Screening Room: Nine Lives Hits Festival Circuit

Jessie Davidson ‘12 utilizes her Wheaton education in her documentary filmmaking. The Senior Manager of Content Production at Madecraft is hitting the film festival circuit with her short documentary film, Nine Lives, a true story about a neighborhood cat. Despite a perilous start in life as a feral stray surviving in the Utah winter, this cat found her way to a neighborhood in Montecito, California. Alice (as she was originally named) began wandering into neighbors’ homes and many fell in love with her and each gave her a unique name like Snowpea, Daisy, and Butterscotch Swirl.. 

“It is a heartwarming story of love, resilience, and the connection between one enigmatic cat and the humans who love her.” wrote Davidson.

Surprisingly, the owners of the film’s star did not show malice toward each other but rather were thankful for the time they were fortunate enough to spend with Snowpea/Daisy/Alice/Butterscotch Swirl before she left and moved in with the next neighbor. 

“The film turned out to be a little different than I initially envisioned. I thought the neighbors would express jealousy towards each other, but they were only focused on making sure the cat is happy.”

But, it wasn’t easy tracking down all of the owners, and Davidson thinks there may be others who have been impacted by the cat’s love in her 10 years living in the neighborhood. 

“The through line in the film is the love that this cat gave to all of these people. But the broader message is about the connection that we can have with animals. There’s something unique about the human experience in this story, and there’s also something very relatable about the human experience here.” Davidson minored in Anthropology while at Wheaton, which no doubt influenced her focus on documenting real life in her films. 

Nine Lives was accepted to premiere at the Academy Award-qualifying film festival Santa Barbara International Film Festival and will be screened at various film festivals throughout the country through the end of 2024. Davidson plans to share the film on Youtube in December 2024. For more information about where to see Nine Lives, go to 

Inspired by her own film, Davidson ended up adopting two cats of her own, Chai and Pantera.

– Written by Madison Morin ’24