Catfish (2010)



"A manipulator is what my husband calls me," she said. "But yeah, I manipulate and it's not right. ... I never thought I'd become so entangled in it."
Angela Wesselman, whose real identity is not revealed until the end of the movie, was a troubled housewife who spent the bulk of her days caring for two severely handicapped stepsons and building an elaborate web of online deception until it all spun out of control.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News' "20/20," Wesselman admitted that she's a mastermind of deception.
Spoiler alert
Catfish may have generated an impressive buzz when it was unveiled at Sundance film festival in January, but few, after watching it, could say conclusively what exactly the film was. It appeared to be a documentary. And its star, the 24-year-old New York photographer Yaniv "Nev" Schulman, seemed innocent enough. Yet the story – on the surface a tale of Nev's online friendship with a prodigiously artistic eight-year-old and her sister – takes a darker twist that to some appeared too good, or too odd, to be true.
It was meant to be a touching documentary about a budding online relationship. But all was not as it seemed. Was it a hoax? And if so, who was fooling who?
Catfish begins with Nev receiving a package at the New York office he shares with Henry and Rel. An eight-year-old girl named Abby, from the Michigan town of Ishpeming, has sent him a painting – a muted, pastel-coloured rendering of one of Nev's published photographs. It's an unconventional gift, but Nev is flattered, and impressed by the child's obvious talent. He encourages her – and she in turn posts him her latest works, hot off the easel. Eventually, they add one each other as friends on Facebook, where 


Nev is also accepted into his pen pal's social circle – her teenage siblings, her parents Angela and Vince, the babysitter Noelle, even the local art dealer, Tim. Nev's friends (the flesh-and-blood ones) warn him that it could all be a scam. But Abby has already sent Nev a share of her winnings from a local art competition, to repay his encouragement. What kind of con-artist gives money to their victims rather than taking it?

As the unlikely friendship grows, Henry and Rel document the New York side of this correspondence on the tiny digital camcorders that they always carry about their person. "For the first eight months, we thought it had the makings of a short film," Henry says when I meet him and Nev in a London hotel. "It was really Rel who had the instinct to start filming early on, and he was just waiting to see where it went. It could've been about Abby and Nev meeting up in real life, a cute friendship that comes out of the internet. That would've been a pretty good film, you know? A 10-minute short. Then Megan enters the picture. And that's when I started getting interested, too."

Megan is Abby's flirtatious but naive 19-year-old sister, and Nev, a handsome but apparently shy young man, quickly falls for her.



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