Gabriel Ponniah, Editor In Chief
ATX Screen Scene
The love we share for our pets is simple, elegant. It’s freely given and freely received, and even when it isn’t exactly reciprocated (cat owners know this well), the result is no worse than endearing indignation. Love between humans on the other hand, is somewhat more complicated. To express romantic feelings for another is a leap of faith, and one which carries considerable social and emotional risk. So then, it’s no wonder these two loves so often entangle themselves in one another; whose pet hasn’t served as de facto wingman when duty calls? The narrative short Furball imagines this dynamic, but with a twist: we watch a man flounder in pursuit of his neighbor’s affection, all through the eyes of his house cat.
Owing to their twelve-to-sixteen-hour daily sleep regimen, cats are often anthropomorphized as lethargic, unconcerned, and judgemental. Any delicate item in a precarious place isn’t long for this world in a cat owner’s house. Their mischievous curiosity is well-documented and therefore used as characterization in storytelling. Here, director Jason Rogerson utilizes this familiar trope when writing Furball’s inner monologue, which provides the short with its light-hearted, quirky tone. While it’s not strictly necessary to move the plot along, it colors the atmosphere while fleshing out the feline lead actor’s performance. Every character has a purpose, and multiple simultaneous threads maintain tension throughout—efficient filmmaking at work.
Ultimately, Furball makes for a fun romp told with workmanlike precision. The sturdy narrative employs familiar, yet effective twists, and the editing, pacing, and tone round out the project into a solid six-minute short. It’s no surprise the execution comes with such ease to Rogerson here, as his NYU education and sketch comedy chops have been thoroughly honed over the course of the last decade. Perhaps he’ll again set his sights on the intertwined relationships between humans and their pets into future projects, possibly for his third feature film.