The folks at the Branson Regional Arts Council have joined more than 60 independent theatre houses, most of which were closed this spring, taking part in the virtual “Quarantine Cat Film Fest,” which serves as a way to help these venues bring in digital revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic forced the Branson Regional Arts Council to close the Historic Owen Theatre last March, yet our expenses to lease and maintain the facility have continued without any productions to help support our efforts,” said Jim Barber, Executive Director of the Arts Council. “Until we are able to safely welcome audiences back into this 200 seat venue, we are relying on virtual education classes in the arts and outdoor events to entertain our area residents. 

“This online film fest is a fun and unique way to assist in our ongoing fundraising activities.”

According to a release, the new online cat video movie which made its virtual world premiere June 19, saw filmmakers sift through more than 1,100 submissions from across the world to create “Quarantine Cat Video Film Festival,“ a 70-minute compilation cat feature that is now available to watch at home through virtual cinema. The film brings together the “cutest, funniest, bravest, and most loving cat videos exclusively filmed during the 2020 quarantine.” 

Its release is through virtual cinema – a new tool used by cinemas nationwide to sell tickets for newly released films that customers can watch at home.

“The response has been better than we could have ever hoped and we have so much great content to work with,” said Brian Mendelssohn, the film’s director. “It’s going to be a really fun feature with hilarious and adventurous cats and, of course, some adorable kittens too.” 

Unlike most virtual cinema films, Quarantine Cat Film Festival was created and distributed through Row House Cinema, an 84-seat independently owned theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Mendelssohn, who also owns Row House Cinema, and his wife came up with the idea at the beginning of the quarantine when they were watching their own cats, Oliver and Isabella, play at home. 

“We thought, if everyone is stuck inside with our cats anyway we might as well start filming the hilarious things they do and make a cat movie” said Mendelssohn.

Half of the $12 ticket will go directly back to the theater screening it through its virtual cinema portal. 

Virtual cinema ticket sales for “Quarantine Cat Film Festival” in support of the Historic Owen Theatre can be purchased securely online now by visiting BransonArts.org/meow.

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