You know what I love about movies in 2010? For the first time in far too long audiences have the opportunity to walk into a theater for a fresh, unsullied cinematic experience without the pall of tell-all trailers or dozens of behind-the-scenes blog posts muddying their enjoyment.

Earlier this summer, Inception director Christopher Nolan caused a raucous and was accused of using secrecy as a form of hype because he – gasp – decided to keep some things about the movie under his hat, and now Catfish arrives in theaters riding a wave of Sundance buzz that can be summed up in two words: Spoiler Alert.

If you’ve seen Catfish (I have and promise you it’s fantastic), tell no one what to expect. If you haven’t, the best thing you can do is go into the theater with as little knowledge about the film as possible. Complicated and remarkable, the documentary has been plagued with debate about the validity of the story since it debuted in January. Speaking to a group over the phone as filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost prepare to screen the film in San Francisco, I ask why people are so hung up on the idea that the film isn’t true.

“I guess it’s too good to believe,” Schulman begins. “There’s a trend recently of fake documentaries as a genre; Cloverfield—”

Best in Show,” Joost quips.

Blair Witch Project,” Schulman replies. “But we were completely surprised the first time, at Sundance, someone said, ‘Hey, that’s a mock-doc.’ We were completely taken aback because we’d experienced this and it had never occurred to us that this was fake, because we were there.”

Perhaps one of the reasons some are dubious is because Catfish seems to document every moment of the tale’s unraveling, a feat that leads many to believe the situations were staged. However, Schulman explains cameras are constantly rolling in the group. They didn’t set out to make a film, they just happened to be recording what was happening in their daily lives and ended up with over 250 hours of footage to cull from when editing.

“Nev [Ariel’s brother] and I don’t have home video from when we were growing up, so we’ve kind of been making up for it the last six or seven years,” Schulman offers. “And now he has a document of probably the strangest thing that will ever happen to him.”

Asked if anyone else could have made this film, the group erupts with laughter.

“[No one] would have had the time to stick around so long and let everything percolate,” Schulman contends. “That’s why documentaries end up being in retrospect. This documentary is in real time, while it’s happening, because we were spending so much time together.”

One of the things that makes Catfish so tragically beautiful and tangible is its use of Facebook, Google Earth, e-mail and cell phones to tell that story, making it relatable to everyone’s day-to-day existence and highlighting the death of true human interaction thanks to our dependence on technological intermediaries. I couldn’t help but wonder what relics of simpler times the filmmakers miss in the information age.

“Handwritten letters,” Joost offers. “There’s something nice about knowing someone took the time to write you a letter and take it to the mailbox, that it takes a week to get there and a week for a reply. There’s an elegance to written correspondence that’s been lost with e-mail.”

“I miss landlines because you get to speak to people’s parents, and you have to be really polite,” Schulman laughs. “You’re like, ‘Oh, hello, Mister Jenkins,’” his voice feeble and quivering. “‘This is Ariel. Is Lisa there?’ And they’d be like—”

“Ahhh, Ariel,” Joost jumps in with a tone that’s fatherly and commanding. “We’ve heard about you. How are you doing? The basketball team is doing very well. I saw your slam dunk on Sunday.’”

“‘Thank you, Mister Jenkins.’”

“I miss not having a cell phone,” Nev says. “I hate cell phones and take every opportunity I can to not carry it with me. It just destroys intimacy. We all use our cell phone as this crutch to keep us distracted, and it gives us the excuse to not try very hard in our real life.”

Catfish releases in select theaters Sept. 17.