Festival of internet cat clips comes to Derry

By Shelley Marsden

It’s not just websites like Buzzfeed that go mad for cat videos online. They are so popular that there exists a cat video festival – and it’s heading in the direction of Derry.

The Walker Art Center’s 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival (#catvidfest) will make its first trip to Europe as part of this year’s CultureTECH Festival in Derry-Londonderry on Thursday September 12.

As the name suggests, the Internet Cat Video Festival features a curated programme of feline-focused internet clips submitted by fans online.

Part social experiment, part film festival, the original event in 2012 took place at the Walker Art Centre in Minnesota and attracted an audience of over 10,000 people, making headlines across the globe. The second festival will debut in Minnesota on August 28 with an expected audience of 13,000.

Walker Art Center curator Scott Stulen, who will attend the Derry event, said: “Internet cat videos are doing all of the things compelling art should: they raise questions, challenge assumptions, anger people and create emotional connections. The Internet Cat Video Festival is a platform to use this popular content to create an un-ironic and genuine experience.

“Simply, this is more than a collection of cute cat videos, but rather an embrace of an internet phenomena and experiment to transform a solitary online viewing experience into a real world social event. Isn’t not about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together”

The screening in Derry-Londonderry – which in 2013 will have hosted such cultural luminaries as the Royal Ballet, the Turner Prize and the London Symphony Orchestra – will take place on Thursday, September 12 from 8pm at Cafe Soul, with additional “pop up” screenings planned throughout the week in various locations..

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