There is little doubt that internet cat videos are a popular phenomenon. People watch them over and over and share them with friends on social networks and YouTube. Thanks to the prestigious Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, cat videos became a contemporary art form when the gallery held the first-ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival.
Organizers of the festival wanted to discover if watching cat videos on a big screen with people all around would give cat lovers the same enjoyable experience as seeing them privately in their own homes. The answer was a resounding yes. An estimated 10,000 people attended the outdoor evening event.
People could be heard blocks away laughing and applauding for their favorite cat antics. The festival placed the videos into categories for comedy, drama, foreign, animated, musical, art-house and documentary. Participants voted for the most popular video and all-time beloved video.
The idea for the festival came from Katie Hill, a program associate at the museum. More than 10,000 videos from around the world were nominated by cat lovers and Hill watched every single one. Later a dozen colleagues helped her narrow the choices to 79 videos that were shown during the 75 minute event.
“I learned that cats have agents,” said Hill. She was contacted by representatives for several cats after word got out about the festival.
Hill also learned that cats on video have fans. A cat by the name of Lil Bub was surrounded at the festival for two hours by people who wanted their picture taken with video celebrity.
Winner at the festival for the Golden Kitty award was a two-minute film called “Henri 2: Paw de Deux.” It is the “existential” tale about a black-and-white French feline. Other winning videos were, “Snooky and the Metronome,” “Kittens Inspired by Kittens” and “Kittens Riding Vacuum.”