About Eat Your Catfish

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Kathryn’s ALS has left her paralyzed and her family’s relations in tatters, but she holds on to see her daughter’s wedding. With dark humor and extraordinary intimacy, this film probes the breakdown of a family’s bonds and of a woman’s will to live. Co-directed by IU postdoctoral fellow Noah Amir Arjomand with Adam Isenberg and Senem Tüzen, with an original score composed by Jacobs School of Music alumnus and Jon Vickers Scoring Award winner Daniel Whitworth.


“The filmmakers have given [Kathryn] full agency and expression in a portrait that never treats her as a victim or a martyr. … They have fashioned an unusually unsentimental, everyday document of ALS, tender in the expressly painful manner of a fresh bruise.” – Guy Lodge, Variety


Adam Isenberg's debut documentary, A Life Without Words (2011), told the story of two deaf siblings in rural Nicaragua who had been denied access to a sign-language community. Like Eat Your Catfish, it explored complex family dynamics, limits of communication, and questions of belonging. During 10 years living in Turkey, Isenberg hosted and, along with Senem Tüzen, co-created and co-directed the long-running travel documentary series Adem’in Seyir Defteri on Turkish State television. He co-produced and co-edited Tüzen’s debut fiction feature Motherland (2015), which premiered in Venice and earned two FIPRESCI prizes, among other accolades.

Noah Amir Arjomand is a sociologist and the Mark Helmke Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Media, Development, and Democracy at Indiana University’s Hamilton Lugar School. Noah’s photography has been published in The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and PBS Frontline. Cambridge University Press recently published his first book, Fixing Stories, on news fixers who assist foreign journalists in Turkey and Syria. Eat Your Catfish is his film debut.

Kathleen R. Gilbert, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Department of Applied Health Science in the IUB School of Public Health. She has taught and conducted research in the field of thanatology (death, dying, and bereavement) for over 30 years. Her scholarly and academic background has focused on individual and family resilience and ways in which individuals and families cope with and make sense of both death and non-death losses. Her research interests are varied and, among others, include loss and bereavement in the family, social dynamics within the family following the death of a family member, and loss and grief experienced by third-culture kids. She currently serves on the Board of the National Widowers’ Organization.

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