Quarantine Cat Film Fest Will Raise Money to Help Movie Theaters Closed Due to COVID-19

The online film festival will compile fan-submitted cat videos, filmed during quarantine, for a movie dropping June 19

Quarantined cats are helping raise money for independent movie theaters closed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Brian Mendelssohn, owner and manager of Row House Cinema in Pittsburgh, announced the first-ever Quarantine Cat Film Fest, which will compile fan-submitted, shelter-in-place cat videos for a hilarious fundraising movie dropping June 19.

"It's perfect. Everyone is home, stuck with their cats, and people want to help out movie theaters," Mendelssohn told USA Today, adding that his wife suggested the idea after spending extra time with the couple's two cats, Oliver and Isabella.

"The internet exists because of cats. It’s just fun to watch cats do cool things," Mendelssohn said.

Mendelssohn partnered with 37 other independent theater owners across North America to put out a call for cat videos and has already received over 200 submissions.

Once all of the cat videos are collected, Mendelssohn says he will edit the best ones together for a "70-minute long compilation [that] will be the most purr-fect, a-meow-zing, and totally fur-tastic cat videos anyone has ever seen!"

Quarantine cat film festival
Row House cinema

"Some of these videos are amazing; it's going to take a tremendous amount of editing," Mendelssohn said. "We suspect it’s going to take two weeks of editing, and one week of post-production work."

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Each participating theater will sell tickets to view the film online and will receive 50% of the net proceeds, according to the festival's website. "With your help, we are hoping cats will help to save independent movie theaters through this unprecedented quarantine."

There will also be a series of cash prizes for anyone who submits videos of their adorable felines. A panel of judges will decide on the cutest cat, funniest cat, bravest cat, and most loving cat.

"There will be a Best of Show award as well. The videos will be judged by cat experts who are very opinionated," the website states. "The cash prize amounts will be determined closer to the film's release."

Mendelssohn is asking that all videos be submitted by May 15, and urges people to film them horizontally. He also outlines on the website that there is a limit of three videos per household and that each video should be no longer than 30 seconds.

For more information on how to get involved, you can click on this link.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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