Anyone who’s ever watched cat videos on the Internet likely is familiar with the names Lil Bub, Colonel Meow, Grumpy Cat or Henri le Chat Noir.
There’s no shame in it. Plenty of people watch cat videos online. So many, in fact, that celebrity cats have been featured in their own full-length collection of videos, which Spokane audiences will get a chance to see Thursday at the Knitting Factory.
This is the second year of the Internet Cat Video Film Festival, created by the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. The center collected 7,000 nominations. Eleven curators took a look at the nominations and selected 85 for the 75-minute film. The clips range from six-second Vine videos to five-minute short films.
Scott Stulen, project director for mnartists.org at the Walker Arts Center, said there are videos in several categories – drama, foreign film, documentary, cute and comedy.
“The final five videos in the reel is actually a countdown of the most nominated videos, that was leading up to our winner of the festival,” he said. Grumpy Cat took home the Golden Kitty Award, which was announced in August when the festival debuted.
Before the screening, there will be a pre-show with host Will Braden, Henri’s owner, and special guest Charlie Schmidt, the Spokane man behind Keyboard Cat.
“Will’s going to be doing some things with his Henri character before the actual screening to get people involved,” Stulen said.
Anyone who wants to dress as their favorite cat can participate in a costume contest. Some classic videos will be inducted into the Hall of Fame: Lil Bub, Henri, Keyboard Cat, Maru, and Nyan Cat will get this honor. Colonel Meow and Princess Monster Truck, a cat who has “a severe underbite and looks kind of mad,” Stulen said, will also be featured in the film. In her video, she can be seen nodding her head in time to a droning guitar.
“There’s this kind of full wide range,” Stulen said. “There’s everything from kind of the well-known celebrity cats to things that are more produced videos.”
Stulen said the videos are clips people have probably seen on the Internet, but there is also new content, including a FunnyorDie.com video with actress Julie Klausner.
He said many people may watch the videos at home online and share them on social media, but the tour of the film festival allows people to enjoy them as part of an audience.
“You rarely will watch it with several hundred people at the same time,” he said.
“People really want that moment where they can kind of share something they’re passionate about together.”