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‘Goat Story’ Director on His Voluptuous Heroine Katie Becoming Summer’s Viral Star



Who is the breakout CGI starlet of the summer? It certainly isn’t Ruby Gillman, the “teenage kraken” that gurgled at the box office this weekend. The Little Mermaid? Try again. No, the animated ingenue that has captured internet users’ hearts is Katie (voiced by Mahulena Bocanová) — the buxom, blonde love interest from Goat Story: The Old Prague Legends. And what is Goat Story, you may ask? It’s an independent animated film from the Czech Republic released in 2008 that — for some inconclusive reason — has become a social media sensation in 2023.

The movie, available to Watch on YouTube, is set in the early 1400s and tells the story of a Czech peasant named Jemmy (Matej Hádek) who comes to Prague with his goat to help build the city’s Astronomical Clock. (The actual clock has since become a tourist mecca for Goat Story lovers.) Jemmy meets Katie; Jemmy falls for Katie; Jemmy nearly loses Katie to a public execution.

Strange clips of Katie batting her eyelashes and getting carted off to the gallows with a sack over her head have provided Twitter, TikTok and Reddit users with the raw materials for a seemingly infinite number of memes, remixes and reaction gifs. Katie’s runaway popularity has been attributed to everything from “high, big-boobed camp” to “The way she combines ridiculous over-sexualization with a total lack of normal sex appeal.”

Whatever the reason, Katie is an unlikely star. For more answers, The News84Media tracked down the man who dreamed her up: Goat Story writer-director Jan Tománek.

Jan Tomanek

Courtesy of Subject

I recently started noticing clips of a buxom, blue-eyed woman on Twitter. I assumed it was from some video game, but my friend told me it’s your movie, Goat Story! First of all, what is Goat Story about? And who is this woman, Katie, in the plot?

Katie (Máca in Czech) is the main female character who falls in love with the main character. It’s actually a kind of stylized image of a Czech girl — in our country it’s called “blood and milk.” [The expression “krev a mlíko” literally means blood and milk and refers to a healthy complexion. It is used to describe rosy-cheeked country girls brimming with health.]

It’s interesting how a lot of people have a problem with the stylization that a character has big breasts. But with an animated character, character traits need to be exaggerated. It’s hypocrisy. A big nose isn’t a problem, but big boobs offend some people. Almost every American animated kids movie has some violence, people fighting. There’s not a speck of violence in it Goat Story and yet because of the big breasts, which are natural, it got a PG-13 rating. Yet violence does not matter in America.

How did Goat Story come to be?

I spent more than five years of my life with each of the two films, and both films were made with a small team of people. I wrote the script, directed the films and did the artwork. I set up a 3D graphics studio and I also produced and financed both films myself. We did the Goat Story movies with only about 15 3D graphics and animators. That’s a number of people who don’t even do opening credits at Pixar.

But that allowed me real freedom and I could make the movie I wanted. A huge number of people appreciated that, but a huge number of people just resented that freedom — that I was allowed to do something different than Pixar does, and differently than it’s supposed to be done.

Did it get a US release?

Yes, the film was sold to about 30 territories, including the US, and the dubbing was done in six or seven languages. But the sales were mainly DVD, VOD and TV. It was only in cinemas in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and then various international festivals.

What was its original reception?

In the Czech Republic, the film became the most successful animated film in our history. Both films were seen in cinemas by over 350,000 people. The Czech Republic has a population of 10 million and Czech animated films had a maximum audience of around 80,000 until then.

Because the film was not first-rate like Pixar, it naturally divided the audience into those who loved it and those who hated it. Just like it’s happening now on the internet.

When did Goat Story And Katie began to develop a kind of ironic reassessment, shall we say?

I do not know. This doesn’t happen here in the Czech Republic. It’s more of a YouTube fad in America. Some YouTuber makes a meme out of something and others ride the wave. It’s kind of a fad. It’s nice, but it leaves me completely cold.

I’ve been looking around on Twitter and it seems like gay Gen-Zers particularly love to react to things using Katie gifs.

I’m not really in the Generation Z gay community — so I have no idea what’s going on in their heads. I guess you’d have to ask them. (Laughs.)

You made a Goat Story 2. Could this Goat Story renaissance lead to a Goat Story 3?

Yes, the Goat Story has a sequel, Goat Story 2: With Cheese, which was thought of more with a smaller audience in mind. The film premiered in 2012.

But the state of cinema and society has changed radically since then, so much so that you don’t know what the situation will be in two months, let alone five years from now, which is how much time I’ve spent on each of the movies.

Nowadays I’m mostly writing books, which gives me much more freedom and satisfaction. But you know what they say — “never say never” — or maybe I’ll make a sequel one day with my kids, who are also into film and art. By the way, I based the main child characters in the Goat Story 2: With Cheese on them.

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