First internet cat film festival held - video

Sep 2, 2012

Moggy movies accepted into mainstream as 10,000 come to watch feline film fest

WHEN Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he was of course searching for a way that heart-warming videos of cats doing funny things could be shared all over the globe at the click of a mouse.

But, as The New York Times reports, Berners-Lee's vision of a fully feline internet has now reached its apotheosis in the real world. More than 10,000 people attended the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival in Minneapolis last week.

Hosted by the prestigious Walker Arts Center, one of the US's highest-profile cultural venues, the festival feted the moggy movies which seem to make up a substantial amount of the web, with a 75-minute screening and awards presented in all the usual Academy-approved categories (pun intended) including Comedy, Drama and others.

The big news was that the coveted Golden Kitty - the festival's highest honour, chosen by cat film fans online - went to a surprisingly left-field contender, Henri 2, Paw de Deux.

While Henri is a US production, it borrows the breathless aesthetic of the nouvelle vague to bring us the existential crisis of a long haired housecat (pictured above) - proof positive of the high intellectual calibre of cat video lovers.

Shot in grainy black and white, to match its eponymous star's luxuriant coat, the film (see below) is in - admittedly rather unconvincingly accented - French, with subtitles. Henri searches for meaning in his cosseted existence, wondering why he chooses to remain with his keepers when he is "free to go" before concluding: "We cannot escape ourselves."

Henri auteur, Will Braden, collected his award, saying: "This goes to show that the shared love of cat videos isn’t just a virtual thing, isn’t just a matter of a few clicks, but actually something people can share in real life.”

A lifetime achievement award went to Keyboard Cat - even though the puss in question rolled up the curtain and joined the choir invisible in 1987, when Berners-Lee was still in short trousers and the internet was for academics and the military.

Keyboard Cat, real name Fatso, was filmed by his owner Charlie Schmidt in 1984 apparently playing an infuriatingly catchy melody on keyboard. After Schmidt posted the video (see below) to YouTube in 2007, he became a superstar.

Rumours that cat video godfather Maru of Japan would attend the festival in person proved sadly unfounded but at least one celebrity cat did show up. Lil Bub (video below), a cat born with dwarfism and no teeth, dubbed a 'perma-kitten' by her owners, came along to meet fans.

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Henry Deux has to be French!