No kitten around: CatVideoFest brings best-of cat compilation videos to the big screen

No kitten around: CatVideoFest brings best-of cat compilation videos to the big screen

MAITLAND, Fla. — Have you ever pressed play on one 30 second video of a cat doing something silly and then found yourself an hour later eyes still glued to the screen with no idea if 5 minutes or 5 hours have gone by?

For Will Braden, that's his job.

Braden, the director of CatVideoFest, said he's made business cards that simply say on one side: "I make cat videos."

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CatVideoFest is bringing its 70-minute compilation reel of kitty-cat cuteness – along with a cast of locally adoptable felines – to the Enzian Theater in Maitland for an encore showing on Sunday, Sept. 22. A  showing earlier this month sold out.

It's Braden's job to watch thousands of submitted videos to find the purrfect ones that make the cut. He estimates he watches between 7,000 and 8,000 clips a year. Between 100 and 110 make the reel.

The cat lover with a passion for films and music said sometimes, the perfect job just finds you. He found his years after winning the Golden Kitty award at the inaugural Internet Cat Video Festival in 2012.

"If you look at the Venn diagram of all the things I was interested, right in the middle was creating funny cat videos," he said.

The secret to a winning cat video? Braden said it's all down to timing. Here are his tips to claw your way to the top:

  • Make it short: "People have short attention spans. Nothing's 5 minutes long on the internet.
  • Make it neutral: "A big part of it is that it's accessible. It needs to be relatable for all demographics, politically neutral and inoffensive."
  • Make them wait for it: "Make sure the funny bit or the interesting bit happens right at the end. Then people are more likely to share it with their friends and have it go viral."

CatVideoFest combines that universal adorableness and hilarity of felines with a philanthropic twist. Event organizers coordinate with local animal shelters or rescue organizations to table outside showings offering information about local programs and, sometimes, adoptable cats that moviegoers can give a good home.

For this year's events at the Enzian, the movie theater has teamed up with Pet Rescue By Judy with the rescue slated to bring its adoptable kitties to the showing.

Professed cat lover Valerie Cisneros, marketing manager for the Enzian, said CatVideoFest fits perfectly into the theater's mission.

"Enzian's Mission is to entertain, inspire, educate, and connect the community through film. This event fits in perfectly with our mission since it's not only entertaining, but it brings the community together for an educational and charitable purpose," Cisneros said in an email.

Braden said a percentage of the proceeds from each event are donated to local animal shelters and/or animal welfare organizations.

"It's supporting a good cause, and having fun at the same time," he said.

Braden and Cisneros said the event at the Enzian is aimed at all ages. Braden said it's one of the few things you could bring your 6-year-old daughter and 60-year-old mother to that they'd both enjoy equally.

"The idea is that there's something that can appeal to everyone in your family," Braden said. "There's not that many things like that out there."

Tickets are still available for the Sunday, Sept. 22, CatVideoFest showing at the Enzian. It starts at 1 p.m.. Click here for more information.