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What to Watch: 6 Purr-fect Sundance Premieres to View on International Cat Day

A man (Ryan Reynolds) sits on his couch looking at his cat and dog

Pictured: The Voices

By Stephanie Ornelas 

Cats have long been a staple in cinema dating all the way back to 1903 when director George Albert Smith presented viewers with The Sick Kitten, a minute-long silent film about two children who play doctor and tend to their kitten. Who would’ve thought that the concept of filming cute cat videos is over 100 years old? It’s no wonder that our feline friends have inspired so many films about cats, whether it’s an eye-opening documentary or a feel-good comedy. 

In honor of International Cat Day today, we’re looking back at the famous felines that starred in Sundance Film Festival premieres, as well as the documentaries that help educate us on our furry companions and where they come from. Sundance Festivalgoers might also recall when Fresh Step hosted the Catdance Film Festival in Park City during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Creators were able to submit their own cat videos for a chance to win the golden cat-litter scoop, a cash prize, and have their short played at the event (see the shorts here).  

So, celebrate your little predator and cozy up with them (if they let you) in front of one of these six Sundance premieres all about cats:     

The Future (2011 Sundance Film Festival)

Miranda July directs and stars in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival comedy-drama about a 30-something couple who realize that in one month, their lives will change radically when they pick up the stray cat they’re adopting. Wanting to take advantage of their fleeting freedom, they quit their jobs, disconnect their internet, and pursue new passions. (Available to stream on Roku, Vudu, and Plex)

When the Cat’s Away (1997 Sundance Film Festival)

Garance Clavel stars in “When the Cat’s Away”

A missing cat provides the key to the locked-up secrets of a Paris neighborhood in this 1997 Sundance Film Festival premiere. Searching for her lost pet, a young woman finds much more — romance, adventure, and a better understanding of the world around her. (Available to purchase on Amazon

Catnip: Egress to Oblivion? (2018 Sundance Film Festival)

Catnip is all the rage with today’s modern feline, but how much do we really know about the famous plant? Cat owners everywhere might want to educate themselves with this 2018 Sundance Film Festival short that candidly discusses the facts about this cat addiction. (Full short available to watch on YouTube)

The Voices (2014 Sundance Film Festival)

Watch Ryan Reynolds play a mentally unhinged factory worker who must decide whether to listen to his talking cat and become a killer, or follow his dog’s advice to keep striving for normalcy. The comedy-horror film had its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and also screened at the 2014 Sundance London Film and Music Festival. (Available to rent on Apple TV, Google Play Movies & TV, and Amazon Prime

Goliath (2008 Sundance Film Festival)

John Bryant stars in “Goliath”

The 2008 Sundance Film Festival comedy follows a recently divorced man who discovers he misses one aspect of his marriage — his cat Goliath. Frustrated with his current situation, he focuses on broadening his neighborhood search, posting flyers, offering a reward, and even hiring a private investigator. (Available to rent on Apple TV)

Land of the Tiger (1988 Sundance Film Festival)

A two-part docuseries, Land of the Tiger takes viewers to two national parks in the heart of India to present a fascinating study of the enormous jungle cats that dwell there. With some never-before-filmed scenes of tigers stalking their prey and caring for their young, the 1988 Sundance Film Festival documentary shows how, despite their size and their power, tigers are among the most elusive of animals. (Available to watch on archive.org by National Geographic Society Educational Services)

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A man in a beige shirt and with medium-length dark hair kneels in the dirt and looks over his right shoulder at the camera

Who Was… Mark Silverman?

Mark Silverman allied himself with the Coen brothers early in his and their careers. Here, he works as co-producer on the set of “Raising Arizona.”

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