The 2014 Internet Cat Video Film Festival Is Coming to Boston

Attendees can watch 70 straight minutes of ridiculous feline antics at the Berklee Performance Center on October 30.

Filming cats isn’t a phenomenon that was born from the boom of the Internet and easy access to handheld devices—cat videos have been hilarious for more than a century.

For example, in July 1894, Thomas Edison used a new camera to take footage of two felines in a tiny ring as they slapped each other with small boxing gloves covering their paws.

While some claim that the video, which features Edison in the background playfully mediating the feisty fight, was the first of its kind, it certainly set a precedent for what was to come.

It also happens to be one of the featured shorts that’s part of the 2014 “Internet Cat Video Film Festival” coming to the Berklee Performance Center on October 30.

“God only knows why Edison decided to put gloves on the cats and record it, but it just shows how long people have been invested in filming cats,” said William Braden, the curator of this year’s Festival and touring program, who had the honor of sifting through hundreds of cat videos to string together the perfect combination of mischievous and funny footage. “But the festival really tries to cover all the bases, including a vintage section of old cat videos.”

Billed as the “first offline celebration of online cat videos,” and born out of complete boredom in 2012 by workers at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the film festival coming to Boston promises attendees 70 minutes of Vines, clips, phone recordings, and short films all focused on the laughable actions of people’s feline companions.

“Cats are the de facto mascot of the Internet,” said Braden. “Everybody has cats, but they aren’t ubiquitous in the world outside like dogs are; there’s no ‘take your cat to work day,’ or places to take your cat to the park, so the Internet has become this place for people to be like, ‘oh my cat does that too,’ and it plays into the idea that everyone thinks their cat is amazing. And if [people are filming] millions of times a day, a lot of good stuff is going to come out of it.”

In it’s third year, the festival travels the country and makes stops in cities from New York to Boston, and is usually accompanied by a short intro or other cat-related events. But as time has pressed on, the curators from the Walker Art Center discovered that it’s best to skip the presentations and get right to the goods.

“It’s best to just get out of way and let the reel play—that’s what people are there for,” said Braden. “The festival’s just a real unifying thread for people who want to come see cat videos.”

Below is the Edison video in all its glory, to get you prepared for the upcoming show: