The Cat Film Festival Is Coming to the Roxie!

"How has this never happened before?!" you ask. "It has! This is the second one!" they respond.

What would you do with a time machine? Killing Hitler is the obvious choice, unless you’re our current president, in which case you’d give Hitler a thumbs-up and pat him on the back. But what about after that?

There’s another great injustice that needs to be fixed. But first, let’s celebrate the fact that the First Annual N.Y. Cat Film Festival has come to San Francisco! The official description of the festival is “a medley of short films — documentary and narrative — that honor the mysterious felines who have fascinated mankind for centuries and continue to enchant us.”  And as well they should, for they are our betters.

As the name implies, the festival first ran in New York, where the Feral Cat Initiative was its beneficiary. Locally, 10 percent of the Roxie’s ticket sales will go to Fix Our Ferals, an East Bay organization that aims to end the overpopulation of cats and dogs humanely by making spay-neuter services accessible for animals owned by citizens and rescue organizations alike.

The festival itself — which, it should be pointed out, is not suitable for young children — consists of two hour-long programs, Nobody Owns a Cat and Little Works of Art.

Highlights of Nobody Owns a Cat include Sheila O’Rourke’s Jetty Cats, which looks at contemporary animal rights issues — particularly the never-not-controversial Trap-Neuter-Return system of population control — through the lens of a feral cat colony that has persisted on a Southern California jetty for more than 50 years. On the lighter side in the same program is Rick Hamilton’s Winter Break, a monologue by a preschool teacher (Megan Magee) who has only her big orange tabby for company over the holiday.

Meanwhile, the namesake of Little Works of Art is Kim Best’s documentary about Harold “Cat Man” Sims’ American Museum of the House Cat in North Carolina, which has over 10,000 cat-related curios in its collection and supports a no-kill, open cat shelter. Also from Ms. Best is Mittens from Kittens, about how the nuisance of cat fur can be turned into art in the right hands, and even lead to romance. (Cat fur: Is there anything it can’t do?) Meanwhile, Blake Kure’s Guardians of Recoleta looks at the feral cats of the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, and the mixed results when well-meaning Americans — a phrase that has long invoked dread all over the world — took some of those cats and made them indoor-only pets in Chicago.

Oh, and the related injustice requiring a temporal incursion? The fact that the First Annual N.Y. Cat Film Festival is playing the day before the Second Annual Dog Film Festival. Yep, second annual. In spite of the incontrovertible fact that cats rule and dogs drool, the drooling caste somehow got their film festival first. On the grand scale of injustices, it’s pretty minor — but should also be easy to fix. C’mon, time travelers. Make it right. 

The First Annual N.Y. Cat Film Festival, Feb. 17, Roxie Theater


Five Other Film Festivals We’re Excited About

Berlin & Beyond Film Festival
Feb. 9-15
The annual festival returns with the best of recent films from and/or about Germany.

Are We Not Cats?
Feb. 23
We are not, but at least we can dream.

Bad Movie Night: Manos: The Hands of Fate
March 2
Gosh, what edgy, groundbreaking rebels those “Bad” Movie Night hacks are, making fun of a movie already made famous by Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax!

A Wrinkle in Time
March 9
Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel finally gets the big-budget adaptation it deserves — directed by Ava DuVernay and starring future president Oprah Winfrey, no less.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
March 9
A documentary about the famously beautiful actress who never received credit for also being a major brainiac, and whose unheralded work laid the foundation for the wifi you’re probably using to read these words.

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