(KRON) — A short film about a puppy’s journey has been making the festival rounds and now the director and executive producer are getting to show it here in the Bay Area.
The filmmakers hope it will raise awareness as to how these puppies can be trained to help people with disabilities live a better life.
Petaluma’s own Ignite Animation Studios made the film, a classic hero’s journey about a runt of the litter who overcomes a few obstacles to find his forever home.
“It’s just a very simple story it tells it tells the attraction,” Jean Schulz, the executive producer of the film told KRON4 News.
Schulz is also involved with Canine Companions, a national organization headquartered in Santa Rosa that raises and trains dogs to assist those who might be facing one of nearly 70 different disabilities.
As a board member, Schulz has a pulse on the need for service dogs and wanted to try telling the story from the dog’s perspective.
“I mean, our dogs are magnificent, you know, they are so willing to work and attach to the human that whom they work for, but this just tells it so simply,” Schulz said.
Jamy Wheless, the director, said this was not his first foray into animation by any stretch. His credits include Yoda, The Hulk and Davey Jones.
“It was really fun to create the story and the dilemma and how you actually push through your fears and accomplish what you’re trying to do,” he said.
Directing this short film during the pandemic presented its own challenges.
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Wheless worked with artists around the world, from Canada to Serbia to Australia, communicating over zoom to make sure they get the models right, and then canine companions to make sure they get the dogs right.
“The look in the eyes so that they could capture an eye and capture a fluffiness of per furry puppy that’s different from an adult dog and so those are all details that those animators have to figure out,” Schulz said.
All that hard work paid off: “Andy: A Dog’s Tale” has been accepted to 15 film festivals and won best animation in Greece.
It’s currently screening at the Mill Valley Film Festival and has been a big hit with audiences of all ages.
And the director already tells us he’s getting requests for a sequel. Tomorrow’s screening will be followed by a live question-and-answer session.