Students and staff dressed in cat ears and whiskers, consuming cat-themed cake and snacks filled the courtyard of North Quad Residence Hall on Friday evening. They were waiting for the Internet Cat Video Festival to begin.
North Quad Programming hosted the event for an audience of about 200 students, staff and Ann Arbor residents. Emilia White, programming coordinator of North Quad, said she got the idea from the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis.
“When I saw it and saw sort of what a festive event it is, I thought it would be a good event to have at the beginning of the semester to kick off the semester with a sense of community and bring people together,” she said.
The Walker Art Center curates a video compilation of various viral cat videos into genres like “drama” and “comedy” every year and had more than 10,000 attendees at its most recent premier.
“It is sort of a mutual understanding — something that people share across cultures and differences is that people love cat videos,” Smith said. “The festival is about watching cat videos as a community, versus what most people do in their home or in their private room or office watching cat videos.”
LSA juniors Christine Liu and Jenny Gong found the festival through Facebook. Gong said though she is more of a dog person, she was interested in the event because she’s never been to a cat film festival before.
“It sounded like something, I don’t know, I’ve never heard of anything like it before, so I just wanted to have the new experience,” Gong said. “I think cats do really weird things sometimes, like sometimes they don’t make any sense. I guess it makes sense to them, it doesn’t make sense to us, and I guess that’s what makes it so funny. How they’re so fascinated with laser pointers and things like that.”
Liu said she was looking forward to the festival because it would be a way for her to relax from homework and school-related activities.
“I just think they’re like a good relaxation tactic, because you can get lost really easily watching cat videos, or maybe that’s just me,” she said. “They’re just light-hearted; you can’t really go wrong with cat videos.”
This year’s festival was dedicated to Cecil the Lion, a protected African lion shot and killed by an American dentist earlier this year.
Gong said her favorite video featured a cat attempting to jump through a window and flailing its arms and legs.
For Liu, her favorite video was self-explanatory.
“The title is literally ‘Cat gets caught barking by human and resumes meowing’ and that’s exactly what happens in the video,” Liu said. “If you haven’t seen it, it’s honestly hilarious.”