A Tale of Two Competing Cat Video Festivals

Lil Bub in Oakland

Lil Bub in Oakland

(Facebook.com)

Has the Bay Area become the crazy cat lady of the West Coast? I’m asking because this Saturday there are not one but TWO feline-centric video festivals being held here — one in Oakland, the other in San Francisco — and both are aiming to be massive celebrations of the Internet’s flagship product, the cat video.

San Francisco’s Roxie Theater is hosting a cat video festival so big it has intergalactic in the title. Organized by Roxie Theater programmer Mike Keegan and SF Sketchfest’s operations manager Jay Wertzler, the First Annual San Francisco Intergalactic Film & Video Feline Festival for Humans (SFIFFAVFFH) will consist of 12 hours of cat videos shown on the big screen, the intended medium for many of pieces being shown during the festival. Broken into three acts, highlighted works from the festival include the world “purr-miere” (their word, not mine) of Cat Agent, a series of an animated shorts from Kent Osborne of Adventure Time, and clips from found footage curators “Everything Is Terrible,” credited with bringing So Your Cat Wants A Massage? to the Internet-using public.

Across the Bay in Oakland, the East Bay SPCA will be holding its second annual Save a Kitten at OakCatVidFest, an event that mixes the Bay Area’s love of cat videos with the desire of its residents to save every lonely kitty living in a shelter. Along with a curated selection of cat videos provided by the Minneapolis-based Walker Art Center and shown on the 100’x100′ Great Wall of Oakland, the festival will include opportunities to adopt homeless kitty kats and create feline-inspired art in its “Cativity” section.

(It should be noted that last year’s OakCatVidFest was so popular, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan declared that day to be “Internet Cat Video Day.”)

Though the two festivals are technically competing on Saturday — SFIFFAVFFH runs from noon to midnight, while the OakCatVidFest runs from 3 to 10 pm — they share a common feature: Internet celebrity Lil Bub. With over 680,000 friends on Facebook, her own chat and feature-length film, BUB has to be one of, if not thee most popular cat on the Interwebs (though Keyboard Cat and Grumpy Cat might have an issue with that statement.)

Lil Bub
Lil Bub

Lil Bub is going to have quite a busy day on Saturday, as her schedule might as well be the same as our president’s when he’s on a Bay Area fundraising trip. She’s the honored guest at the SFIFFAVFFH, where she will receive the festival’s “First Annual Lil BUB Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cat.” She will also be premiering her new video, The BEST of Lil BUB’s Big SHOW, after which she and her owner will participate in a live Q&A.

At the OakCatVidFest, for which she’s this year’s “spokes-cat,” Lil Bub will participating in a meet-and-greet to raise funds for both the East Bay SPCA and her own charity, Lil Bub’s Big Fund for the ASPCA, which benefits cats with special needs. (Lil Bub is a special needs cat herself, having been born the runt of a litter with several genetic mutations, resulting in her “perma-kitten” appearance.)

At this point, if you’re having problems deciding between which festival to attend, don’t let your conscience be the deciding factor. Though the OakCatVidFest has several animal shelters participating in the hope of signing up 100 new foster homes for local kittens, both events are raising funds for their local SPCAs. So keep yourself from commuting on a Saturday (unless you want to) because the most important aspect of these events are the cats themselves. Sure, Internet cat videos are fun and we certainly can’t have enough fun in this town, but for those who truly love cats it should be noted that springtime is “kitten season,” where shelters become overwhelmed with pre-weaned kittens who need around-the-clock attention and care until they are old enough to be adopted.

Now with that said, on Saturday, you should get yourself to one of these events, enjoy some off-the-wall cat videos and take a moment to tell the Bay Area’s honored guest, “Good Job Bub.”

The First Annual San Francisco Intergalactic Film & Video Feline Festival for Humans runs at the Roxie Theater on Saturday, May 10, 2014, beginning at noon. Tickets are $12, $30 for an all-day pass. For tickets and more information, visit www.thefirstannual.com/sfiffavffh/.

The second annual Save A Kitten OakCatVidFest will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014, from 3-10 pm at the Great Wall of Oakland. Tickets start at $10 for adults. For tickets and more information, visit www.oaklandcatvidfest.com/.

Author

Kevin L. Jones

Kevin Jones is an interactive producer for KQED Arts. A graduate of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, Kevin reported on news in the Bay Area at KTVU.com for six years before pursuing his dream of covering the local creative arts scene. In his spare time, he is an unabashed record geek who plays/records music whenever possible i.e., when he's not spending time with his wonderful wife and daughter.

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