Feature-length cat video compilation makes ‘a leap onto the top of the cat tower’

February 21, 2020 Noah Singer
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BOROUGHWIDE — For Brooklyn cat video fanatics, CatVideoFest 2020 is the silver screen binge you never knew you needed.

The family-friendly, 70-minute compilation of cat-themed internet clips, animations and music videos will make its 2020 Brooklyn debut tomorrow at Prospect Park’s Nitehawk Cinema and Downtown Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse to raise money for local shelters.

CatVideoFest Director Will Braden started the project in 2016 and began a partnership in 2019 with Brooklyn-based independent film company Oscilloscope Laboratories, which distributes the reel to independent theaters across the country.

A still from CatVideoFest 2020.

“Last year was just a huge leap up for us, a leap onto the top of the cat tower,” said Braden. “I think we were in 200 locations last year.”

Fundraising is a central part of the CatVideoFest project, according to Braden. Ticket sales from the compilation’s New York City screenings will raise money for Williamsburg’s BARC Shelter and Manhattan’s Little Wanderers NYC.

“It’s really important that we get partnered with local shelters everywhere we go,” Braden said.  “And that’s literally every single show. We don’t put on a show unless it’s benefiting local cats somehow. It’s part of the DNA.”

CatVideoFest chooses local organizations to receive funds rather than signing a portion of annual proceeds to a single animal aid group because shelters across the country face a range of different challenges, Baden explained.

“Some places, every dollar raised is of the utmost importance. Some places, they really need volunteers,” he said. “In some places, it’s really about fostering, so they’ll bring cats and have them in the lobby of the theater.”

CatVideoFest raises funds for local animal aid groups.

Brooklyn feline fanatics are leaping for this year’s showings; nearly three of four total Nitehawk Prospect Park dates have sold out, according to the theater’s website, and several Alamo Drafthouse screenings are running out of seats.

All those ticket sales come as the result of a lot of hard work. Braden told the Home Reporter that in scouring the internet for clips, he watches an estimated 10,000 cat videos per year.

“At this point we get a lot of submissions, but 50 percent of the process is just me doing endless endless, endless research,” he said.

The remaining shows at Nitehawk Cinema Prospect Park are Feb. 21 at 4:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m., and at Alamo Drafthouse are Feb. 21 at 12 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 22 at 9:30 a.m.; Feb. 23 at 4:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Feb. 24 at 2:20 p.m. and 4:40 p.m.; Feb. 25 at 12:30 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.; Feb. 26 at 1:40 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and Feb. 27 at 1:25 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

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