AnnaLynne McCord hosts the Catdance Film Festival

AnnaLynne McCord, star of '90210,' hosted a mini-festival that was held at Sundance and featured five short films about felines.

Nekesa Mumbi Moody/AP
AnnaLynne McCord tries on a cat-shaped hat at the Catdance Film Festival.

Everyone's favorite Internet meme — the cat video — has hit the big time.

Behold the Catdance Film Festival, a one-night celebration of camera-worthy cats that was held Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival.

The five short films that were featured went beyond the typical surprised-kitty or cat-threatens-dog fare popular on YouTube. The Catdance films, culled from submissions by cat lovers across the country, told creative, feline-focused tales. There was the story of an aging Internet cat who can't cope with the loss of fame and "A Cat's Guide to Caring for a Human."

"Humans are inherently lazy," reported the latter film in a '50s-inspired instructional style. "Left to their own devices, they will sleep well past the break of dawn."

Other films included "Catalogue," where a couple orders a bedspread from a catalog and is surprised to see that the cat shown in the photo was shipped with the comforter. "Rocky" tells a heartfelt story of a man's 17-year relationship with his cat. In "A Change of Heart," a photo of a cat on a cellphone saves a failing relationship.

Each of the five finalists was awarded a golden cat-litter scoop.

Actress AnnaLynne McCord hosted the event, which was sponsored by the Fresh Step litter brand. The 25-year-old "90210" star is a lifelong cat lover who proudly displayed photos and videos of her cat, Christopher Buni, on her own cell Saturday.

"What's not to love about a cat?" she asked. "Cats have so much personality. They're very highly intelligent creatures, and if you're a highly intelligent creature, you respond to that."

The Catdance Film Festival was accompanied by a festive, feline-themed party on Park City's Main Street. Spoofs of famous movie posters dotted the walls, with cats replacing the stars of films such as "Top Gun," ''Pulp Fiction," ''The Big Lebowski" and "Clueless." Drinks such as the Feline Fresh and Kitten Kaboodle were served, along with tuna appetizers.

Catdance continues online: Fans can watch the feline films beginning Sunday and vote for their favorite until Feb. 28. The winning filmmaker will collect $10,000. Also available are limited-edition knit hats with cat ears, with all proceeds benefiting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Cats have even clawed their way into the actual Sundance festival. They had their own official entry with the short film "Catnip: Egress to Oblivion?", director Jason Willis' spoof of educational movies exploring social ills. The seven-minute film, which ran in Sundance's midnight-movie program, has commentary from the "Catnip Crisis Center" and other supposed scientific groups about the effects and hazards felines face when partaking of catnip.

Willis called it "mostly a home movie about my cats" and said the film's entire budget came to $25 — to buy catnip.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.