By STEPHANIE MARRIE, Staff Writer
It is a packed house on April 22, at the Bryn Mawr film institute. Men, women, and children swarm around the cat memorabilia in anticipation of the Internet Cat Film Festival. The vendors are all women. Unfortunately, there are no actual cats.
Three busts wearing contemporary cat ears greet the visitors. Their ears were designed by the WXYZ Company, who were responsible for the designs of Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj’s dresses (as can be seen by the photo collection next to the entrance). In one of the cat ear photos just outside Hothouse Coffee, the designer’s daughter smiles brightly.
Across the atrium, two women show a book of cats available for adoption. The first cat volunteer, Janice, explains, “We’re with the Main Line Animal Rescue.”
The second cat volunteer, Judy, adds, “We’re totally not-for-profit. We run on fundraisers and donations, and we’re here showing some of our cats.”
When asked what she likes best about cats, Judy replies, “How can you ever choose one thing? Each one has its own personality. Each one is unique. You get so much more back from them than you give them. They’re such accepting, sweet creatures. I mean, I don’t know what else to tell you. If somebody’s not owned a cat, they don’t really know what cats are really about.”
Main Point Books seems to be a fan favorite among families. The table has everything from Grumpy Cat to collections of hot men with cats! The Simon’s Cat collection is one of the most prominent books on display, nicely foreshadowing the animation sector of the film festival.
Thomas Edison’s 1984 “Boxing Cats” was one of the first shorts ever made. Film was a new media and was commonly referred to as “actualities” or as Tom Gunning calls, “a cinema of attractions.”
The most interesting part of the reception is the cat wine. It comes in two colors: red and gold. Zoe Boath, the VP of operations at Apollo Peak, explains: “It’s a mixture of beet juice and catnip, with a little bit of salt and water. It has all the same effects that catnip typically gives them.”
Both screenings of the film itself are fully booked. Some people are turned away from the aisles. Before the film begins, the audience is treated to several historical clips. These include the ending of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and a key scene from the film noir Cat People. Next, several trivia questions involving female-only cat breeds flash across the silver screen while the song “What’s New, Pussycat” plays in the background. Ten minutes later, the festival really begins. It is a collection of all the YouTube viral cat videos of the late 2000’s, in addition to some music videos. An animated short called “Trash Cat” also plays; it’s clearly inspired by Natasha Allegri’s “Puppycat” cartoon. The film ends with a high-quality recording of a cat competition.