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Talking with Cat Hartwell!

Tell us how you would describe what you do, and how you refer to yourself/your craft? Where can we find info about you (website) and where can we follow you on social media?

I consider myself a storyteller. As a musician in my bands Holy Hail and Next Nikki, stories would always drive my songs.  Now as a documentary film/tv producer I help tell other people's stories.

most recent music: www.nextnikkiforever.com

dj radio show: www.viva-radio.com/closetjams

Twitter + Instagram: catcathart

Where did you spend your childhood? What is unique about that place? (Is there something that only that place has, did someone famous come from there... etc?)

I grew up in various places in the American South but Florida is what I consider "home". As much as it gets a bad rap for crazy people in the news (all true btw), the beaches down there are truly magical.

You have spent time in the music industry, in a band! Now you work in film... Tell us about this journey!

This might be a chicken before the egg thing for me. I grew up as a teen shyly singing and playing guitar but also really loving photography. In college I studied film but then I spent some years after that as a working musician in bands. Having bounced back and forth between the two worlds, it's pretty awesome to be fully immersed in telling these true stories of other peoples’ lives. But I also find that my life as a musician and the places I've traveled for that really helps inform my work as a filmmaker - especially when traveling in the field.

What has been the most ridiculously funny/coincidental thing that's happened in your career?   

Hmm. Years ago I was working on a summer countdown show for MTV one summer and I am secretly terrified of heights. Cut to being forced to ride a weird ride that juts out from the top roof deck of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas (which is the tallest building west of the Mississippi) for a film shoot. It was insane and I pretty much had a heart attack.

Like many of the other people we feature, you travel a lot for work and for pleasure - where is the best place you've ever visited?  

My favorite trip from recent memory involves an incredibly beautiful wedding in Greece and later holding my childhood bestie's hand because as I mentioned I am a gigantic wimp when it comes to heights, and jumping off a cliff in Crete. I'm a big fan of facing your fears head on apparently.

It's still kind of cold in New York right now, but Summer is coming ... What's the best thing about New York in the summer?

Bike rides and BBQs.

Tell us about your typical Saturday in New York - where do you go? Eat? Have a coffee? Hang out?

I have Saturdays on lockdown for most of the summer because I am a huge jock/nerd and play on an adult softball team "jazz brunch" coached by the hilarious Max Wowch. After games I usually have beers with the team and other friends in Greenpoint and bike or walk back to Chinatown where I live.

In my hood, I am fueled by the coffee at Cafe Vita or Happy Bones and the drinks at Cafe Dancer, Forgtmenot and An Choi (for snack attacks too).

What is your favorite record, and why?

This changes way too much but it is safe to say Fleetwood Mac anything because to me they are timeless. My big sisters loved them, I love them, my 16 year old niece now loves them. There is always a song that suits my mood.

Who is your favorite director? Why were they impactful to you?  

I have the same issues with directors that I do with music and I really struggle with favorite anythings. But I love scary/horror/psychological thrillers probably the most of any genre and The Shining is definitely one of my all time favorite movies. In addition to it being terrifying, I feel like every time I watch it - even after more viewings than I can count- there is something new to me that I didn't catch before. Stanley Kubrick is really good at that -I loved his exhibit at LACMA back in 2013...

Talk about the watch you got, what do you like most about it?  

I love this watch because it feels like a classic piece. It has a nice heavy weight to it, and I am drawn to the black leather and the gold. Bonus- it helps me remember what day of the week it is: something I constantly am struggling with. I've been wearing this watch every day since I got it.

If you could go anywhere, any time past/future/present - where would you go and why? 

I am dying to go to Morocco but it would have been particularly special to go in the late 1960s when all of my musical/artistic heroes from that time were spending time there.

Cat Hartwell is a New York-based documentary film/tv producer and musician (Holy Hail and Next Nikki). You can tune into her DJ radio show,  and follow her on twitter and instagram


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