Sat Mar 4, 2023 – 2:30 pm | Hendricks Arts Center
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Two brothers, Mike and Nick, go on their annual camping trip while grappling with the death of a close friend. The grieving process forces them to confront obstacles in their personal lives and the isolation tests their relationship like never before. They spend time remembering old friends… and making a new one.
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The Film Stage
A revered acting teacher and mentor of mine, who passed away recently, imparted me with a standard for art that will remain with me forever. “Art,” she said, “is a place where societies have gone historically to engage the big existential questions: Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going?”
During every stage of The Year of the Dog, from page to post, her words rang in my spirit, and I pondered how our film would engage these existential questions in a meaningful way. I landed on a couple of clear answers. In the film, the protagonist, Matt, faces emotional challenges he’s unable to tackle alone; it’s ultimately connection with others (and with one special dog) that allows him the capacity to heal. He must look outside himself to really look inside himself. The importance and challenges of developing connection are the soul of The Year of the Dog.
Another guiding light for the film, captured by the seminal Leonard Cohen verse, bears mentioning here: “Ring the bell that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Our cracks can feel at times like an overwhelming hardship, destined, in this fractured political and social clime that extends from Kyiv, Ukraine, to my hometown of Livingston, Montana (and seemingly every place in-between), to break us. However, I hope this film, with its idiosyncratic, artistic rhythm and warm-hearted, moody ethos (we affectionately call it “Dark Disney”), reminds us to recognize the beauty in our “cracks.”
I believe that a path toward healing requires us to cultivate empathy and connection, to collect our cracks into one common light that pours through with compassionate ferocity.
David M. Dawson
David M. Dawson is known for Do Not Disturb (2018), Firework (2017) and Bone Barrel (2019).
Director: David M. Dawson
Country: United States
Runtime: 60 min
Writer: David Dawson, Kyle Owen
Producer: David Dawson, Kyle Owen
Cinematography: Kyle Owen
Music: Ryley Walker
Editor: David Dawson