Brian Mendelssohn

Cat videos to the rescue

Can a collection of cat videos help save independent movie houses from the economic ravages of the pandemic?

Do cats know that there is a pandemic? Cat lover, filmmaker and movie theatre owner Brian Mendelssohn isn’t sure, but he is struck by the feline capacity for empathy.

“My wife is pregnant now and our cat Oliver has literally been sleeping on her every night, protecting her and the kid,” Mendelssohn says. “So they definitely sense what we’re feeling and what we’re doing.”

Mendelssohn’s fascination with cats is felt in every frame of the Quarantine Cat Film Fest, an 84-minute movie he directed that features cat videos from across America. The film is filled with feasting, lounging and adventuring cats—and it’s raising money for independent theatres affected by the pandemic (including several in Oregon). “‘Funny’ and ‘cute’—those things that we need during a pandemic,” Mendelssohn says. “We just needed a boost right now.”