Set against the colorful backdrop of the Los Angeles dogwalking scene, The Dogwalker follows the moving, transformational journey of Ellie Moore (Diane Gaidry), on the run from her latest abusive boyfriend. Down and out on the mean streets of L.A, rescue comes in the unlikely form of Betsy Wright (Pamela Gordon), a misanthropic dogwalker in need of help with her business and struggling with her own dark past.
The unusual relationship between the cranky dogwalker and her unstable apprentice sets the stage for the emotional transformation Ellie must undertake. In Betsy, she encounters a dark mirror of herself- a lonely, angry, complex woman whose own troubled past proves disturbing like her own. And in the dogs, Ellie finds lost pieces of herself as she fumbles with the leash to her own life, struggling to hold on as it pulls her toward a brighter future before her past catches up with her.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
The Dogwalker took more than six years from concept to completion. Most of that time was spent raising funds, but much video workshopping and script development also took place. It was produced through our mutual support collective, Filmmakers Alliance (FA). FA is the nine-year-old filmmaking collective founded by my wife and myself that has supported the production of hundreds of award winning shorts, features, commercials, music videos and more. Besides the numerous material resources, much of the crew and cast are FA members, or were brought into the process by FA members.
The film was shot on MiniDV on a Sony VX1000. We shot for five-and-a-half weeks with approximately ten days of pick-ups. Adobe AfterEffects was used to create the film simulation through a proprietary formula developed by co-producer Andy Somers.
The film was screened at the Independent Feature Film Market in New York in 2001 where it was one of five finalists for the Gordon Parks Independent Film Award. The Cinequest Film Festival hosted its world festival premiere.
The Dogwalker is the product of many issues and factors. I wanted to make a film with my wife, Diane Gaidry, that incorporated elements of our own life.
Diane once worked as a dogwalker and I decided to build a story around that particular world. But as the story developed, I become less interested in the details of dogwalking and more focused on the specific human characters and what the dogs mean to them. Dogs are truly unbelievable mirrors of our raw emotional states. Moreover, they provide a rich allegorical context for the exploration of female anger – how it is socialized, how its manifests itself in many women. Ellie’s abusive boyfriends are extensions of her own inwardly directed rage, while Betsy is still paying the price for a rage too fully expressed. Ultimately, however, the film is about coming to terms with that energy and moving on to a place of self-forgiveness and transformation. The Dogwalker is a term that both describes the job and, metaphorically, the task of caring for our own inner selves. Finally, the film is about my home, Los Angeles, and the often forgotten myriad of modest, though complex lives that exist within the city.
Diane Gaidry (Ellie Moore)
Pamela Gordon (Betsy Wright)
Lyn Vaus (Walter)
Lisa Jane Persky (Alison)
Alan Gelfant (Glen)
John Nielson (Dave)
Kerry Bishop (Amanda Singer)
Director: Jacques Thelemaque
Producers: Linda L. Miller, Hilary Six, Jacques Thelemaque
Co-producers: Tori-Ann Parker, Diane Gaidry, Andrew M. Somers
Executive Producers: David Diann, Thoms Gaidry
Associate Producers: Willard Morgan, Michael Blaha
Creative Collaborators: Sean Hood, Diane Gaidry
Director of Photography: Marco Fargnoli
Additional Photography: Toby Birney
Editor: Jeff Orgill
Production Coordinator: Destri Martino