TRACIE HOTCHNER: WHAT WE LEARNED AT THE MOVIES

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166The inaugural DOG FILM FESTIVAL that my Radio Pet Lady Network produced last weekend in New York City was a rousing success. What had been a crazy idea amazed me by taking wing – with the New York Times devoting half a page in the Weekend Arts section to the festival, Time Out magazine picking it as their top feature for the weekend, and Good Day New York on Fox News welcoming me and a few adoptable puppies from our beneficiary, Bideawee.

People and their dogs braved semi-hurricane conditions to crowd into the Festival kick-off Pooch Party on the Friday night and got great enjoyment simply from being surrounded by other dogs and dog-lovers, along with a creative doggy fashion show. The movies I had chosen for the program felt different when seen in a huge theater surrounded by devoted dog lovers: I could feel their joy and tears as they were moved by the films. It reminded me of the various ways that dogs are important in our lives and how deeply moving it is to see the remarkable bond between us depicted in films.

Halo was my presenting sponsor, along with VCA Hospitals, so it was natural for me to include some of the marvelous films Halo has created to tell the story of what matters most to this philanthropic company: shelters and the animals and people who care for them. I picked one of the Halo films made by director Peter Mcevilley – “Le Sauvetage” – which is so witty in having the rescued performing Olate dogs “speak” their thoughts about humans and how much time and effort it requires to look after them. The dogs plot to bring together two lonely humans.

Even though the film has been on YouTube for some time many of the festival-goers seemed not to be familiar with it. It felt great to hear their laughter as they heard the dogs expressing the same doubts and concerns about “adopting a human” as people often do about dogs – and realizing that any qualms we’ve had about adding a particular dog to our lives always seem fairly ridiculous in hindsight.

My favorite comment about the film festival was someone who said she really appreciated the foreign films in the Festival – Iran, Spain, and especially the French one, “Le Sauvetage.” Those of you who have heard my interview with director Peter Mcevilley on my radio show “Dog Talk” know that he is far from French himself and the movie is a tongue-in-cheek homage to French films! The magic of the movies!

Halo and I are planning now taking the Dog Film Festival around the country, so if you live in a city and would like to help us bring the fun to your town, get in touch with me at TheDogFilmFestival@gmail.com.
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Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.

She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

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