$50,000 Worth of Cute: Catdance Film Winner & Exclusive Pics!

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

The Catdance Film Festival Winner is…“Ricky” UCLA MFA Candidate and Filmmaker Simon Savelyev wins $50,000 Grand Prize and the Coveted Golden Litter Scoop

2014 Catdance Film Festival Winner

The competition was as fierce as a cat fight but after thousands of votes and film views, The Fresh Step Catdance Film Festival viewer’s choice winner in the category of best scripted, original cat film is “Ricky.” Filmmaker Simon Savelyev’s film tells the story of his cat Ricky, adopted from a shelter cat as a kitten and finds a forever home and a dog friend named Romy. Willa, Savelyev’s 8-year-old neighbor who narrates the film as Ricky brought the cute factor to an all time high. Visit Simon Savelyev to see the unbearably sweet alternative version.

catdance ricky kitten

Catdance winner 2014 Ricky with Romy

“I was honored to be chosen as a Catdance Film Festival finalist and I am even more honored that feline fans everywhere picked ‘Ricky’ as their favorite,” said Savelyev. “I plan to continue creating cat-inspired films for all cat lovers to enjoy, as well as donate a portion of my winnings to a local shelter and the college fund of my neighbor who lent her sweet voice to the film.”

Actor and one of America’s sexiest cat lovers, Gilles Marini, took the stage at the Catdance Film Festival to introduce “Ricky” and the other finalist films, which spanned the spectrum of genres, including a drama where a cat plots to outsmart his family in “The Clever Cat,” a detective story in “who done it” noir style in “Dirty Paws: A Feline Noir,” a music video about a feline fantasy world in “Dreams are Real,” and my favorite, “The Inheritance” a clever comedy about a couple who inherits a cat from a deceased relative with unexpected repercussions by Alana Grelyak and Michael Gabriele, a husband and wife filmmaking team.

Their first cat-centric film “Catalogue” collected almost half a million views on YouTube, was featured in Catdance 2013, and was picked up by the Internet Cat Video Festival, organized by the Walker Art Center, and is currently on tour across the US and internationally. It placed runner-up for the People’s Choice Golden Kitty Award and has appeared on Good Morning America and NPR. Their second film, “The Inheritance,” was featured in Catdance 2014 and is currently up for an award for Best Film in the BlogPaws Nose to Nose awards. Their new web series “CATastrophes” features a couple that accidentally acquires a cat and turns into a comedic situation, and each episode features a cat rescue that the couple feels is doing good work helping pets find homes.

Catdance 2014 winner Simon V.

Kittens are cute but they grow up and become cats which can sometimes be even cuter (see Ricky as an adult). It’s something to keep in mind when considering adoption. Savelyev, seen here with Ricky and Romy.

catdance winner Ricky

The film’s powerful message focused on how adopting a shelter cat can bring love and happiness to a family.

It’s spring, and kitten season has begun. Unwanted kittens and cats are filling up shelters everywhere. It’s time to spay/neuter and adopt.


For more information on pet adoption please visit To find a shelter near you, visit, where you can search for pets of every description, learn about pet care and how you can help cats in your community.



  • Linda Barron

    Fresh step probably could have run the contest better, but the most disappointing part of this contest was the constant snark and bad attitude of Alana Grelyak. She made many disparaging remarks about this film, and continues to do so.

    I used to enjoy reading her blog, and I liked her film, but she really made it hard when she was making disparaging remarks about a kitten and a child.

    Losing never feels good, but a little bit of grace could have saved her dignity.

      • Linda Barron

        I completely agree. And based on the quality, simplicity, exceptional framing, and allowing the animals tell a story about how wonderful they are, Ricky would have won by a long shot.

        In all fairness, Ricky told a story of what a sweet blessing a cat/kitten can be. Inheritance just made it seem like cats are high maintenance burdens.

        My personal favorite was neither of these two films. But it sickened me to read all of the comments alana made about the other films, for the second year in a row. Especially this one, as she probably saw it as the only competitor.

        Thank you for posting about kittens. They are euthanized before adult cats in a shelter, and that is why I loved Ricky.

  • Connie Marie

    Congratulations to the winner! From comments alot wanted another film to win, but they were all cute!! Spay & Neuter is the important message. It was kinda snarky for someone to say she hopes a shelter gets some of the money when the Winner announced he was going to Donate to a Shelter!!!! Be gracious enough to be happy for who Did Win.

  • Crepes

    Congrats to the winner, even tho it wasn’t MomFOD. I hope some homeless kitties are going to get some meals and nice donations out of it! – Crepes.

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    If the film is about a cat and conveys a good positive message then all else pales.
    Thank you Layla for the reminder about Spay/Neuter and Shelters and Adoption.
    We don’t always like or agree with things but the main thing is always the cats and the messages associated with them for the greater good.
    Happy Spring!!!!!
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig and Peanut and Romeo >^..^<

  • Kathryn

    The competition is so fierce. The link to see the film is broken. I would love to see the winning film…..if you can find a way to get it to work…

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