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Pothound

Art director Christopher Guinness teams up with the Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to produce a beautiful film with real purpose.

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Pothound

Art director and animator Christopher Guinness passion for dogs led him to pitch the short film Pothound to the Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The result is a beautiful film with real purpose. We talk to Christopher about healing wounds, happy accidents and the Caribbean twist.

Pothound (noun)
1. A dog of mixed or indeterminate breed. A mutt or mongrel.
2. A street dog frequently associated with mischief.

Pothound seems to be quite a personal project. How did the project come about? What inspired you to write it?
I always wanted to do a dog film. They are such loyal creatures and so easy to empathise with. I kept putting it off to pursue more commercial projects but when my dog Bell died, I took action. So writing the script was a hybrid of a long planned goal and a healing process coming together.

Did the TTSPCA (Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) approach you to make a promotional film for them or was it something you came to them with?  
We approached them, sold the concept and they were on board. We wanted the film to not only have a good message but to lead to somewhere.

What kind of a response have you received since the launch of the film?
The film has gotten a fantastic response and has formed a nice fan base home here in Trinidad and Tobago. It has been selected for bunch of international festival competitions, won five awards so far and landed a feature segment promoting the TTSPCA, TTFC and Bubbercin on Trinidad and Tobago’s evening news.

Was it difficult to cast the lead role of Bubbercin in Pothound?  
Nope! I wrote the script with that special little dog in mind. She has the most soulful eyes and gives you these looks that melt your heart.

Your partner Leizelle is credited with the dog training in the film, is this something that she’s familiar with?
Haha, well Bubbercin is her dog. My wife Leizelle is a champion for animal causes. She trains our pack of mongrels to do all sorts of tricks.

Working with animal actors can lead to fairly unexpected results. Was the film tightly storyboarded or did you work organically?
A little of both. Because of my animation background I usually have a tight visual structure, but a lot of improvised shots made it into the film because Bubbercin kept doing these little magical things I could have never planned or hope to execute.

There’s a very muted colour palette in the film.
Was this a deliberate choice or a aesthetic one?

Yeah, I wanted a retro feel with a Caribbean twist. It’s the kind of colours I see in my memories as a kid.

How did the animation sequence in Pothound come about?  
Well the plan was originally to have the scene be live action. I have test footage with Bubbercin mauling the hell out of my pant leg. She’s such a nice dog though so to the get her to act that way is not easy. She doesn’t have the attack dog mentality where we can sick her on a stunt person, so instead I fell back to my roots and decided let’s make the sequence an ultra stylistic animated battle.

What is your favorite part of the process?  
The little moments where whatever is happening transcends your expectations.


To watch Pothound, click here
Pothound has been selected for the Vimeo awards (Narrative category).
To vote, go to https://vimeo.com/awards/vote/narrative


christopherguinness.com

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