Minneapolis’s Walker Arts Center, “one of the most celebrated art museums in the country,” prides itself on being “a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences,” according to the Center’s website.
And last week, the prestigious museum proved itself to be once again on the cutting edge of the art world, by adding a slew of avant garde names to its impressive roster.
On August 30th, the Walker Arts Center hosted the very first Internet Cat Video Film Festival in its outdoor space, Open Field. Organizers estimated the turnout would be somewhere between 100 and 5,000 and were floored when more than 10,000 cat video fans turned up, clad in cat-themed t-shirts, face paint, and sporting whiskers, ready to view the evening’s cinematic selections – and have the opportunity to meet some of the star-spangled felines in the fur.
The festival featured 79 films, culled from an entry pool of more than 10,000, in ten categories: Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Animated, Musical, Documentary, Art House, Honorable Mention, Lifetime Achievement, and People’s Choice. Some audience favorites, as reported by Slate’s Seth Stevenson, included comedic entry “Cat Meowing Weird,” the nail-biting drama “Stalking Cat,” and the well-deserved Lifetime Achievement winner, “Keyboard Cat” (may he rest in kitty heaven).
But, at the end of the groundbreaking night, there could be only one “Golden Kitty.” And the winner was…
Everyone’s favorite French existentialist: the one and only Henri, for “Henri 2, Paw de Deux”:
Henri was seemingly too preoccupied with pondering the meaningless of existence to attend the event, but his owner, Will Braden, accepted the award on his behalf: “This is a great honor,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever purred this loudly.”
76 of the 79 videos are available online at Buzzfeed, and the entire YouTube playlist is posted on the Walker Arts Center’s #catvidfest site. And there’s an added incentive to watching the whole collection of cat hijinks: viewers have until September 7th to vote online for the winner of the “Best in Show” category.
You weren’t planning on doing anything else today — right?