Crowdfunder of the Week: The Dog

MovieMaker’s Crowdfunder of the Week is The Dog, a fascinating documentary on John Wojtowicz, the real-life bank robber who inspired Sidney Lumet’s seminal 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon.

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This story behind The Dog‘s crowdfunding campaign begins as many do—with a 2 a.m. phone call. “This is the Dog calling,” declares a strange voice. “My mother told me you sounded sexy, so I’m calling you back.” The Dog’s phone etiquette was an indicator to his larger-than-life personality in reality. The documentary’s intrepid directors, Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, had reached out to Wojtowicz’s mother Terry in the hopes of tracking down their subject. Little did they know that Wojtowicz was out of prison and living in Brooklyn himself, and would agree to share his unbelievable story with a larger audience. They encountered an outspoken, charismatic, hilarious, and not-a-little scary character—traits immediately present in this campaign’s captivating trailer, which briefly maps out the Dog’s motivations for the actions made famous by Al Pacino.

The result is a gripping mix of intimate interviews with Wojtowicz, his family, and others – a period piece that examines of the reality behind a narrative that has long since become the stuff of myth. The Dog looks to be an engrossing – not to mention morally-challenging – character piece. This is a man, after all, who went to the ends of the Earth to get his lover a sex change operation – in other words, a man who risked his life and well being to change someone else’s life for the better.

It has taken just over a decade to come close to completing The Dog. As the filmmakers note, though, “Had the film been made over the course of a year (which was the original plan), [The Dog] would never have had the scope or the complexity that it ended up having.” They couldn’t stop making the movie (who could blame them?), and their devoted, ambitious work seems to have paid off:  The film is already on the verge of prestigious festival openings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. The campaign describes the film as “sex-crazed, unapologetic, shocking, hilarious and historically significant.” Count us in.

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Synopsis: Berg and Keraudren were watching Dog Day Afternoon in 2002. “We immediately thought that it would be interesting to find out what kind of a person he was, and we wanted to hear his story…the story of an anti-hero, an outsider, a brazen New York character…we really wanted to meet the real-life person on whom it was based.” So they did.

Campaigners: Co-directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren

Target Amount: $65,000

Amount Currently Raised: $39,004

Time Left: Only two more days!

Funding Goes Toward: Color correction and HD conversion, titles designing, tons of archival footage, and graphic designing for photo animation and the poster. This campaign is running on Seed&Spark, a platform that allows donors to choose the specific area their funds will go into, which may be more satisfying than donating into a vacuum.

Donor Reward Highlights:

$25: The Dog postcard signed by the directors and exclusive project e-updates.

$200: Two tickets to an exclusive screening of The Dog, with a Q&A with the filmmakers following the film in New York.

$500: Join the filmmakers for a Dog Day Afternoon field trip in Brooklyn, NY, where you’ll see real locations of the bank and where the film was shot.

$5,000: They’d rob a bank for you, “but [they] don’t know how.” Instead, receive a pair of tickets to see The Dog at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. MM

To check out The Dog’s Seed&Spark page, click here.

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