HomeAmericaWith Whiskers & Wit, NY Cat & Dog Film Festival Returns

With Whiskers & Wit, NY Cat & Dog Film Festival Returns

The two annual cinematic festivals always attract passionate ticket buyers, whether they lack a car chase, explosions, alien invasion or a James Bond like Daniel Craig.

What they have: Mustaches, no small amount of wildness and wit.

they are NY Cat Film Festival And this NY Dog Film Festival, who is returning to Manhattan after a pandemic-induced hiatus. Cat Festival, Saturday afternoon screening – global cat day – Feather The Village East by Angelica Theater, consists of 21 short tasks lasting a total of 90 minutes. a nearly two-hour dog festival, which Comes October 24 in the same theater, it has 20 short films. (Animal lovers outside of New York can See NS festivals, too: they will tour across the country and in Canada for several months.)

“I think it’s going to be the highest quality year, possibly, for both,” said Tracy Hotchner, a writer and radio host in Vermont who founded Dog Festival in 2015 And cat version two years later. In a telephone interview, she told that in the early days of the lockdown in 2020, “people didn’t get toilet paper, but they were making beautiful films.”

Not surprisingly, the pandemic appears in both festivals. In “will you be my quarantineIn a feline comedy, actress and director Susku Ekim Kaya shows herself and her pet, Lady Leia, engaged in typically obsessive lockdown activities such as grooming, watching TV, cellphone scrolling and FaceTime calling in split screen. They lead harmonious parallel lives, while Jasmine Scotty-Young’s “feline hero”quarantine diaryAnd the “house cats” of real echoes complain of their owners’ constant presence in human-supplied voice-overs.

Dog festival themes, on the other hand, never seem to long for social distancing. “You don’t believe in personal space,” Kyle Scoble said softly to his Labrador retriever-pointer mix, Darla, “The second time I found out about my dog”, a documentary that serves as a tribute to how Darla got her through 2020.

But cats may have a reason for their apparently different behavior. “If it’s an indoor cat, it’s tolerating an ongoing state of lockdown,” kim bestA director from Durham, NC, said in a phone call.

That observation fuels Best’s “The Great Escape,” in which a cat named Monkey makes a concerted effort to get out of the house, even consulting the digital assistant Alexa, whom she calls around. Or bats and meows. In Best’s other festival entry, “Cat Capitalization”, her pet, Nub, turns to the Internet to market her artistic talents, ostentatiously thanks – in thought bubbles – to patrons such as artists Mark Rothko and Vincent van Gogh. . (The Nube is missing a bit of an ear.)

Best said that he aimed to “satire not only capitalism but academics as well.”

This type of humor is a theme at the Cat Festival, with films such as Nevada Caldwell’s “Feline Noir” and Priscilla Dean’s “Catfight at the O’Koreal” parodying Old Hollywood clichés.

But while the canine film slate is not without laughs – David Cool’s animated “go fetch“is a revenge comedy of two minutes – it contains more in-depth examinations of the human-animal bond that characterizes both the festivals.

love in the streetsFor example, a Brazilian documentary by Thiago Coche depicts the lives of the homeless in Puerto Alegre, who often take better care of their dogs than themselves. Loyal pets also attract the concern of passersby, who often overlook the suffering of animal owners.

“People who love dogs tend to look right behind humans,” Hotchner said. “I’d love more movies about it, because I think it’s something we don’t want to see.”

“The Comfort Dogs” also shows the power of pet ownership. Produced by Matthew Saleh and Rose TuckerThis film is an excerpt from their feature documentary, “An Australian couple who live and work together in Brooklyn.”we don’t deserve dogsThe ” section focuses on Comfort Dog Project, which provides pets to young people who were forced to become child soldiers in the Ugandan Civil War.

Saleh said in a joint phone call that with the dogs, ex-servicemen can share “quite harrowing” experiences. “Dogs almost become part of the way the story is told.”

Another documentary, zach putnamiof “Nicola,” shows how its subject, a yellow lab canine companion, a service program for people with disabilities, not only changed the life of the college student who received it. He also imparted a strong lesson of faith and sacrifice to the student who had dedicatedly trained him, but eventually, in tears, had to leave.

However, both festivals remind the audience that these animals need people just as much as people need them. Hotchner, which organizes events as a labor of love – tickets are $20 each – always contributes part of the sales of each screening to the respective local charities. Cat Festival in New York Will Help Support Bideawee’s Wild Cat Initiative, while this year, all dog festival shows will benefit nonprofits Senior Dogs Saving Week (October 25-31).

“There is a growing awareness,” Kovid said aside, “senior dogs are delightful to be adopted and most quickly put to sleep in a shelter,” Hotchner said. in Gary Tellian”Legends of Comedy share love for older dogs, “You’ll hear this message in public service announcements from celebrities who are themselves seniors: Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart and Lily Tomlin, along with Karl Rainer, who died last June at the age of 98.

The plight of dogs that are not cuddly puppies also appears in documentaries such as “Not Broken: Freedom RideBy Krista Dillon, Emma Lao and Dylan Abad, about the long journey taking 53 rescued dogs from Louisiana to a pet adoption fair in Rhode Island. In “Chino”, “Another Excerpt from”we don’t deserve dogs, “Its old theme, a street mute in Santiago, Chile, survives only because the residents concerned provide care.

“Street dog culture is completely different,” Tucker said, adding that the animals have a way of “just bringing a whole community together”—a goal for these festivals as well.

NY Cat Film Festival

October 16 in the East Village by Angelica, Manhattan; catfilmfestival.com.

NY Dog Film Festival

October 24 in the East Village by Angelica, Manhattan; dogfilmfestival.com.

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