Lights, Camera, Cats

NY Cat Film Festival comes to Riverview Theater

By: Alexandra Larson


It was like being caught in a YouTube spiral of cat videos, except on a large cinema screen surrounded by a live audience. Enter the NY Cat Film Festival, which took place at the Riverview Theater on the dreary Saturday morning of Nov. 3 and ran until Sunday. The first of two parts, named “Nobody Owns a Cat,” featured six independent movies including sketch, documentary, and silent films.

Illustration by: Brighid de Danann

Illustration by: Brighid de Danann


The NY Cat Film Festival followed in the paw prints of the annual NY Dog Film Festival. It opened with a medical commercial parody about the benefits of owning a cat, drawing empathizing laughs from the audience. The side-effects are “unable to get work done,” accompanied by a clip showing a cat walking across a laptop, and “trouble breathing,” in which a cat sat on its owner’s neck. The audience was all clearly in on the joke.


The first piece followed a cat groomer making house calls in Manhattan; he sported high, scratch-proof gloves while washing and blow-drying the cats wearing cones around their necks. “Jetty Cats,” a half-hour documentary, is about a colony of feral cats living in southern California. One wordless piece showed a cat in Tuscany waiting outside a door for the entire two minute film. The last film documented a couple who spins loose cat fur into yarn and knits mittens.


Two festival attendees, a couple named George and Ginny, said they have owned up to five cats at once, all rescued from shelters, and even a few special needs cats. “Jetty Cats” reminded them of when their daughter volunteered to feed a clowder of cats living behind a humane society in St. Paul a few years ago. Ginny flaunted a colorful purse embroidered with cats, a perfect embodiment of the show’s audience: communal cat lovers having a good time watching what they love most.

Wake Mag