It’s Caturday – all weekend – on Hertel Avenue, where the North Park Theatre is the center of two days of cat-filled activities, movies and the chance to adopt a new friend.
The weekend revolves around screenings of this year's version of the popular "CatVideoFest" and the premiere of the well-regarded Japanese film “The Island of Cats,” along with the chance to adopt cats looking for their forever homes.
“CatVideoFest” is the annual compilation reel culled from funny and heartwarming cat videos from amateurs and professionals. It will be shown at 2 and 4:15 p.m. Feb. 29 and March 1. Tickets are $8.50 general and $7.50 for seniors. Screenings of the video raise money for cats in need through partnerships with local cat charities, animal welfare organizations and shelters to best serve cats in the area. In this case, local charities include the Ten Lives Club cat adoption group, which will have cats available for adoptions at the North Park.
“The Island of Cats,” which has been called a “cat-lovers’ dream,” is the story of the relationship between a 10-year-old cat named Tama (who narrates part of the film) and his human "servant," an elderly widower named Daikichi (played by Shinosuke Tatekawa). It will be shown at 7 p.m. Feb. 29 and March 1. Tickets are $10.50 adults and $7.50 seniors.
Based off the hit manga by Nekomaki, “The Island of Cats” is the feature film directorial debut of animal photographer Mitsuaki Iwago. This is a special showing for the North Park since the film has yet to have U.S. distribution.
In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling called the film “a mental vacation, with images of lovable cats and portrayals of pure-hearted island folk easing away stress like a long soak in a hot spring.”
In addition to the entertainment and movies, however, the most important aspect about the weekend may be finding homes for adoptable cats. The Ten Lives Club will be in the North Park lobby at about 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with adoptable cats. Guests can take part in a basket raffle to benefit Ten Lives, plus learn more about the group and volunteering activities. The group – and cats – will be in the lobby until the end of the second showing of "CatVideoFest," at about 6 p.m. each day.
Colleen Beverlin, project coordinator at Ten Lives Club, said the weekend of events brings together cat lovers while raising awareness for Ten Lives Club and helping to find homes for the animals. Ten Lives Club works with another Hertel Avenue business, the Purrfect Cat Café and Gallery (1507 Hertel Ave.), that also will have a presence at the event and has donated baskets. Many of the cats at Purrfect Cat are from Ten Lives Club, including those that will be at the North Park. Beverlin said adoptions can take place in the North Park or those interested can go to Purrfect Cat later. Bring identification and a cat carrier if you are seriously considering adoption.
Before everything starts though, cat owners are invited to submit a video of their cat to email@example.com for a chance to get their special friend on the big screen during the preshow at the North Park. The funniest video will win a prize from Purrfect Cat Café.