Cats and Dogs is a poetic fairy tale about a young love affair between two opposites.

Cats and Dogs tells a tale of two young lovers who meet at a masked ball. They start an intense love affair, inspired by their differences. The story is told in a poetic fashion; playfully exposing the difference between the solitary and the needy; the mysterious and the enthusiastic; the cat and the dog. Will they be able to truly take off their masks and find love?

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

When covid disrupted my working life, I felt it was time to start working on a short. I came across these short poems I had written about a cat and a dog. They dated from a period when I was definitely a dog, trying to be with someone who was definitely a cat. I loved the simplicity of the analogy and decided that it would be a nice challenge to work it into a short story; written from both perspectives.

I became inspired by classic children’s books about animals. In these books, every page has a single verse with a single illustration. This became the stylistic approach for each scene; using wide, symmetrical shots to support each poetic phrase. While maintaining the childish and simplistic tone of voice, I wanted to create a story that would still convey the complexities of an impossible relationship.

Writing this film was all about combining simple words, with simple images and simple melodies to create the narrative for a complex love story. None of these elements were supposed to tell the entire story, but the combinations had to be magical, interesting, witty or unexpected. Also, it was important to keep room for the viewer to read between the lines and find their own narrative.

How did you go about casting your Cat and Dog?

My producer, Yanna, did a great job in finding the cast. We wanted to create a world that was as universal as possible and we took that into account during casting. This means that we were looking for actors without very outspoken looks or ethnicities. The dog, obviously, had to have puppy eyes and longer hair. The cat we were looking for had mysterious eyes and dark hair.

Obviously a lot of sayings can be said about Cats & Dogs, some much dirtier than others. How did you decide where to draw the line in terms of obscenity?

Haha, okay well… It came as a natural disciscion to me to keep things elegant and cryptic. In other words, I wanted the audience to deliver the punchline for the sexscene themselves. Besides, the entire idea behind this film was to create this puzzle where you have to combine the spoken word with the images shown to find the underlying meaning of the scene. Otherwise the piece would have become blunt or simple, I think.

You also composed the music for the film, how did you simultaneously create the music and story?

I graduated as a composer many years ago, but lost interest and started filmmaking. Over the years, music started to play an increasingly profound role in my filmmaking. Since this project was an experiment in combining poetry, cinema and music, it became an ultimate challenge for me to try and score the film too.

Writing the music was an absolute dream. I kept a ‘musical diary’ from the very beginning, containing bits of melodies and sounds. During the writing process I would go back and forth from the script to the piano. Music actually became a tool to solve scenes and to keep the story moving. Before shooting, the main musical theme was there and I remember playing it on the old piano during the shoot.

I’ve been a musician all my life, but I’ve never had a better reason to compose. I absolutely loved it.

What has this film thought you about filmmaking?

It taught me about following through on simplicity. Strict rules evoke creativity. I truly believe that. It taught me to trust my intuition. Inspiration can come from anywhere and it should. I don’t think you should educate yourself as a filmmaker by solely studying cinema. I’ve had quite some conversations with cineast purists that didn’t like the film. They would say it’s not drama or it’s not cinema. I believe there is an audience for anything that resonates with you. This project has taught me that.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?

Trust your intuition and follow through on your ideas. You will find an audience.