No Actors? Try Cats

Google “cat videos” and you’ll get 4.8 billion views.

We love these mini-movies because cats swing, Charlie Chaplin apex predators on acid, between manic zane and don’t-give-a-shit zen.

And, as John Oliver at Last Week Tonight and Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal, among others, have pointed out, the coronavirus lockdown is a peak moment in the history of feline and friend. Cat club is in session.

Now, behold, a great American idea to fight virus with viral: A nationwide cat video contest and film to support local movie theaters, run by Pittsburgh’s Row House Cinema.

Click here to submit your best 30-second video of your cat going crazy by May 15. Entry is free and there’s a limit of three per household. Cash prizes, to be determined, in categories of “Cutest, Funniest, Bravest, and Most Loving”, and best overall. Check website for full specs, which include horizontal frame, no music, and mp4, mov, m4v formats.

Starting June 19, you can buy a ticket online to watch the resulting 70-minute film, and you’ll get to choose which local theater to support with approximately 50% of your ticket price. (The rest is for Row House and the filmmakers.) So far, over 30 theaters in 23 states have signed on, including The Neon, Dayton OH, Tampa Theatre, Tampa FL, Sidewalk Film Center, Birmingham AL, and Paradise Theater, Toronto ON.

The lives of indie films, like our “Moundsville”, run through places like Row House, a cozy 84-seat den twinned with a craft beer bar, and we screened there a couple times last year.

The idea for the cat video contest, said Brian Mendelssohn — owner of Row House, two cats (Isabella and Oliver, who star in the film’s trailer), one dog (Copper) — is to “celebrate cats” while raising money for independent movie theaters, “who are deeply at risk due to closures.”

Like other theaters, Row House has been surviving by renting current films to viewers on their website, and it’s been selling beer in its store, and now, channeling the greatest online film craze of them all, with actors bound to be more exciting than those boring humans on Zoom.

John W. Miller

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