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Cinemeow: Europe's Only Cat Film Festival

Picture of Tom Coggins
Updated: 14 September 2016
There has never been a better time to be a cat. They are the fluffy, friendly face of the internet and the uncontested mascots of the millennial generation. Considering their digital omnipresence and cross-cultural pervasiveness, it is safe to say that they are the most documented animals on the planet; a title that has earned them their very own Cinemeow film festival, taking place in The Netherlands.

📅 Friday 23rd September, 2016

Cinemeow is an ongoing project that celebrates our furry companions’ contribution to cinema. The festival was originally a pet project put together by cat-loving cinephiles, Sacha Gertsik and Alexander Zwart. The pair were united by their passion for felines and used their connections with the film industry to set up a movie night entirely dedicated to kitty-conscious shorts. From there, Cinemeow grew into a biannual event that showcases the latest additions to this burgeoning genre.

At the end of this month, Cinemeow will be held as part of the Nederlands Film Festival, inside Utrecht‘s Wolf City theatre. This iteration of Cinemeow will be helmed by the University of Amsterdam’s Joyce Goggins, a self-admitted cat fanatic and the author of The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness. Goggins will lead the festival’s panel discussion, deciphering each short film with her academic insights. Cats, of course, are cute right down to their grumpy core and their peculiar mix of nonchalance, fluffiness and sociability make them intriguingly adorable creatures; a phenomenon that Goggins is eager to analyse.

Eleven shorts will be playing at Cinemeow and will include several hotly anticipated debuts and some classic examples of cat cinema.

Cats in Riga adds a fresh, feline perspective to world events, following a number of urban pusses as they unknowingly overhear TV reports announcing Russia’s growing military capabilities. The cats travel almost silently around Riga, witnessing the human world through their peculiarly attuned senses. For them, the city is a strange place filled with bizarre bipedal creatures, giant predators and labyrinthine obstacles. The only dialogue in the film comes from the faint hum of TV sets, a noise that slowly gives way to purrs and meows.

Cinemeow has also bagged indie luminary Chloë Sevigny’s directional debut, a short narrative film appropriately titled Kitty. In this movie a young girl grows tired of her parents’ negligence and slowly begins to transform into a cat. Her isolation allows these metamorphoses to go completely unnoticed and the protagonist gradually realises that life might actually be better with fur and whiskers.

The night ends with a classic, screening Cordell Barker’s Oscar-nominated cartoon The Cat Came Back. A theatrical score narrates the lead character’s frantic efforts to escape a tiny yellow cat. His plans are persistently foiled by his adorable adversary’s miraculous tenacity and he is forced to resort to progressively absurd methods. The short film has received countless accolades since its release in 1988 and is ranked among the best animated shorts ever made.

To see Cinemeow’s full line-up and order tickets for the event check out their website.