Ask the Filmmaker – The Year of the Dog
In this episode of Meet the Filmmaker, we talk to Rob Grabow of The Year of the Dog.
Why did you make this movie?
There is a line in the film when the main character, Matt, is reading from a poem that I think really captures the thrust of the film: “If you have a broken bone or something visible, I think people would be less critical, but you have a broken spirit and the support it’s minimal.” I felt like that line and this film is a really wonderful way to honor anyone who is going through pain and maybe feel alone or unseen int their pain. I also, personally, felt like the story was beautiful it was a opportunity to honor so many things and people from my own life and to help communicate my own belief the healing power of connection.
What was the tipping point where you realized that the film was going to happen?
It was either day I finished the script – because I knew we had a really wonderful story — or the moment I signed the papers selling my condo – because I knew we’d have enough money to make the film.
What was your production like? Would you have done anything different?
I’ve learned that film producing really is problem solving. It’s like a protracted MENSA test or something… So, it was an absolutely beautiful experience and one rife with challenges. I don’t think there is anything I would do differently because it all informed where we are now, but I will say I learned a ton and there are things I won’t do on future projects that I did on this one.
Where there any standout moments from production?
One of my favorite mini-traditions we had, every day when Caleb (our hero dog) came to set we would all enthusiastically cheer and applaud him. And he just bathed in the adoration. I really loved all of those moments.
What was your distribution strategy? Would you have done anything different?
A lot of it was standard, find a sales agent, find a distributor, etc… No, I absolutely would not have done anything different distribution wise. We feel extremely fortunate with where we are at in that regard.
What was your marketing and PR strategy? Would you do anything different?
Too extensive to type out. Looked at generally, we’ve aimed to highlight the important messages, themes, and contributors in the film and to share their stories individually and within the context of the film as broadly as we can. As far as doing anything differently, ask me in a few months… 😊 We have some really innovative ideas in the works.
What was it like working with Nova Vento? Are there areas that you felt could be improved or things that you wish you had known going in?
It’s been an absolute gift working with them. We’ve provided opportunities that I don’t think we could have realistically imagined. We feel incredibly lucky and grateful!
Are you working on anything next? If so, what are you comfortable sharing about it?
I’ll be singularly focused on this film for at least the next 6 months. We may have another script in the works 😊