Internet Cat Video Festival coming back to Berklee Performance Center

When the Berklee Performance Center hosted the Internet Cat Video Festival for the first time last year, people were clawing to get in so they could watch a 70-minute reel of cat footage from the Web.

Thankfully, for those who didn’t make it inside, there’s now a second chance to enjoy the feline film phenomenon.

On Oct. 29, Berklee is hosting the festival for the second time at the center, featuring a collection of some of the funniest and most fascinating videos posted online. The event will include a selection of “six-second Vine videos to short films and everything in between,” according to event organizers.


“It’s pure, unadulterated fun for the whole family,” said Berklee Performance Center spokeswoman Virginia McMahon. “And it’s an interesting take on what everyone does in their free time — taking a break at work, or on their phones to watch cat videos on YouTube.” The festival, she said, makes watching cat videos “a whole community experience.”

Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:
The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Cats seem to be everywhere on the Internet, pictured in millions of photos, videos, and memes.

In June, an assistant professor from Indiana University Bloomington shared findings from a survey of 7,000 people that showed watching cat videos online boosted people’s overall moods, and brought pleasure to their days. The survey’s aim was to get a better understanding of “the effects the Internet may have” on people’s behavior. The analysis was later published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

The science doesn’t lie.

“Not a lot of stuff is pure these days,” said McMahon. “And few things are as pure as cats on the Internet.”


The upcoming Internet Cat Video Festival is curated by the Walker Art Center, a Minneapolis-based contemporary arts institution that first created the event in 2012. The center’s cat reel will feature roughly 100 cat videos nominated by the public in the categories of comedy, drama, animated, musical, action, vintage, and documentary, according to event organizers.

Because this year’s showing falls on National Cat Day, Berklee will tack on a “Cats-stume” contest, where attendees in the best cat-themed apparel can win prizes. Organizers are also bringing in Berklee’s official mascot, Mingus, who, fittingly, happens to be a giant feline.

To top it all off, Harvard University law professor Jonathan Zittrain will emcee the event. Zittrain is an expert in all things Internet and the faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. But don’t expect him to talk about the legalities of sharing cat videos — his mind will be focused on entertainment.

“He’s a very well-regarded Harvard professor with extensive experience studying the Internet. We’re excited to see the insight he brings to this to make it a more educational experience,” said McMahon. “But it will just be about cat videos at the end of the day.”

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.