Jacob Leezak, Jennah Leezak
If there's one thing I've learnt for sure from my experience of film festivals it's this: whatever swooping feats of narrative and technique might impress you on the night, it's the documentaries – always modestly made – that burn in your memory in the months and years after. And this year, after gorging myself on the program, it's Dog's Best Friend that I'm telling anyone who will listen they have to seek out and watch. Eryn Wilson's film is the definition of a labour of love.
On the rural outskirts of Sydney, ex-soldier Jacob Leezak runs his Canine Behaviour Expert Dog Psychology Centre. Leezak comes from a tough background, and he mines his own experience of recovery and applied compassion to heal and make well the dogs that are delivered to his door. There are never less than thirty or so guests at the property, all in various stages of learning to exist happily around people and other dogs.
The old dictum, 'People don't have a dog problem. It's dogs that have a people problem' is never better proven than it is here. Leezak's approach isn't to 'train' the dogs, or to make them 'obedient' – you'll sense his unspoken contempt for most 'trainers' – but simply to make the dog happy and calm within its own skin. From there, everything else can follow. It's a profoundly simple approach that works miracles.
Next to Leezak his partner and soon-to-be-wife Jennah is a walking testament to the ability of all of us to heal even after the most unimaginable cruelty has been done. Leezak never states, nor needs to, what is blatant and implicit within his work and this film. But every audience this film gets will understand. Dog's Best Friend is a gem of a film. It is also the single most memorable and admirable film I have seen in the last few months. Whether you love dogs or people, or both, please see it.
Join us in watching the the highly acclaimed Dog’s Best Friend. You can attend a screening at The Hollywood Avondale or watch the New Zealand Video On Demand Premiere from the comfort of your home.
The film will become available for viewing on demand as the curtains come up in cinemas.
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