'Catfish' Star, Filmmakers Hook Careers in Hollywood

Hot Online Romance Takes Surreal Twist
Share
Copy

More than a year since the documentary-thriller "Catfish" made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival, the New York hipsters behind the film have found themselves neck-deep in Hollywood.

Nev Schulman -- the handsome New York photographer whose twisted, shocking online romance is painstakingly chronicled by the film -- told "20/20" he's been "very busy with a couple of different projects." Schulman said he spent last June filming a pilot for an upcoming reality TV show he will be hosting for MTV about social networking and online dating.

He said he is also working for an organization called Our Time to develop a social identity and campaigns for the "Y" generation. In his spare time, Schulman has created several short films for his Facebook page.

Schulman's fellow "Catfish" filmmakers, brother Ariel "Rel" Schulman and friend Henry Joost were hired to direct Paranormal Activity 3 which will premiere in theaters Oct. 21. The horror movie is presented in a documentary-style and at times embraces the home video techniques used in "Catfish."

But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Ariel Schulman and Joost. Last December, Threshold Media Corp filed a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court against the young filmmakers, distributors Universal and Relativity Media for allegedly refusing to pay licensing fees for a song featured in the film. "All Downhill From Here" by singer-songwriter Amy Kuney appears once in a pivotal scene and is then played in its entirety during the closing credits. More recently, another copyright lawsuit -- related to a different song featured in the film -- was reportedly filed in the U.K.

The producers of "Catfish" claim that it was "fair use" of the Kuney song copyright because it is in the context of a real-life documentary. The plaintiffs, meanwhile, have contended that the film is a work of fiction and fair use doesn't apply. If the lawsuit makes it to court, questions about whether "Catfish" is an authentic documentary -- an issue that has dogged the film since its initial release -- may be resolved.

The Women of 'Catfish'

The two women thrust into the spotlight by "Catfish" have also seen their lives change.

Angela Wesselman -- who now goes by Angela Pierce -- struggled to find support for her art until she posed as an 8-year-old named Abby and her fictional older sister "Megan," the online persona that sparked Schulman's infatuation. Pierce has since developed a growing group of admirers with over 3,000 fans of her Facebook art page . One fan commented, "I can't help feeling glad that I've been able to find your art on [Facebook] after seeing the film you were in."

Aimee Gonzales, the model whose image was used by Pierce to disguise her identity, has embraced her alter-ego "Megan" and now has more than 4,900 friends on Facebook in part because her profile appears in all searches for "Megan Faccio." Gonzales has continued to pursue her modeling career with Model Mayhem, established her own photography company, and works as a bartender at Tiger Bar in Portland, Ore. She is also raising her two children. Gonzales touts her role in the controversial film on her various websites and "highly recommends" the film.

"Catfish" was released on iTunes and DVD earlier this year.

ABC News' Thomas Berman contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...