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Spartanburg-made film named best documentary at NYC film festival

Ross Norton //September 11, 2023//

Spartanburg-made film named best documentary at NYC film festival

Ross Norton //September 11, 2023//

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CatWalk FurBaby, a 42-minute documentary meant to chronicle the passion and perseverance of women changemakers coming together to put on a spectacular kickoff for New York Fashion Week, was a winner Sept. 7 at the New York City International Fashion Film Festival.

Elysian won Best Fashion Documentary for the Spartanburg-made film at its inaugural festival showing, which featured the premiere of CatWalk FurBaby at the Dolby Screening Room in Manhattan. The film also placed second in the Social Media/People’s Choice Award. Elysian is an international luxury lifestyle brand aimed at women over 40.

“What an incredible privilege to win Best Fashion Documentary in an international contest that featured giants like Prada, Gucci, UGG, Vogue, and Ferragamo, to name a few,” Elysian Publisher Karen Floyd, the film’s executive producer, said in a news release. “Thanks to an explosion of online support from around the world, Elysian placed second in the Social Media/People’s Choice Award to Vouge Italia, which has 7.5 million Instagram followers. It was a long road to that runway at the iconic Sony Hall, a true David-and-Goliath experience. We are forever grateful.”

Conceived, executed and produced primarily in South Carolina, CatWalk FurBaby is the first in a planned series of documentaries on a broad range of topics.

“We are proud of the hard work the team behind CatWalk FurBaby poured into this project, and we congratulate them on the well-deserved success and accolades they are receiving,” Duane Parrish, director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, said in the news release. “South Carolina’s film industry is full of passion and creativity, and it’s thrilling to see that formally recognized in award categories that feature talented nominees from around the world.”

CatWalk FurBaby tells the story of an idea that began in Spartanburg and expanded to include women across the country in the creative, philanthropic and scientific spaces — all of whom were intrinsically drawn to making a difference at the intersection of animal welfare and fashion, the release stated.

“To have a project that was produced in Spartanburg with a primarily local crew is an enormous win for film in the Upstate,” said South Carolina Film Commissioner Matt Storm. “We’re working hard to expand our home-grown film industry to every corner of the state — from the mountains to the coast — and projects like CatWalk FurBaby are critical to driving that momentum forward. We are ‘feline’ good about the future, and looking forward to celebrating more success with the CatWalk team.”

The inaugural CatWalk FurBaby partnered with the Bissell Pet Foundation to distribute grant money to the participating rescues. With nearly 6,000 shelter and rescue partners, this national foundation is committed to ending pet homelessness and finding a home for every pet, impacting 665,000 pets since its inception in 2011.

“With so many pets at risk in shelters across the country, Bissell Pet Foundation was honored to partner with Elysian on the inaugural CatWalk FurBaby event to bring awareness to our lifesaving work, as well as the incredible work of 10 deserving shelters,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of Bissell Pet Foundation. “We are thrilled the documentary was selected as a finalist in this year’s New York City International Fashion Film Festival and hope it will do even more to spread the message that the best place to find your next pet is at your local animal shelter.”

DRC Ventures, headed by Christina Rahm, was the fashion show’s title sponsor. Rahm and her husband, Clayton Thomas, served as co-producers of the film. Rahm, the founder of DRC Ventures – a company whose mission is to create sustainable solutions that challenge the status quo creatively, scientifically, and artistically – walked the runway alongside her models during CatWalk FurBaby, unveiling the Enviremware line from Merci Dupre Clothiers.

Elysian launched in 2015 and has evolved into a comprehensive multimedia brand that includes print, digital, film, podcasting, social media and commerce.