Superpower Dogs is a new IMAX movie that follows six of the world’s most remarkable pups. And director Daniel Ferguson shares what it was like working with these canine heroes.
When it comes to movies about dogs, we often think about the cute animated movies or perhaps the live action films with canines at the heart of the story. But what about documentaries and other non-fiction films? With Superpower Dogs, audiences get the chance to learn about some real life canine heroes, and thanks to director Daniel Ferguson, we know what it was like to capture these superheroes at work.
In an interview with NPR, Ferguson opened up about not really believing there was enough to make a movie about dogs (he admits to being more of a cat person), seeing these super pups in action, and what it was like working with dogs who are not Hollywood trained.
According to the director, he was originally skeptical about making an IMAX movies revolving around dogs. He explained that for him it just seems like, “Dogs are ubiquitous,” which of course we understand because as dog lovers we know they are virtually everywhere. But his producer, Dominic Cunningham-Reid, decided to prove that there was a real story to be told.
The producer apparently took him on a sort of tour of facilities where these amazing dogs work, and suddenly the idea of Superpower Dogs did not seem so farfetched. In fact, it led him to six amazing dogs helping to save the world. Of course, with these dogs not being Hollywood trained actors, that meant there was a lot of room for potential failure.
And while they may have been able to gift us with an amazing movie about heroic canines, that doesn’t mean there were not plenty of moments where things may not have gone according to plan. One of the dogs followed in Superpower Dogs is Halo, who they first met when she was still a puppy. In fact, Halo was just nine weeks old when they started work on the film, and they follow her for three years.
Over the course of three years, Halo went from what Daniel Ferguson describes as a “bit of a hot mess,” to a dog that is a well-trained search and rescue hero. And she was just one of six Superpower Dogs.
Of course, when Ferguson talks about these dogs not being Hollywood trained, he knows that they are excellent at what they are already trained to do, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of mishaps. He said that it was about working around the dogs and allowing them to do their work. But at the same time, there were still dogs colliding with cameras, slobber on the lenses, and even sausages being stolen from catering tables (we don’t blame the pups at all).
At the end of the day however, this is a movie about dogs doing amazing things. Which is why Halo is as much of a hero as the bloodhounds in Kenya who help to track poachers, or Henry, a pup working with the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association in order to save skiers from danger in the backcountry.
No matter which dog we are looking at it in this film, they are all heroes with an ability to do good that makes them seem like superheroes. And while we all think our pups are potential superheroes, we know these six definitely are thanks to Superpower Dogs.
Any time we can see dogs not only taking the spotlight but doing it in a way that reminds the world that they are heroes, we are all for it. Of course, we think all dogs are heroes so we can’t wait to see Superpower Dogs for ourselves.