By Jessica Lovell
It starts with one innocent click on an emailed link. Before you know it, you’ve whiled away an hour watching just one more. Followed by just one more.
Silly cat videos.
Those who have found themselves wrapped up in this pastime might be pleased to learn the Internet Cat Video Festival will be making a stop in Guelph as part of its Canadian tour this spring.
“It’s going to be a really fun night and a way to bring together people who love cats,” said Kim Elmslie, communications and advocacy manager for the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
The festival was born a couple of years ago at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, Minn. Screened was a selection of cat-themed YouTube videos meant to bring online communities of people together in the real world. It drew an audience of thousands. The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies got its paws on the reel and is now putting the popularity of cat videos to work to help cats.
In Canada, it’s called Just For Cats, and it will be playing at The Bookshelf in Guelph on June 19, said Elmslie. The exact details have yet to be finalized.
The festival tour starts in Toronto in April.
The big launch will be at the TIFF Bell Lightbox cultural centre with Laureen Harper, “who’s a big cat fan,” said Elmslie.
The prime minister’s wife fosters cats and was happy to come on board to support other rescued animals.
The festival is a fundraiser, supporting both local shelters and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Locally, the federation is partnering with the Guelph Humane Society to bring the event to the city, said Elmslie.
The majority of the money raised will stay at the local level, but “a small amount of the funds will be coming to the national level,” she said.
Cat video lovers may be excited to see such Internet celebricats as Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub, but they will also have the chance to see their own cats featured on the big screen. To give the event an added local angle, organizers are holding contests in each host city. Guelph residents will be able to upload their own cat videos to the festival’s Facebook page for the chance to be part of the show. “It make it a little bit more fun,” Elmslie said. “It’s something local and a chance to get your cat on the big screen.”
The top 10 most popular videos for each city, based on their “likes,” will be sent to a judging panel, which will pick the top three for each city. These videos will be screened before the festival reel in the corresponding city. The first place videos will get free tickets to the screening.
For details on how to enter, visit www.justforcats.ca.
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By Jessica Lovell