A Special Cat's Tale

Published: October 14, 2021

A Jilted Woman Finds Comfort in the Arms of a Whiskered Antihero in Her Film Short to Be Premiered at the NYC Premiere of the Cat Film Festival

Nevada Caldwell, a media production student at Queensborough Community College, will walk the red carpet in a cat-eared tiara at the NYC (New York City) Premiere of the Cat Film Festival. Her winning film short, Feline Noir, is one of just 25 short films selected from across the country to be featured in the competitive screening, which will take place on October 16 at the Village East by Angelika, 181-189 2nd Avenue, Manhattan.

“This is an incredible honor and I couldn't be more thrilled to participate especially because this is the first time I have submitted one of my films,” said Caldwell, who made the film as part of a class exercise.

She is quick to give credit to her co-star and cat, Kevin. “He is super talented. I have been his agent since I discovered him crying in a dumpster outside my acting class in Tampa, Florida.” Caldwell now lives in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

Caldwell is an actor and has appeared in commercials. She also does voice-overs, writes copy and sometimes bartends. “You need to have a lot of gigs when you're in the performing arts.”

Caldwell first enrolled at Queensborough to major in Massage Therapy. “I was in the course for about a semester but when we went online with the pandemic, I sat down with my husband and thought about what to do next. And then I knew. I love storytelling in all its forms as well as the industry.” Caldwell's first name, Nevada, is itself a fascinating glimpse into her life story. It means snowy in Spanish. She was named after her great-grandmother who was born in a blizzard.

Caldwell took her passion for storytelling and performance background and switched her major to film production.

“Nevada is a great asset to our program,” said Eileen White, a full-time professor in the Queensborough Media Production Program, established in 2018. White is an award-winning filmmaker whose films and videos have been exhibited at numerous festivals.

“We have extremely talented students in the program who bring such diverse experiences to the classroom. There are major economic opportunities in the production field-- hundreds of jobs. An Associate degree allows students to enter the industry in capacities such as gaffers, cinematographers, production accountants, archivists, props managers, location, sound, and assistant sound editors, as well as camera and editorial work and more.”

“The film and media education at Queensborough rivals some of the best schools without a bunch of debt hanging over your head,” said Caldwell, who plans to graduate from Queensborough this semester. “The department is super supportive and challenging in the right way. I was helped a lot when Covid was bad. The education I have received has allowed me to pivot from one career to another in a short period of time.”

Caldwell's film short is an homage to film noir. The plot centers on a jilted woman who finds comfort in the arms of a whiskered antihero.

“I am the co-star but Kevin — in typical cat fashion — has made it all about him.”

Highlights of the film short include long shots of Kevin stealthily walking down a long hallway to a bathroom where Caldwell — dressed in a white taffeta dress— is sitting in a tub, drowning her tears with a bottle in her hand. Kevin jumps onto the toilet seat beside her, tilting his head with a gaze that can only be described as empathy.

Curiously, Kevin has declined walking the red carpet, ‘prefurring' the privacy of his dressing room for the premiere.

Caldwell has, along with many of Queensborough's film production students, streamed her films in conjunction with the dedicated support of Susan Agin, Executive Artistic Director of Queensborough's Performing Arts Center (QPAC).

“We have some great achievers in the program, and I would love to see them be recognized,” said White, who added that Daniel McKleinfeld, Senior College Laboratory Technician in Media and Film was the first to discover Caldwell's talent.

Caldwell has plans to pursue an MFA and aspires to work in the film and production industry.

As for Kevin, he has signed a contract with Caldwell for continued representation. He will undoubtedly receive many additional starring roles. After all, points out Caldwell, he has a great resumeow.

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Contact:  Alice Doyle

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