If you were wondering whether or not internet cat videos have officially gone mainstream, just ask the 10,000 people who attended the world's first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis month. The widely successful event garnered worldwide press, and shined a spotlight on the growing influence cat videos have on our culture, both online and in real life.
Thanks to the great equalizer known as YouTube, anyone with a camera and a cat now has the ability to share their work with millions of people, but with more kitty videos being uploaded than ever before (last I heard, YouTube hosts equal to somewhere between eight and nine years worth of cat related content) it can be considered a modest achievement just to get your 30 second cat clip any notice at all.
To help give recognition to cat-eurs from around the country, Friskies recently announced that they are sponsoring a national contest to find and honor the best in original cat videos online. Entries can be submitted through October 12, in categories such as Catness, Catcom, Catventure, and Catch All.
Just like a real awards show, a panel of judges (including our pal Karen Nichols of Mousebreath, and comedian/serial cat tweeter Michael Showalter, among others), will rate submissions on factors such as originality, overall artistic impression, cinematography, technical production, audience appeal and entertainment quality, cat playfulness or quirks, sense of a story being told, and portraying cat’s perspective. (Cinematography, really?)
Once the finalists are announced, the public will vote on the ultimate winners, who will be battling it out for the $15,000 Grand Prize and honor of Best Video.
Better still, based on numbers of entries, views and votes, Friskies will donate up to 250,000 cans of cat food to shelters and rescue organizations across the country. Twenty-five cat charity organizations each may receive 10,000 cans of Friskies cat food by the end of this year.
Henri, le Chat Noir took home the Golden Kitty Award at the Walker Film Fest for "Henri 2, Paw de Deux," and could pose a serious threat if he chooses to defend his title. However, since the competition is open to U.S. residents only, at least you won't have international sensations like Maru and Shironeko to contend with.
For more information on the awards and how to submit your entry, visit TheFriskies.com (and if you win, I get first dibs on your victory interview).