Minneapolis: Home of the first (annual?) Internet cat video film festival

Well, it's been a quiet week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, my hometown. The heatwave broke. There was a giant tomato fight downtown. And the Gonzo Group Theater is performing Aristophanes in the middle of the lightrail construction zone. But out on the Internet, everybody is talking about the fact that Minneapolis will, on August 30, play host an Internet cat video film festival.

Yes, a film festival of Internet cat videos. Curator Katie Czarniecki Hill is accepting nominations through July 30, so you should totally submit your favorite.

But I also wanted to talk briefly about the context of this, because it's awesome, and you should know about it. Czarniecki's Cat Video Film Festival is part of a summer-long program at the Walker Art Center (our fabulous modern art museum) called Open Field. If you're not familiar with Minneapolis, the Walker sits at the base of a big hill. Part of the lot is covered with art museum, and part of it is given over to a broad, grassy slope*.

That's where Open Field happens. What's Open Field? Partly it's just a reminder that this big public greenspace exists behind the Walker and, hey, maybe you should come hang out there. But it's also sort of an ad-hoc, crowd-sourced, summer-long festival space, where both Walker artists-in-residence and average folks can stage unique community events, skill-shares, workshops, and projects. Today, for instance, you could go down to Open Field and team up with a group of knitters and fiber artists who are building an interactive fabric installation; join the band Dear Data for a low-key acoustic campfire sing-a-long; watch your own (and other people's) old, film-based home movies and learn about film preservation; and participate in an interactive workshop about the history and future of print-letter writing and the post office.

Basically, you should know this—Walker Open Field: It's like a Happy Mutant smorgasbord.

See the Open Field Schedule, including the Cat Video Film Festival

*And an absolutely awesome installation piece that takes the form of a semi-hidden, ancient-temple-looking room cut into the side of the hill. Seriously, go check it out. Preferably after dark because it's most awesome then.



  1. The whole point of Internet cat culture is to provide the aspects of socialization that dog owners have (via walking, dog parks, etc.) but cat owners do not (because cats think that going for walks and “cat parks” are stupid, like dogs). What will happen if these cat owners get together in real life? Have you ever been to a cat show? Imagine that, but without the fancy breeds and with younger people all babbling in LOLspeak.

    My…god. What is she thinking?

  2. If this is the first time for the event, it cannot be annual as it did not happen last year. Should the event occur next year, then it will be annual. So sayeth the Associated Press.

  3. Finally I’ll be part of the hip crowd that actually understands the art being displayed at the Walker.

  4. S. Mpls resident here. I remember when Minneapolis used to be a tough-guy town.

    Heck, even I have a cat. At night, I put it outside. When I get up in the morning, I let it back in. On occasion, I pet it about the face and head as it rolls around on the rug. I even gave it a name. But the amount of energy expended by folks making cat videos befuddles me.

    I predict a high number of men wearing capri’s, fixed gear bicycles, Tom’s shoes, ironic sunglasses, and beet juice smoothies from the Wedge.

    Can’t wait till the national news gets a hold of this. 

    ETA The pan handler quotient is high around the Walker. Leave your American Spirits at home, bring a pack of GPC’s instead.

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