I have spent the majority of my time in lockdown cooing, petting, squeezing, and generally gushing over the almost painful cuteness of my three cats, much to their irritation. I mean, what else am I supposed to do during lockdown? Which is why I am thoroughly on board with a film festival dedicated to home movies of cats in quarantining, the proceeds from which will go to independent theaters that have shuttered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This oddball film festival is the brainchild of Row House Cinema in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which is very smartly capitalizing on the fact that all people want to do right now is watch cats chase a shadow around an empty room. The Quarantine Cat Festival invites anyone sheltering at home with a feline companion to submit a home video of their cat in action — or, as is more likely, not in action but instead sleeping on your pillow in a shape best described as “cinnamon bun.” Anyone interested in submitting their own video can find instructions on how to film their pets and how long the videos should be on the Row House website.
The short films will be compiled into a 70-minute movie that will be screened on June 19 through independent cinemas around the country that Row House partnered with — on their digital platforms, of course. Paying for a (digital) ticket will support theaters that have been forced to close due to the pandemic.
Row House owner Brian Mendelssohn told USA Today that it’s “fun to watch cats do cool things,” and he is absolutely right, if those cool things include jumping onto bookshelves, tipping over water glasses, and trying to eat dust bunnies. His cats Oliver and Isabella, who tend to get into some hilarious shenanigans, inspired the idea for the film fest. Anyone with cats can attest to the fact that, in between naps cats, they tend to be mischievous little beasts.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, cash prizes will also be given out to the “cutest, funniest, bravest, and most loving cats,” as well as to the overall “Best in Show” film. Sounds like a cute idea, but as far I’m concerned, every cat is the “cutest, funniest, bravest and most loving” cat.