|Game of Bones directed by Blaire Dobiecki|
The Dog Film Festival™ is currently touring the country, stopping in eleven cities, including Chicago this Sunday. The festival is the first of its kind and grew out of pet wellness advocate and radio personality Tracie Hotchner's desire to celebrate the extraordinary bond between people and dogs. Inspired by the excitement around the Cat Video Festival, Tracie wondered if there were films out there about dogs - not the famous ones like Lassie or Rin Tin Tin, but films made with and because of a genuine love of dogs.
The Dog Film festival is family friendly and perfect for dog lovers of all ages. There are two separate 90 minute programs with each including documentary, animated and live-action shorts. The films are from dog-loving filmmakers from around the world, both famous directors as well as aspiring student filmmakers. For this first run, Tracie chose films that inspire, educate, and entertain. Her only criteria was that the films amaze and amuse viewers, making them think and feel, laugh and cry. She hopes the films will inspire others to find their voice and express their own passion for dogs.
|The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold by William Wegman|
The Dog Film Festival™ not only celebrates dogs, it also helps shelter dogs find homes. In each presenting city, one shelter or rescue organization is selected to receive 50% of the proceeds of the festival. Selected shelters are also encouraged to bring adoptable dogs to showcase and mingle with moviegoers on the green carpet. "The great thing about bringing adoptable dogs to events like the film festival is that it allows people to see the dogs outside the shelter environment, which helps them imagine the dogs in a home or part of their own family," Tracie told me.
The Petco Foundation, whose goal is to help every animal live its best life, is the Presenting National Sponsor of The Dog Film Festival. “We are thrilled to help bring the Dog Film Festival to cities across the country,” said Susanne Kogut, executive director of the Petco Foundation. “This series of films visually relay the Petco Foundation’s core mission to create a better world for animals and the people who love them."
|Rewind by Razor Jane|
Tracie's goal is to make The Dog Film Festival an annual event and hopes next year will be even bigger and better. She also encourages folks to create their own events before and after the festival to help and celebrate dogs in their communities. Several of the participating shelters have even held pooch parties before the festival to increase awareness and ticket sales. Remaining dates for this year's festival include:
Chicago, September 11- 50% of tickets benefit PAWS Chicago!
San Diego, September 25
New York City, October 15
Sacramento, October 30
San Antonio, November 13
Kansas City, April 2
Tickets are $15 and available for purchase here. If you are in the Chicago area and would like attend this Sunday's Film Festival at The Music Box Theatre and mingle with adoptable dogs from PAWS Chicago, please email me at thedailypip(at)gmail(dot)com. The first five people to email me will receive a pair of tickets!
Big thanks to festival director, Tracie Hotchner, for taking the time to speak with me. You can learn more about Tracie and her advocacy work at the Radio Pet Lady Nework, a one-of-a-kind Internet radio network for pet lovers accessible from any computer or mobile device.