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#catvidfest: The Recap

The world’s first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival–held on the Walker’s hillside August 30–drew plaudits from Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, press from around the world, and a crowd of around 10,000 people. Here’s a rundown of a memorable night.

Photo: Gene Pittman

It seems like every time I do one of these event recaps, I have to start out by featuring a tweet by Mayor R. T. Rybak.

Unknowingly, the Internet Cat Video Film Festival was scheduled to go up another big night in entertainment: Mitt Romney (and Clint Eastwood & Chair) at the Republican National Convention. Thoughts of that gathering were far away on Open Field last night (though often mentioned together in tweets), as over 10,000 cat video fans came to watch 79 cat videos. The videos were divided into categories: Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Documentary, Animated, Musical, Art House, Lifetime Achievement, and People’s Choice. #catvidfest t-shirts sold out in a hot second, but you can pre-order from the next batch here.

When we announced the festival, we thought maybe 100 people might come. Last week, we were estimating about 2,000 people. A few days ago, it wasn’t a stretch to say 5,000 people. Last night, we were dumbfounded. We want to thank everybody who nominated videos, who voted, and who showed up last night and made it a truly memorable event. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Here are some of our favorite tweets & photos from the evening:

There were lots of cat t-shirts, naturally. Some of them had famous internet cat video cats on them, some of them just had really big cat faces. There were lots of cat ears, cat whiskers, and even some cat snouts.


Our beautiful t-shirts:


Photo: Kristina Fong


Real men love cats

Photo: Joshua Feist


Photo: Joshua Feist

Photo: Gene Pittman

Keyboard cat!
Cat dressed like Keybaord Cat! (The original K. C., Fatso, died three years ago.)

Henri, Le Chat Noir sent his regards:


Henri would end up taking top honors, winning the “People’s Choice Award” chosen by online votes. The creator of Henri 2: Paw de Deux, Will Braden, was on hand to accept the Golden Kitty Award:

Photo: Gene Pittman

Joining Braden on the stage was LIL BUB with her Dude, Mike. BUB showed up around 6:15 and greeted adoring fans until the videos started. Here are just a few of the fan photos:






Our fearless leader, Katie Hill, got her wish and met up with the Kittens Inspired by Kittens girl. (That classic video received a Lifetime Achievement Award.)


I counted many collective ‘Awwwws’ throughout the night and it was impossible to keep track of how many times the entire crowd erupted into laughter.





Apocalypse Meow: A dispatch from the Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Film Fesitval on Slate

Internet Cat Video Film Festival attracted thousands, a photo slideshow from the Boston Globe

At Cat Video Film Festival, Stars Purr for Close-Ups on the New York Times

Why a Fancy Art Museum Is Curating a Collection of Cat Videos on The Atlantic

Photo: Minn. cat video fest a purr-fect viewing from AP Press

Internet Cat Video Festival draws 10,000 (!) to Walker Art Center from Pioneer Press

Full Photo Set by Joshua Feist

That will do it for now.

I realize I probably haven’t scratched the surface of photos and videos, so if you have any you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.

If you couldn’t make it out last night, here’s the YouTube playlist of all the videos we screened last night. You still have time to watch them all and vote for the “Best in Show.” Instructions here.

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