The Netherlands, 2018
directed by: Heddy Honigmann
The latest work by one of the most significant authors in the world, Heddy Honigmann, is an unusual story of the everlasting friendship between a man and a dog. Realized through the excellent methods used by the author, this irresistibly attractive theme was turned into a documentary which, in the short time after it premiered, managed to be part of a number of festivals all over the world, to be screened in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York and to become the favourite of the festival audience.
The immediate cause which started the whole project was a calming shot of one dramatic commercial in which a dog, by licking, defeats the nightmares of a soldier suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). By watching this touching scene and remembering her earliest experiences with dogs when she was a girl, Heddy Honigmann decided, following her unmistakable intuition of a documentary maker, to explore what it is that dogs can do and the surprising ways in which they can help people with those situations where people are completely helpless. Told in a simple and direct way, which suits the main heroes in the story, with genuine empathy and warmth, this is a tale of six special friends who, with their intelligence, skill, knowledge, sacrifice and devotion, demonstrate fascinating abilities. These creatures who possess big hearts are rightfully depicted by Heddy Honigmann as amazing individuals who deserve respect. Very directly, she intertwines the confessions of six dog owners who cannot imagine their lives without their closest friends with very simple dog names: Kaiko, Kay, Missy, Mister, Utah and Makker. Through the stories, which sometimes resemble primordial fairy tales and legends, and through seemingly simple everyday situations, we discover, more and more, how impressive the feats of dogs are, but also how deep the relationships are between them and the people they live with.
The enchanting method which Heddy Honigmann uses is her constantly pleasant, delicate and direct communication with the people she follows, and talks to, always showing deep respect, consideration and sincere trust, and in just the right amount which makes these notions mutual. She is the author who questions herself, contemplating the world she is talking about, ever determined to tell the stories without making them romantic or sentimental.
Born in 1951 in Lima, Peru. She studied biology and literature at the University of Lima. She left Peru in 1973, traveled throughout Mexico, Israel, Spain and France, and studied film at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. She has been living and working in Amsterdam, The Netherlands since 1978. Heddy Honigmann is considered one of the most important documentary filmmakers in the world. Her films (short and long documentaries, but also short fictions and feature films) have travelled all around the world, been awarded at festivals and shown on retrospectives, such as in Toronto, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Minneapolis, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Ontario, Utrecht, Grasz, Chicago, and Berkeley among others. She has received major awards and career honours such as the Living Legend Award at IDFA (2013), the Hot Docs Outstanding Achievement Award (2007), the award for her Contribution to the Art of Documentary Filmmaking at the Thessaloniki Film Festival (2004) Greece, the Jan Cassies award from the Dutch National Fund for Cultural Films for Television (2003) Netherlands.