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Jul 25, 2016 10:45 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Touring Dog Film Festival Makes Stop in East Hampton

Jul 25, 2016 10:58 AM

Walking down the sidewalk on any summer day, it becomes obvious that many East End residents are dog lovers. Those residents often seen with a leash in hand—and any animal lover—are in for a nice treat as the one-of-a-kind Dog Film Festival comes to East Hampton.

On Tuesday, August 2, the traveling Dog Film Festival will make the fourth stop on its 12-city tour, at Guild Hall. It will have two back-to-back programs: The first at 4 p.m. will show 11 short films in 90 minutes, and the second at 6:30 p.m. will show 12 films in 106 minutes. The second program will feature a number of foreign films—from Russia, France and Spain and more countries—with English subtitles to show the ubiquity of the human-canine bond.

The short films, submitted by international filmmakers, depict the relationship between humans and dogs in a variety of creative and fun ways. Featured in the programs are documentary, live-action and animated shorts that will weave together into—as festival founder and pet-lover Tracie Hotchner likes to describe it—a “canine magic carpet ride.” Synopses for each film can be found on the festival’s website, dogfilmfestival.com.

Ms. Hotchner has been a resident of East Hampton for 12 years and is a former resident of Southampton. She currently hosts an award-winning weekly radio show called “Dog Talk” on the Southampton-based NPR station, WPPB 88.3 FM.

“People are really excited,” she said of the festival. “Having had ‘Dog Talk’ on the air in Southampton for nine years, I’m obviously aware of the ongoing fascination and public interest of the bond.”

Ms. Hotchner began the festival after learning about the success of the 2015 Internet Cat Video Festival. Once hearing that more than 10,000 people gathered to watch cat videos on a lawn in Saint Paul, Minnesota, she knew that people want to share the experience of celebrating their love of animals.

Sponsored by the Petco Foundation, the festival has been traveling to cities to benefit their local animal welfare groups. It has already visited Los Angeles, Seattle and Rochester, and will be traveling to Great Barrington, Chicago, San Diego, New York, Sacramento, San Antonio, Santa Fe and Kansas City. Fifty percent of the ticket sales from the East Hampton stop, as well as 10,000 bowls of pet food from festival sponsors, will benefit the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, based in Wainscott. The local shelter will also bring its mobile adoption van to the festival with dogs looking to be brought into loving homes.

To kick off the event, the local animal advocacy group Pet Philanthropy Circle will host an afternoon tea “Pooch Party” on Sunday, July 31, at Hobby Hill, a private estate in Water Mill. Dogs and their owners are welcome to attend this party, complete with a Pet Hero award ceremony, doggy swag bags, a green carpet and a horseback demonstration by the Long Island Drill Team. Lou Wegner, an emerging teen actor and pet activist, will be in attendance to support the cause. He was a 2013 Pet Hero award recipient for founding the organization Kids Against Animal Cruelty and for his volunteer work at animal shelters.

The Tea “Pooch Party” will be on Sunday, July 31, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hobby Hill in Water Mill. Tickets are $150. For an invitation to the party, email thedogfilmfestival@gmail.com. The Dog Film Festival will take place at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton, on Tuesday, August 2, with screenings at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets per screening are $15, or $10 for kids under 12. Purchase tickets to both events at dogfilmfestival.com.

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