The Internet Cat Video Festival begins Friday night at a/perture Cinema in Winston-Salem. 

The event, running Feb 19-21, highlights works such as "Henri Le Chat Noir," a popular video featuring the inner monologues of a French cat and his existential musings.

Will Braden is the creator of the "Henri Le Chat Noir" videos, and he's also the curator of this year's festival.  Braden won the coveted Golden Kitty award in 2012 from Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the inaugural festival, and the show is now out on the road. Proceeds from the festival benefit Forgotten Felines of Forsyth County.

Braden spoke with WFDD's Eddie Garcia from his home in Seattle, Washington.

Interview Highlights:

On how "Henri Le Chat Noir" came to be: 

"I was in film school and I had a project to do and I was supposed to do a profile of someone. I had just procrastinated and waited way too long. I was running out of time and options. So, I decided I would do a profile of a housecat. But I would do it in sort of a parody of these of these old, French New Wave black-and-white films that we'd been watching in class. So, my cat Henry became Henri and he was just suffering from existential crisis and ennui. Even though he has a pampered house cat life, he sort of manufactures things to be angst-ridden about. I was surprised how many people consider Henri to be their spirit animal because he's a depressed French cat. I guess a lot of people feel that way inside."

On what happens when cat videos become a shared experience:

"When you take this solitary, online experience offline and you make it into a social engagement type of thing, it becomes a whole separate entity. It becomes more enjoyable. You laugh harder. You get to dress up a like a cat if you want. You get to be among your brethren and sistren. That's a big part of it. It just means ‘I want to go an event like this so I can just unashamedly worship at the altar of cat videos and not be embarrassed about it.'” 

Check out "Henri Le Chat Noir" and some of Will Braden's cat video picks below:

Henri 2, Paw de Deux

Maru and Boxes










Stalking Cat

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