Indy filmmaker donates portion of movie profits to local animal shelter
Portion of ticket sales to support Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - It’s not often you can help save animals’ lives by going to the movies. But starting Feb. 24, moviegoers will be able to do just that.
Award-winning, independent film, “The Year of the Dog,” will donate 5% of the movie’s net receipts from the screenings to the Black Dog Animal Rescue in Cheyenne.
The film’s a poignant story about two strays — A loner alcoholic struggling to maintain sobriety and a rescue dog with an unusual athletic gift. The lead canine, named Caleb, is a Siberian Husky rescue who spent much of his own life being shuffled through animal rescues and shelters.
It was Caleb who inspired the filmmakers to give back.
“The producers agreed that it was important to support and champion a local animal shelter since it was clear that what others saw as Caleb’s imperfections—his high energy, his playfulness, his stubbornness—are precisely what make Caleb special and why he was able to carry so much of this film,” the film’s writer, co-director, and lead actor, Rob Grabow, said.
In fact, many dogs featured in the film are also rescues hailing from California, Colorado, Montana, and Michigan.
Before casting Caleb to play the lead canine role of Yup’ik, the film’s producers had visited several animal shelters and rescues in their search for a very special husky-like dog. It was Jon Van Dyke, a veteran exotic and domestic animal trainer with more than 35 years’ experience, who ultimately discovered Caleb. Then a 9-month-old, pure-bred Siberian Husky, he’d recently been adopted by Cathy and Gregg Pittman, owners of Performing Animal Troupe, based in Palmdale, CA.
When Grabow saw a video of Caleb, he knew immediately he had found his star. In 6 short weeks, Van Dyke got Caleb screen ready using only positive reinforcement training.
“Caleb’s story,” Grabow says, “exemplifies how finding purpose and making connections can heal.”
The Year of the Dog also lays host to an accomplished cast of film and television actors including two prominent Indigenous actors: Jon Proudstar (veteran of 43 films and short-listed for Emmy consideration for his performance as Leon in Reservation Dogs) and Lakota actor Michael Spears (Dances with Wolves, Reservation Dogs, and 1923).
An array of military veterans also hold cast and crew roles including Army Veteran, Darwin Lumbattis, Navy Veteran, Jeff Medley, and Air Force Veteran, Don Andrews.
“The Year of the Dog” opens on Friday, Feb. 24 at Capitol Cinema 16 + ARQ for a minimum two-week run in Cheyenne.
View the trailer here.
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