The Internet Cat Video Festival

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Isn’t not about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together

The world’s first Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker Art Center in August of 2012 was an unparalleled and unexpected success. Crowds flocked to the lawn of the Walker to watch a curated selection of Internet felines with fellow cat lovers. The New York Times reported: “You could hear the meows nearly a block away, and also the “awwws.” The laughter too…An estimated 10,000 people turned out for an event that was, from its inception to its closing credits, an online meme made flesh (and fur).”  Since its stunning debut, the festival has inspired hundreds of news headlines worldwide, launched international tour and has become the premiere festival for Internet Cat Videos. The second edition of the Festival, in August 2013, drew over 11,000 to the Minnesota State Fair and launched a second tour including sold out stops in Brooklyn, Chicago, Oakland, Portland, Memphis and overseas to Vienna, Athens, Jerusalem and Northern Ireland. 

WHAT IS IT?

The Internet Cat Video Festival is the first celebration of online cat videos. The festival is a live event gathering fellow feline fanatics to watch a curated collection of cat clips in the social environment. The 2013-2014 reel features 85 cat videos spanning 75 minutes including everything from six second vine videos to short films and everything in between. The reel is produced specifically for the festival and not available online.

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ORIGINS and CONTEXT
The festival success and accompanying media interest is due in large to context of the Walker. The event emerged from the Community Programs and Education Department (ECP) and Open Field, a platform of crowd sourced content and in the spirit of collaboration and building community.  Catvidfest and its ongoing success have reinforced the Walker’s reputation for taking risks, programmatic innovation and community partnership. The popularity and longevity of cat videos is evidence that something is present that is reflective of contemporary culture and captures the interest of a wide audience.  Internet Cat Videos are doing all of the things compelling art should: they raises questions, challenge assumptions, angers people, creates emotional connection and in the case of our festival were a vehicle to create a real experience.  And in the end it’s about creating a connection.  We assumed when we were assembling the clips that people would be eager to see new videos but in actuality the greater joy was sharing the experience of watching very familiar videos with each other.

MEDIA EXPOSURE
Over 900 online, broadcast and print media features with 2,272,907,013 impressions

CATVIDFEST MINI-DOCS

WALKER: http://www.walkerart.org/channel/2013/2013-internet-cat-video-festival
ARTINFO: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/955105/video-lil-bub-and-friends-at-the-internet-cat-video-film

SLIDE SHOWS
WALKER: http://www.walkerart.org/magazine/2013/slideshow-internet-cat-video-festival
BUZZFEED: http://www.buzzfeed.com/travisrandg/things-i-learned-at-the-2013-internet-cat-video-film-festiva
MPR: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/08/29/human-interest/internet-cat-video-fest-photos

INTERVIEWS WITH CATVIDFEST PRODUCER  AND WALKER ART CENTER
http://www.walkerart.org/magazine/2013/nine-lives-internet-cat-video-festival
http://www.thecurrent.org/feature/2013/08/27/interview-with-internet-cat-video-festivals-scott-stulen

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MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
“Proof that 13,000 fans of cat videos can’t be wrong.” Buzzfeed: 60 Things I learned at the 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival

“…the Walker has been inundated with requests from around the world to reprise its Internet Cat Video Festival. It has taken its show on the road to 27 venues, from museums to bars to a castle in Ireland.”The Fur Flies as Feline Film Festivals Get Catty

The Walker Art Center, a pre-eminent modern art museum, has become a catalyst for cat-video festivals.

“The endless hours we spend watching cat videos isn’t typically thought to be a social act. But the hundreds of New Yorkers gathered Friday night at a Brooklyn concert hall would bristle and hiss at such insinuations.”  TIME:These New Yorkers Spent Friday Night Watching Cat Videos

“(The Walker’s) Internet Cat Video Festival, a traveling show that features an 80-minute reel of clips culled from 10,000 submissions and edited by museum curators, has been shown around the world, concert-style, to throngs of fans, some dressed in cat costumes, and others with live cats in tow.” New York Times: Cats Are Works of Art (But You Knew That)

 

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Yes, we’re talking about Internet cat videos. Which either represent the pinnacle of human creative achievement, or a sign that the apocalypse is nigh. Or both.” Los Angeles Times

 

“We know what you’re thinking: Why am I not in Minneapolis right now at the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival watching the best clips of cats chasing laser pointers, purring and ignoring the camera?” Mashable

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“…but the cats have been at the forefront of the cultural movement. The internet loves the idea that cats are in the know.They’ve got the answer, and they might just tell us some day.”

BBC: Cat video film festival to celebrate web’s furriest virals

 “The Internet Cat Video Festival made an act of isolation (sitting alone in front of your computer screen) into a celebration of togetherness. Walking towards the parking ramp, I noticed that people who were previously strangers were now interacting with ease. Cars were letting other cars pull ahead of them. Everyone was happy and being kind. While my bones ached from standing and my head hurt from exhaustion, I was sad to leave the small utopia that the Walker had created.” Jezebel

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“What began as a social experiment curated by the modern art museum last summer is now an internationally touring fest.” Chicago Sun Times

“Game over. Cats have won the Internet. At least that was the conclusion among the many attendees of the Internet Cat Video Festival on Friday. Decked out with cat ears and painted-on whiskers, they lined up around the block to do in a group what they already do in front of their computers: Watch amusing cat flicks.”The Associated Press

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