Screenshot from Pittsburgh's Pretty Kitties. Image courtesy of Row House Cinema.

Since opening its doors in 2014, Row House Cinema has rolled out week after week of programming celebrating everything from cult films to legendary directors. Now the independent, single-screen theater will make felines the focus of its first Cat Film Festival.

The weeklong event showcases the city’s furriest and finest with “Pittsburgh’s Pretty Kitties,” a 70-minute video compiled from more than 160 videos submitted by local cat owners. The videos will be judged based on four categories — Cutest, Funniest, Bravest and Most Yinzer — with winners taking home prizes from Row House, Colony Cat Cafe, Lawrenceville Pet Supply and others.

“Our inspiration came from the incredible popularity of internet cat videos and cat memes,” says Row House marketing coordinator Casey Taylor. “It’s very hard to watch a cat video and not be entertained and we wanted to bring that energy to Pittsburgh.”

She goes on to say that the project also gave the theater crew a chance to produce something of their own.

“All the behind the scenes work was done in-house,” says Taylor, adding that Row House owner Brian Mendelssohn spent the most time editing the video. “Many of us on the staff have watched the video and ranked the submissions to help determine the winners.”

Screenshot from Pittsburgh’s Pretty Kitties. Image courtesy of Row House Cinema.
Screenshot from Pittsburgh’s Pretty Kitties. Image courtesy of Row House Cinema.

Besides “Pittsburgh’s Pretty Kitties,” movie lovers can expect a host of cat-centric movies during the festival, including the action comedy Keanu, the documentary Kedi, and two animated features, the Oscar-nominated French GKIDS selection, A Cat in Paris, and Ralph Bakshi’s R-rated adult work, Fritz the Cat. In addition, awesomely bad movie fans can take in a midnight RiffTrax screening of Uninvited, a bizarre 1988 horror film about a killer mutant disguised as a harmless house cat.

Taylor says the festival could lead to similar events at Row House.

“We had a lot of fun with this, so I think if the right opportunity comes along we would definitely do something like this again,” she says, adding that they discussed the possibility of a dog festival or some other animal-related movie week.

The Cat Film Festival takes place from November 10-16. “Pittsburgh’s Pretty Kitties” winners will be announced on the closing night. Purchase tickets for “Pittsburgh’s Pretty Kitties” showings and other festival events at the Row House website or at the door.

Watch the festival preview video below:

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.