By Glee Renick-May
“Red Dog” has taken the coveted top $100,000 prize for best narrative feature, awarded Saturday at the Heartland Film Festival awards gala held here in Indianapolis. The film takes place in a town named Dampier in Australia’s exterior outback during the 1970s, where a dog becomes a legend through his “real-life” escapades as revealed in the film. It’s based on the book by British author Louis de Bernieres, who began investigating the stories after he viewed the bronze dog statue during his travels.
The film’s producer, Nelson Woss, cast his own dog named Koko as the star of the movie. The dog is a Red Cloud Kelpie, a breed known for cleverness and energy. He shared with the audience in the Indianapolis screening that his dog trained for two years for this role. (The actual audition is on YouTube). The producer adds that his dog now has more than 11,000 Facebook fans! And he is so popular and famous now in Australia that folks did not want him to leave the country to come to Indiana for the festival!
Seven years in the making, this film costars Josh Lucas (John). It’s a feel good, heartwarming and engaging film. There were plenty of moments of laughter involving Red Dog’s antics, along with touching emotional scenes. Viewers were touched by complicated lives of workers seeking human connection and acceptance. It has the potential to become a hit, and is worth seeing in a theater near you.
“Red Dog” is a film that showed how this dog’s acts of unconditional love can bring happiness and transform lives. And that is in part the mission behind Heartland award winning films: creating positive change through the powerful transforming art of filmmaking.
The Heartland Film Festival is taking place in Indianapolis through Saturday, October 22. For more information about films being screened, go to www.trulymovingpictures.org.
About NWIBQ: Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly, published by May Communications Group, LLC, is a proud contributing sponsor for the 2011 Annual Heartland Film Festival, celebrating it’s 20th year anniversary.