a writer, award-winning film editor, and producer.