Film puts spotlight on street dog caregivers of Kolkata

By Our Reporter

Call them eccentric, but these street dog caretakers have found meaning and purpose in their shared mission to care for neglected street dogs, who have existed in the towns and villages of India for thousands of years. And that’s what Pariah Dog is all about.

The creative documentary focuses on several street dog caretakers in Kolkata, India. Shot over three years, the film paints a kaleidoscopic picture of the city of Kolkata, seen through the prism of four outsiders and the dogs they love.

Production began in September of 2014, and wrapped in April 2017. That year, the film was selected to take part in the “Only In New York” meetings at the Doc NYC film festival, and later the Rough Cut Screenings at the 2018 Docsbarcelona festival in Spain. The film premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February this year where it was awarded “Best Feature”.

Made by American filmmaker Jesse Alk, Pariah Dog follows the stories of the aristocratic woman who has fallen on bad times, the artist who dreams of buying land, the auto rickshaw driver and reality show contestant, and the domestic worker who has dedicated her lives to the animals.

The film is playing at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Over the course of 77 minutes, Alk introduces his characters, for whom dog feeding is part of the daily routine.

“The characters are loners, and all of them are unfulfilled and have some longing in their lives that they fill with compassion for animals,” Alk says.

Pariah Dog will play on 23 July at the Melbourne International Documentary Film Festival. The Festival begins on 19 July and is on till the end of the month.


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