Cat video festival comes to Vienna

The phenomenon of internet cat videos is having its own festival in Vienna on Tuesday evening.

Cat video festival comes to Vienna
A cat, fooling around. Photo: G4ViralVideos

Love cats? Love cats on film? No other kind of home video gets posted as often on Facebook and Youtube as cute kittens doing funny things.

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis approached this phenomenon in a semi-serious way and called for submissions – soon afterwards, 78 out of 10,000 films were screened open air in front of 10,000 people.

In 2013, Vienna Independent Shorts (VIS) were the first to bring the feline fest to Europe. 

The second edition of the Cat Video Festival Vienna presents "newcomers and cat video stars… in everyday life, sports, music videos, and of course their special field: ignoring humans," the organisers said. 

The classic oeuvre 'Cat peeking over bed.'  Video courtesy G4ViralVideos.

Vice Austria is a partner in the event and will be screening the first part of its four part documentary called Lil Bub & Friendz – a touching story about a "small and special cat and her friends Grumpy Cat, Keyboard Cat and Scumbag Steve". 

The event is being held in the open air cinema at Arena Wien, on Tuesday 19th August, and starts at 9.30pm. The event will move inside if it rains. Entrance is free.

People can wear feline fancy dress, if they wish. 

Design: Nicolas Mahler

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Austrian fruit grower jailed for killing bees

An Austria fruit grower was handed a rare prison sentence Wednesday for having illegally spread an insecticide which led to the deaths of dozens of neighbouring bee colonies.

Austrian fruit grower jailed for killing bees
File image of honeybees at an apiary in Florida. Photo: AFP

The 47-year-old man had spread a powerful insecticide called chlorpyrifos over his trees in the Lavanttal area of Carinthia province, at a time when their blossoms were still attracting bees.

More than 50 colonies belonging to two neighbouring apiarists perished.

The court in the city of Klagenfurt found the fruit grower guilty of “deliberately damaging the environment”, pointing to his experience and role in training others in his field as evidence that he knew the consequences of his actions.

He was sentenced to a year in prison, of which four months will be without probation. Ordered to pay more than €20,000 ($23,500) in compensation, he said he will appeal.

The court said it hoped the sentence would serve as a deterrent and to remind others that the “use of pesticides needs to strike a balance between the environment and economics”.

The widespread use of pesticides has been blamed for a steep rise in deaths among bees and other pollinating insects. In April the EU voted to outlaw the use of certain pesticides from the neonicotinoid family blamed for killing off bee populations.