Incredible Movies for NY Dog & Cat Film Festivals This Year in NYC!

Cat Film Festival & Dog Film Festial logos

Incredible Movies for the NY Dog & Cat Film Festivals This Year in NYC!

If you live anywhere near New York City — and you love dogs and/or cats — all I can say is: you have a treat in store for the premiere of the 2nd Annual NY Cat Film Festival Saturday December 1st and the 4th Annual NY Dog Film Festival Sunday December 2nd.

And I’m not just saying it because I created these festivals, I’m saying it because I am merely the conduit for the fantastic films that filmmakers have bestowed on me to choose from for the Festivals.

The filmmakers are the real stars of these festivals because they have created little bits of magic with their films. They poured their hearts, souls (and often crowd-sourced funding) into making these short films about dogs or cats. They had no way of knowing their film would ever make it in front of an audience. They certainly had no way of knowing their movie would find its way up on a big state-of-the-art screen, in the gorgeous SVA Theater on West 23rd street (part of the School for Visual Arts) in New York City. And how could they imagine that their film would play in front of a packed audience of passionate pet lovers.

For me, having chosen and curated the films from dozens of hours of films submitted – and then decided which ones should play in what order – it’s gratifying to be in the back of the theater and watch the waves of emotion flow through the audience. If you’ve been to the Festivals in the audience before, you know what an incredible emotional journey of laughter and tears of joy these films take you on. But for the filmmakers, It’s an ethereal experience to actually be there in person to feel the excitement and emotion move so many people – to experience the fruits of your labor. I wish all the filmmakers could be there to feel the love and appreciation, and even though many are far away to come, this year we even have two women filmmakers coming from England and Spain.

NY Cat Film Festival Bag

The very least I could do for the filmmakers was to put together a gift bag for them to express my appreciation for their artistry, and give them with a couple of mementos of their accomplishment. The NY Cat Film Festival filmmakers get a cat-themed carry bag with a copy of the charming My Cat’s Album to memorialize their own kitty, a copy of the inimitable Rita Mae Brown’s newest Mrs. Murphy mystery Probable Claws, (you can hear my interview with Rita Mae about it here);  Phillippa Sandall’s Seafurrers, a delightfully unexpected history of cats on ships and you can hear my interview with Phillippa here. They each got a 30 day pheromone diffuser from Presenting Sponsor Comfort Zone (the proven calming solution for cats—which everybody in the audience will get a free coupon for, which is a $30 value!), and a sample of Dr. Elsey’s CleanProtein canned food and a sample of their cat-healthy dry food. Dr. Elsey’s is the Founding Sponsor of the Festival, which would not even exist without their passion for kitty cats and trust in my determination to give cats their due on the screen.

I can barely believe we are already at the premiere of the 4th Annual NY Dog Film Festival. Thank you New Yorkers, for embracing and supporting what turned from a moment’s bold folly in 2015 into a Festival that now travels to 40 cities countrywide and has become more than a full time preoccupation!) What the dog filmmakers got was a big insulated NY Dog Film Festival commemorative gift bag, along with a Labrador ceramic treats canister, Scottie dog tea towels, a branded Dog Film Festival extra leash, a copy of  My Dog’s Album to memorialize their own pooch, an advance reader’s copy of Rita Mae Brown’s newest dog-centric historical novel Homeward Hound, which history buffs will love just as much as dog aficionados do. I was able to gather three of the many greet filmmakers to join me for an hour on my NPR show DOG TALK (and Kitties, Too!) — and you can HEAR Rowenna Baldwin in England, Mike Bulda on the East Coast, and Erin Parks in Canada, talk about their dog-loving documentaries.

NY Dog Film Festival Bag

If you’ve been to either Festival before, I want to thank you for supporting this pet-loving experience which is also philanthropic. The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals (and the 150 NYC rescues and shelters it supports) always get 10% of every ticket sold, with their Feral Cat Alliance benefiting from the Cat Film Festival. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet of attending, I urge you to come and see for yourself. And come say hello to me, as I’ll be there to greet everyone in person at the door. Last year the NY Cat Film Festival sold out in its premiere, so I imagine that will happen this year too so buy your tickets now and don’t be disappointed! If you think you’d like to come to the Dog Film Festival, I can promise you a fantastic line-up of films, to which you can buy tickets ahead of time. See you there to join me on the emotional roller-coaster as we all share the feeling of loving these fine creatures who share our lives.

I just did an interview for the Midtown Cinema podcast in Harrisburg, PA— talking about the meaning and motivation behind making these festivals and audiences wanting to share them — I think it’s worth a listen here.

—Tracie Hotchner

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