Who the Hell Wants to Watch Cat Videos in a Theatre?

Everyone, when they’re curated by CatVideoFest

Who the Hell Wants to Watch Cat Videos in a Theatre?

You know what's fun to watch? Cat videos. Cats jumping into empty boxes, clawing furiously through snowdrifts, falling backward off paper-strewn tables, beating the snot out of dogs three times their size, and so on. It's feline comedy gold and pretty inescapable online. But why would someone want to watch those videos in a theatre? We asked Seattle-based Will Braden, the man behind the touring CatVideoFest.

"I have a glib answer and I have a long answer," Braden told us. "The glib answer is, that's like saying, 'Well, I've got every Bruce Springsteen song on my iPod, so why should I ever go to a concert?' It's a wholly different experience to be around a bunch of other people. But the longer answer is that I've made a concerted effort so this isn't just a bunch of internet cat videos in a row. There's gonna be videos that nobody's seen before and things that are truly produced and directed – music videos, animated shorts, mini-documentaries. And there's also a lot of what I call America's Funniest Home Videos. I go through about 20,000 videos and cull it down to around 110, so it's not just the-same-thing-you-can-see-at-home-but-now-it's-in-a-theatre. I mean, there's some of that – I want to have the fun of that, of people sharing it – but at the same time, there's a lot of real thought behind the selections."

Austin Chronicle: Twenty thousand is a lot of videos to go through. Did you have someone helping you choose them, or ... ?

Will Braden: It's just me. It would be great if I could farm out some of the process, but as it is now, CatVideoFest is still kind of homespun. I do almost everything, in terms of the editorial stuff, myself. It's basically me sitting in front of my computer and going through hundreds and hundreds of videos until I have a headache. And, you know, some of the submissions are really good, but everybody thinks their cat is really special – just like everybody thinks their kid is a genius. But so many of them just, ah, don't make the cut.

AC: And this CatVideoFest is during SXSW, but it's not part of the conference?

WB: Well, this year is kind of our coming-out year. We're doing four or five times as many shows as we did last year. So, if everything goes well with this first rollout in 2019, then we'll have a lot more national cachet. This year, we're just focused on how many theatres want to show it. And if they have a good venue for it and they'll partner with a good animal shelter or welfare center, then we say yes.

CatVideoFest 2019 comes to Austin Sunday, March 10, 12:30, 2:30, 4:30pm. Sky Cinemas, 13201 U.S. 290. Tickets and details at www.catvideofest.com. A portion of proceeds from the fest will go to PAWS Shelter of Central Texas.

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