back to top

60 Things I Learned At The 2013 Internet Cat Video Film Festival

Are cat videos art?

Posted on

Screened at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair, the 2nd Annual Internet Cat Video Film Festival drew more than 13,000 feline fanatics from points both near and far for two days of cats, cat videos, and cat culture.

Developed with the self-professed goal of taking the online experience offline and sharing the best of the genre in a non-ironic, social setting, the festival and its curators seek to address one burning question: are cat videos art?


Sourced from a wide array of countries — Russia, Austrlalia, Japan, and all over the United States — the videos were grouped in "Cat-egories": Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Animated, Musical, Documentary, and Cat-On-A-Stick, which honors locally produced clips.

2. Here's Chris Torres (right), creator of Nyan Cat, on Day 2 at the Walker Art Center. He absolutely ADORES his fans and loves meeting with them, especially if they come dressed in homemade, Nyan Cat-inspired swag.


Watch a time-lapse video of the sculpting process!


View this video on YouTube


11. LOOK! Lil Bub won BuzzFeed's "Win" badge! That's because she wrote some awesome posts that turned the Internet inside out! Did you know that anyone can contribute to BuzzFeed, even cats? Learn more here!

Their initial encounter, the day before the festival, as told with a Vine.

15. This is Scott Stulen, the festival's curator. He's a cool cat, as comfortable on-stage as he is off.

His blueprint for the event — "a sincere, un-ironic celebration of cat videos", staged within the context of major art museum, and treated with care, respect, and a modest dollop of intellectual rigor — was executed with aplomb and he, and his team, should be commended for their hard work, creative vision, and attention to detail.

Read an interview with Scott about how the festival came into focus here. Follow him on Twitter at @middlewest.

24. FACT: Cats > The '80s. Performing at the Minnesota State Fair one night before the festival, synth pop icons Depeche Mode drew a more modest figure, an estimated audience of 10,000. (The show was fab, BTW.)

26. The co-host of the festival, comedian Julie Klausner, is the Stanley Kubrick of cat videos. She came to the festival armed with a new short, which you can watch below!

Follow her on Twitter at @julieklausner.

27. Off topic somewhat, but the Minnesota State Fair is an embarrassment of artery-clogging, caloric riches. This is a deep-fried Twinkie, drizzled in chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.

29. Finally, can we take a moment to drool over these fried cheese curds? They were an amazing, late night snack, all the better because they were washed down with a cold, frosty Grain Belt.

A concentration of the celebricats and their owners. Too much talent for one picture. MIND = BLOWN!

Jill Walek / Via Chris Torres

From left to right: TJ Wingard ("An Engineer's Guide To Cats"), Kady Lone and Pudge the Cat, Paul Kausman ("An Engineer's Guide To Cats"), the Bundesons (Grumpy Cat), Ben Lashes, Chris Torres (Nyan Cat), Mike Bridavsky and Lil Bub, Will Braden (Henri, le Chat Noir), and members of the Schmidt family. Their father, Charlie, the creator of Keyboard Cat, is pictured in the center of the bottom row.

49. You think feline flicks are easy? At the "Life As A Cat Video Creator" panel, Will Braden explained that he shoots up to 3 hours of footage per video, only to edit the best bits back into a 2 or 3 minute treatment.

52. This is what 180,000,000 views on YouTube (give or take a few) looks like.

From left to right: Bryan Bundeson (Grumpy Cat), Chris Torres (Nyan Cat), Will Braden (Henri), and Charlie Schmidt (Keyboard Cat).

Here's a closer look at the silver statuettes, which acknowledge entry into the festival's Hall of Fame. Inducted this year: Kittens Inspired By Kittens, Maru, Lil Bub, Boots And Cats, Nyan Cat, and Henri, Paw de Deux.

53. Pictured here receiving her award: 12-year-old Maddie Kelly, the creator of "Kittens Inspired By Kittens". Uploaded to YouTube in 2008, the clip has logged nearly 18,000,000 views to date! She also gave a great interview at the workshop on Day 2!


View this video on YouTube

Described alternatively as a "kid's band for adults" or as "a cross between the Beastie Boys and Sesame Street", the duo recorded a new EP, "Viral: Songs About Cats And Stuff", just for the festival. Download it at the link below!

Watch their insane video, embedded below:

View this video on YouTube

59. SAVE THE DATE: Curator Scott Stulen will be bringing the festival to a town near you in 2013 and 2014. 11 dates have been announced thus far (below), and about 20 more will follow suit shortly! GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO

September 7th: Heather Farms Park, Walnut Creek (San Francisco) CA

September 7-15th: Honolulu Art Museum, Honolulu HI

September 12th: CultureTECH Festival, Derry, Northern Ireland

September 22nd: Monmouth County Library, Manalapan NJ

September 27th: ArtPrize Grand Rapids, MI

October 4th: Cable Car Cinema, Providence RI

October 19th: Irish American Heritage Center, Chicago IL

October 25th: Warsaw Hall, Brooklyn NY

January 24th: Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee WI

May 2014: Great Wall of Oakland, Oakland CA

June 2014: Hollywood Theater, Portland, OR (BEST THEATER EVER)

NYC residents can hear Stulen speak on Sunday, September 15th at the Bruno Walter Auditorium. Details here.

The festival is also angling towards an appearance at SXSW. Learn how you can help here.

Watch as event sponsor Animal Planet takes you behind the scenes!