Sunday, 15 July 2018

NZIFF Q&A - Dog's Best Friend, Eryn Wilson

NZIFF Q&A - Dog's Best Friend, Eryn Wilson


My film is....
Dog’s Best Friend. It’s a documentary about one man, Jacob Leezak and his life’s work; to rehabilitate man’s best friend, one dog at a time. Whilst Jacob works with domestic pets with minor behaviour issues, he specialises in working with the powerful breeds that we often see in the media for all the wrong reasons.

The moment I'm most proud of is....
Getting into the NZIFF. To be recognized by a festival with the international appeal and profile the NZIFF has, it’s both a privilege and acknowledgement of what we’ve achieved with this indie film.
NZIFF Q&A - Dog's Best Friend, Eryn Wilson

The reason I carried on with this film when it got tough is.....
I trained as an actor at Toi Whakaari. I come from a free-lance background. I’ve never had a 9 to 5 job. The down side is there’s nobody else there to fire you for not turning up to work. The upside though is that you develop a thick skin, a resourcefulness, a discipline and a self-belief that if you’re passionate enough about something and you’re prepared to stick with it, you can create your own opportunities and your own work. You don’t need anybody else.

The one moment that will resonate with an audience is.......
I won’t give that moment away. Safe to say that because my protagonist Jacob is so good at what he does, it would be easy for an audience to be lulled into the expectation that Jacob is in control of these dogs at all times and nothing unexpected ever happens in the film….. That’s all I’ll say…

The hardest thing I had to cut from this film is........
An old draft of the film had it opening with a scene of a dog being put to sleep. He’d been sentenced to death after biting someone and not being registered and his owner basically gave him up. A sad but typical story. Bad ownership of the first degree. I treated the scene delicately, knowing it would be controversial but I felt passionate that my audience needed to filter the rest of the film through that opening scene. Well. Festivals wouldn’t go near it with a barge pole. After being knocked back by several festivals I finally took out that scene and we got into the very next festival we entered. Safe to say, it’ll be left in the director’s cut.

The thing I want people to take from this film is ......
Dogs are like children. They are not born bad. They simply reflect the time and attention their owners choose to put into them. And it takes a very special person who’ll dedicate their lives to helping these damaged dogs. That person is Jacob Leezak.

The reason I love the NZIFF is.......
I’ve always loved the NZIFF. The wide range of films, the numerous venues, the buzz of the festival, especially at night. Buying a 10-trip ticket and dissapearing into the festival for a couple of weeks is invigorating, inspirational and opens the mind. It’s truly wonderful and a credit to Bill and the team.

What the 50th NZIFF means to me is......
Its testament to the quality, integrity and popularity of the NZIFF. And what better way to mark my feature film directorial debut than to be a part of the 50th anniversary. I’ll never forget it.

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