Magali Simard, Manager of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox – Interview by Anne Brodie
Lil BUB is an unusual looking dwarf cat living in Bloomington Indiana who happens to be known around the world. Found in a shed suffering from a variety of ailments from osteoporosis, with genetic mutations and has no lower jaw or teeth. Her legs were so deformed she couldn’t walk. But she and Bridavsky soldiered on and today she is relatively healthy and has a legion of social media fans and followers and almost 3 million “likes” on Facebook. She takes a heck of a cute photo too. But she does much more. She and her owner musician The Dude, Mike Bridavsky, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cat charities through personal appearances, books, toys, and varied merchandise bearing her wonderful countenance. Her documentary Lil Bub & Friendz was a hit at the Tribeca Film Festival and her album Science & Magic on Joyful Noise Recordings incorporating some recordings of Lil Bub’s vocalizations has furthered her appeal. Dollars raised go to cat charities throughout North America and help raise awareness of cats of all stripes. She counts among her fans Michelle Obama, Robert DeNiro, Snoop Dogg, Whoopi Goldberg and more. Magali Simard, a cat lover and Manager of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox has put together the third edition of a Just for Cats Video Festival and she’s landed a real coup – a special appearance by Lil BUB and The Dude.
I understand Lil BUB’s going to be here with The Dude. That adorable foundling has raised so much money for cat causes.
A: We are all extremely excited for Lil BUB’s visit to TIFF Bell Lightbox – it’s her first trip to Canada! She’ll be the star of the evening as she’s participating in a very special meet-and-greet for VIP ticket holders, and will join us onstage to introduce the screenings. There will be cat-themed treats on offer at concessions and we are a running a fun feline-related contest leading up to the night of the screenings. Proceeds from the event will benefit cat welfare by supporting animal shelters throughout Canada as well as benefit cultural and educational programming at TIFF.
How tough is it to put together such a festival and bring in cats and toys and their people?
Crazy and cool enough, when you showcase viral cat videos on the big screen, people come. I think it speaks to the fact that we typically watch these types of clips alone, see them posted on social media walls, click, then move on with our headphones in. On April 14th, there will be hundreds of fans, looking at and reacting to videos together as one audience. It’s interesting to take an online platform, which is largely consumed in a solitary environment, and engage with it in a public space.
Just for Cats! is one of TIFFs most adored events – and it seems kind of silly but it really speaks to us on a deeply emotional level. So I want to thank TIFF on behalf of cat lovers for bringing this to us.
Thank you Anne! It`s a major part of screen-based pop culture, and we are excited to present something a little bit different. It’s not grand cinema, but it certainly is a beloved part of our entertainment culture, and that’s a fun thing. A big aspect of our evening is animal welfare awareness, hence our teaming up with the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. Anything to get Lil BUB in TIFF Bell Lightbox really.
Cats have been extremely popular online for decades and there is only growth …are you waiting for the cat rebellion?
If they take over, I’m okay with that. That would be my favourite way to go. It might be inevitable.
Spring for a VIP ticket (available for both the 7:15pm and 9:30pm screenings) to get the ultimate experience and to help animals in need! The Lil BUB VIP ticket is limited to only 100 total tickets (50 for the 7:15pm screening and 50 for the 9:30pm screening) and includes an exclusive meet and greet with BUB an hour prior to the chosen screening, plus reserved seating in the cinema. 100% of the proceeds of the Lil BUB VIP Tickets benefit CFHS and the TIFF Pocket Fund.
Here is the link: