Thousands of people attended the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival in Minneapolis on Thursday, and a Seattle filmmaker came away with the festival's top prize. (See the list of videos)
Will Braden created a series of videos starring a French tuxedo cat named Henri, who bemoans his lowly cat existence with his humans and another cat he calls the "white idiot."
On Thursday night, Will picked up the Golden Kitty People’s Choice Award for his two-minute film Henri 2: Paw de Deux. The award was chosen by visitors to the Walker Art Center’s Web site.
“It was a little overwhelming, but it was a lot of fun," Will said.
He said there had been a bit of a question mark as to how many people would turn out for the festival.
“The experience of cat videos is a virtual experience. We share them online by virtual media,” he said. “Will this virtual interest translate into the real world? Will people come out of their homes for this festival? And they did,” he said.
Twice the number of people expected showed up - and Will was the only filmmaker that actually attended the festival.
“The fact that I was there and I happened to win it was perfect,” he said. “I was really humbled by it … 10,000 people cheering for you makes you feel good.”
The festival at Walker Art Center's Open Field featured 79 videos, from Maru the box-loving Scottish fold to the animated Simon's Cat and everything in between. Thousands of nominated videos were narrowed down and divided into CATegories.
Will recently set up a website Henri le Chat Noir, selling products from T-shirts to posters via his online store.
He says a portion of the proceeds from merchandise sales will be donated to PAWS in Lynnwood.
“That’s a good feeling,” he says. “They’re a great organization. Henri was a shelter cat. It’s a really cool thing to see it come full circle.”
An Henri book, published by Random House, is coming out in April of 2013
Now that the festival is over, you are invited to vote for another people's choice.
Henri and Will have gotten quite a bit of media coverage. Here links to just a few articles/blogs.