A freelance writer living in suburban Adelaide, taking his first tentative steps. You can see some of his past work at bernhardsayer.wordpress.com
Man's best friend is the star of the screen
If you want a guaranteed afternoon of smiles, laughs and warm feelings of happiness, then mark you diary for the afternoon of Saturday, 3 August from 2.30pm and get yourself along to the Top Dog Film Festival at the Capri on Goodwood Road. The program for the afternoon features eight short films about 'dogs and their humans', and like the 2018 program, features a range of canine flicks from both our shores and abroad.
The film festival's success has extended over the last 12 months to take in screenings across New Zealand, a successful debut in England and some dates later this year in Belgium. Festival curator Jemima Robinson says that the New Zealand shows have gone "sensationally well - apparently New Zealand has the highest ratio of dogs per person, and so are the leading dog owners of the globe", which in turn leads us to one of the films on this year's program.
Old Dog is one of the two longer films on the program, and profiles Paul Sorensen, a life-long farmer from the land of the long white cloud who holds a strong affinity with dogs. Jemima explained to me that he comes from a time where "dogs were treated like machinery – if they didn't perform, they were ousted. He always loved those dogs that were maybe a bit naughty, and liked the opportunity and challenge of turning them around." Today Sorensen, having sold his farm, has become one of New Zealand's most respected trainers for working dogs. He spends his time going around training other farmer's on how to train their dogs to have a better and more productive life. Jemima says "He's totally a dog whisperer! There's a part of the movie when Paul has been training a farmers' dog for about five minutes and the dog is doing exactly what he wants him to do, and the farmer is watching and says 'it's great, but it's really frustrating too!' He's an older man with a rough exterior but a softie at heart. It's a beautiful film." You can view a trailer of Old Doghere.
The other longer film in the festival's 2019 program, Odd Jobs for Dogs is a piece that was commissioned by the film festival itself and showcases some of the more interesting or unusual jobs that dogs have in Australian society. "We thought that there was a missed opportunity in the festival program for Australian dogs. The film profiles four dogs – one is Teddy, who is a rescue Koolie from Melbourne working as an actor doing TV commercials and movies. Tiffany is a real estate dog – her job is to show prospective buyers that a particular house is pet friendly. Tiffany sent clearance rates through the roof when she appeared in the property's photos! She's quite a star in real estate in Brisbane and was born to be in front of the camera. Lassie, a kelpie at the Sydney Opera House, is employed to chase away the seagulls which have become a problem for all of the restaurants there. Lassie goes down at lunch times to chase birds! Finally, Toby is a conservation dog in New Zealand and goes out to find out where the ducks are so that they get accurate population counts."
Huskies! Did someone say huskies? Those beautiful dogs are featured in a movie of a Minnesota mother and father who met through their dogs. The movie shows how the dogs form a part of their family, and one look at the trailer shows that it is stunningly shot. You can view the trailer here.
Last year's tear jerker was Arthur – a rags-to-riches story of a down-on-his-luck dog who adopted an adventure racing team (competing in a world championship event in Ecuador) throughout the event and ultimately stayed with them all the way back to their Scandanavian home. This year's tear jerker profiles a stray dog sanctuary in Costa Rica. Jemima tells me that "The lady who runs the sanctuary is amazing. It's a movie that goes straight to the heart."
Other films on the program detail a surfing dog at a California beach, the bus riding Labrador of Seattle, and a study of dogs who are treated like humans.
The 2019 Top Dog Film Festival brings you two hours of films detailing dogs and their humans. Jemima says that the best way to avoid disappointment is to book your tickets in advance through the website.
Come along and feel your heart glow in the warmth of the love of man's best friend.