The internet would probably crawl to a halt without them. The cat video is as web-fundamental as Twitter or Netflix. Since a YouTube founder uploaded the site’s first cat video in 2005, felines from across the globe have been making us coo, laugh and hit “share.”
This month at the Texas Theater, you can gather in person with other cat-video lovers to watch them on the big screen. The fourth Walker Museum Internet Cat Video Festival is coming to North Texas, thanks to the Video Association of Dallas.
There are buckets of videos of just about every animal available on the internet — including rare giant squids. So why cats? Why this particular digital-popularity?
“Cat videos strike a nerve,” says Bart Weiss, president and artistic director of the Video Association of Dallas. “Cats are expressive in ways dogs aren’t. When people have spare time, they’re looking for something to connect to, and you can really feel connected to a cat.”
The festival features about 100 cat videos curated by Will Braden, the creator of the famous “Henri Le Chat Noir” series of videos and recipient of the festival’s first Golden Kitty (People’s Choice) Award. Local cats will also feature: a reel curated by Weiss will play before the international film. Submissions for cat videos are open until Aug. 12 at Film Freeway.
“Get your cat in gear, get your camera, and find that one thing that your cat does that everyone needs to see,” says Weiss.
He’s looking for clips that are catchy, clever and short.
“This is not death or politics,” says Weiss. “This is a break from all that, and we need a break. This is a fun, silly, enjoyable diversion.”
This isn’t a new phenomenon either. Cat videos have been around since the beginning of the 20th century, and the internet has just leveled the playing field. Now any household cat can make it big.
The 2016 festival started in January of this year in Japan. Dallas will be its 30th and final location, after stops around the globe, from Melbourne to San Francisco to Little Rock. The Walker’s festival is wrapping up for good after this year: don’t miss your last chance to get yourself — or your cat — in on the action.