Release Date: 2018
Pick of the Litter
Pick of the Litter follows a litter of puppies from in utero until if and when they become Guide Dogs for the Blind – or get cut from the program – otherwise know as “Career Changed” (we wouldn’t want to offend them so we’ll just leave it at that.)
Only the most special dogs can make the cut. These dogs ultimately hold a person’s life in their harness every day. They have to be on 100% of the time. They cannot walk their person into traffic EVER.
These dogs spend more than two years, starting the day they are born, preparing for the moment they will be given this monumental opportunity, to be a person’s eyes, a person’s protector. Our cameras are following every step of the way. But most will not make it. They will be cut for one reason or another. Their health has to be pristine, but most important is their intelligence and their disposition. These dogs are trained to obey and then if necessary to intelligently disobey, when their blind partner is in jeopardy. The dogs that make it test the boundaries of the human/canine connection every day.
The main characters are our five heroes, the puppies themselves and all the humans that touch their lives over the two years of preparation. The story centers on Patriot, Poppet, Potomac, Primrose and Phil, born to mom Ojai and dad Laughlin.
Pick of the Litter is a fun way into a very serious topic; how to give independence to the disabled. It takes hundreds of people to prepare these dogs. This kind of commitment to the end game is remarkable. The film also focuses on the human/canine connection which so many of us can relate with respect to our pets. It takes this connection to the next level to show how dogs can really impact the lives of the disabled and all the people who volunteer and dedicate their lives to the shaping and molding of these dogs.
All the stars have aligned for our team to tell this story. With our recent success with Batkid Begins, where we found a lighthearted way into a story which was ultimately about volunteerism, we are primed to tell this amazing story of a community coming together to give people who have been dependent their whole lives some independence.
Dana Nachman’s 2015 film “Batkid Begins” was bought and distributed by Warner Brothers. Previously she wrote, directed and co-produced the documentaries “Witch Hunt,” which was executive produced by Sean Penn and premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival; “Love Hate Love,” which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival; and “The Human Experiment,” which screened at the Mill Valley and IDFA Film Festivals. She has won a number of awards over the course of her career, including three regional Emmy Awards, The Edward R. Murrow Award, and more than a dozen Jury and Audience Awards at film festivals.
Nachman’s films have also been seen on various television networks, including MSNBC, The Oprah Winfrey Network and PBS. In addition to her film work, Nachman is a guest journalism lecturer at Stanford University.
Don Hardy is an Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder of KTF Films – a documentary production company based in Northern California. His most recent film, Theory of Obscurity, about the legendary music and art collective known as The Residents premiered at SXSW in 2015 and was released theatrically by Film Movement in April 2016.
Over the years, Don has won numerous awards for his films, photography, and editing including 6 Emmys, 3 Edward R. Murrow Awards, 7 Associated Press Awards, the prestigious San Francisco Bay Area Photographer of the Year Award and more than 15 National Press Photographer Association Awards.