- On August 30 at 8:30 p.m., the first ever Internet Cat Video film festival debuts in a space far larger and more presitigious than the dorm rooms and office lounges usually reserved for such screenings – at one of the leading contemporary art museums in the United States.
- “Experience the joy of a surprised kitten or keyboard cat together. Participate in this experiment that tests the social boundaries of the online community with a live, off-line event as we attempt to gather in physical space and real time to enjoy one of the internet’s most popular phenomena,” reads the event’s description. “Meow is what we make together.”
- Screening at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this festival brings cat videos into the same realm as works by Pablo Picasso, Georgio O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol.
- The center has even let cats “hijack” their website in support of tonight’s screening.– leading some people (okay, us) to believe that cat videos are now certifiably, officially, artistically legit.
- “While enjoyed by a broad online audience of millions, cat videos are normally viewed alone,” wrote festival founder Kate Czarniecki-Hill in a call for video submissions, “Until now.”
- The self professed “cat-lady-in-residence,” who is a programming assistant at the Walker Art Center, received more than 10,000 cat video submissions after a July 9 blog post about the event went viral.
Attention from news outlets around the world also brought a smattering of fan mail and praise to the festival's organizers.
- Hill admits to local newspaper TwinCities in Saint Paul MN that about 30 per cent of the nominee-watching load was outsourced to colleagues. A “large chunk” of the videos were, however, watched by the cat-lover personally before she decided which 70 videos to include in tonight’s hour long show.
The videos, she says, are divided into nine "CAT-egories:" comedy, drama, foreign, animated, musical, documentary, art house and honorable mention.
Audience members can vote on their favorite video, which will receive a “Best in Show” award, live via Twitter. The People's Choice Award, “the Golden Kitty,” was chosen by online votes and will be revealed during the fest.
The nominees include Maru, Nononono Cat and Nyan Cat.
Approximately 3,000 people are expected to gather outside of the Walker Art Center for tonight’s festival. Many have already started tweeting their excitement.