Ruth Dubb remembers watching a nature special on television one day and being fascinated by the notion that large safari cats are essentially the same animal as domesticated house cats.
It was that concept that served as the launching pad for "Ferocious Wildlife in a Two-Bedroom," her animated short that will be featured during the Alexandria International Film Festival.
"I have two cats, and I was inspired by them," said Dubb, who lives in Alexandria. "Also, do you remember ‘Calvin and Hobbs,’ when he’s imagine himself as an adult or a dinosaur? I was inspired by that, and by nature films."
The film was Dubb's senior project at The Art Institute of Washington, where she graduated. She polished the film up, re-animated some of it and submitted it to the Film Festival.
She had always been interested in cartoons, but the 40-year-old made the leap to art school late in life, she said.
"I always liked to draw. I just realized that I had to do it, even if I didn’t succeed at it. I had wanted to go to art school before but was discouraged — you know, trying to be protected from failure," said Dubb.
Having grown up on Warner Bros. cartoons from masters like Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, Dubb drew and animated "Ferocious" herself — with more than 400 drawings digitally animated for the short.
How short? Less than two minutes. All the more reason Dubb is honored to be a part of the inaugural Alexandria Film Festival.
"I’m grateful. I didn’t know what was going to happen because it’s an extremely short film," she said. "When I was filling out the paperwork it asked about the actors, about the budget — well, there was no budget!"
<1b>— Greg Wyshynski