This project was a new venture for The Refinery, our first opportunity to produce a live action drama. Although it was a nice break from the usual factual, informative stuff, Bully Breed presented a brand new set of challenges, not least of which was working with animals.
The brief from Battersea Dog and Cat’s Home was to produce a short film which would highlight the growing problem of young people illicitly acquiring bull-breed dogs. Seen as ‘status dogs’, these animals are treated aggressively and used as weapons.
A drafted script was produced by Battersea. At its core – essentially a straightforward cautionary tale – the story involves Cale and Shar and the ramifications of their juxtaposed attitudes towards canine companions. After a flurry of re-writes, casting calls, auditions, permission requests, and all the other irksome things you forget have to happen for a movie to get made, we had just 2 days in which to get all the principal photography in the can.
Here are some EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes snaps from those exhausting, yet ultimately rewarding, 48 hours…
The dogs were a real joy to work with. In fact, the only significant problem was getting Alfie the Rotty to look even mildly menacing on camera. As you can clearly see from the pictures above he was soppy, mild-mannered, and far too well behaved to portray Omen – Cale’s damaged and bloodthirsty tool for revenge.
Nevertheless, the film eventually came together and was screened to a parliamentary committee last week. They’ve been tasked with tackling this mistreatment of bull-breed dogs and our film was shown to highlight the key issues.