The internet is populated with videos of all kinds of cute animals, but it's no secret that the cat is king. The very first cat video, of a cat playing with a piece of a rope, was posted by one of YouTube's founders to the site in 2005, and cat videos have been going viral ever since. As of last year there were more than 2 million such videos on YouTube, and their average view count exceeds that of any other type of content YouTube hosts.
Since 2012, the internet's unofficial mascot has even had its own film festival. The Internet Cat Video Festival was started by Minneapolis' Walker Art Center, and the selection of videos curated for the final festival last August is on an international tour that will conclude in Dallas on August 24 with an event produced by the Video Association of Dallas at the Texas Theatre.
The festival, which started in Japan in January and will have made 29 stops by the time it arrives here, is intended to celebrate a history that goes back way farther than the early aughts. Thomas Edison filmed two cats boxing in 1894, and the release announcing the Texas Theatre cites The Private Life of a Cat by Maya Deren, an experimental filmmaker of the '40s and '50s, as inspiration.
The Walker's presentation features over 100 cat videos. Some are funny, some are cute, some are serious and some are even animated. The picking was done by Will Braden, director of "Henri, Le Chat Noir," a popular web series about an existentialist kitty. With so many different videos, you'll almost certainly see something new, but the Walker's site for the festival says it's not so much about seeing new videos as it is enjoying familiar ones in the company of friends.
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The Internet Cat Video Festival's stop in Dallas will also have a local touch thanks to Bart Weiss, founder of Video Association of Dallas, artistic director of Dallas VideoFest and, most important, dad to four felines. He's asking Dallasites to submit videos between 30 seconds and three minutes of their cats to share the screen in August. Information on how to enter can be found here.
If you don't want to go to all of the effort of making or submitting a video, you can also just post a photo of your cat to Dallas VideoFest's Facebook page with the hashtag #DFWCatVidFest. The person whose photo gets the most likes will win a prize. Local kitties will also be winners since a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to animal shelter Operation Kindness.
Opportunities like this one to pay it forward and get an emotional buzz off of some cuddly animals are sorely needed right now, as Weiss points out in the press release announcing the festival. "There is something special about viewing our wise four-legged friends, to calm us from the visual aural and political noise around us," he says.
The Walker Art Center's Internet Cat Video Festival takes place at The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., on Wednesday, August 24. Tickets are $15 at thetexastheatre.com.