Final Red Dog film a tribute to Koko

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Koko playing Red Dog in the original Red Dog film.
Camera IconKoko playing Red Dog in the original Red Dog film. Credit: Picture: David Darcy/Good Dog Enterprises, David Darcy/ Good Dog Enterprises

It is a film series that has captured a legend of the Pilbara and helped the rest of Australia fall in love with our red dirt region.

But the famous Red Dog movies are about to come to an end, with news the last film part of the franchise will be released later this year.

Koko: A Red Dog Story will be a theatrical documentary about Koko, the red cloud kelpie star of the first Red Dog movie, who was adopted by producer Nelson Woss after filming.

Woss, of independent film company Good Dog Enterprises, said although the movie would not be a traditional Red Dog story, it would mark the end of the company’s films associated with the Pilbara icon.

“It’s a very different film from the first two, and is ... almost a spin-off in the sense that it’s about Koko, the dog that played Red Dog — it’s his story, because he had a very unusual life for a dog,” he said.

“It celebrates his life, from puppy to successful show dog to budding actor to film star who toured the country, back to just being a normal family dog.

“But it also celebrates why we love dogs in general.”

Koko was key to the success of the first Red Dog film, becoming the face of the movie on tour in the lead-up to its release.

Woss adopted him after they formed a close connection during filming, describing their bond as “inseparable”.

“His efforts (on tour) laid the groundwork for the success of the film because it was a grassroots audience that connected with him before the film and they’re the people that ignited the huge success of the film. So I absolutely think that Koko was the reason Red Dog blew up,” he said.

“He had an ability to connect with people no matter who they were or where they were, like Red Dog,” he said.

“It didn’t matter if you were a guy on the bus or the executive of a mining company and that’s very charming.”

Koko died of congestive heart disease in December, 2012, a year after the original film’s release.

Woss said his original plan for the Red Dog films had been a trilogy — including Red Dog; Red Dog: True Blue; and a third film about a “yellow” military canine — but the latter idea had changed over time.

He said the film would be a tribute to the strong bond between humans and their dogs.

To demonstrate that, filmmakers are calling for people to send in photos of themselves and their dogs to be featured in the film or its promotional material.

“The people behind the film thought it would be a really charming thing to explore, because dogs make such a difference in our lives and most people have or have had a dog that was special to them,” Woss said.

“Even though Koko was one in a million and had this unique life, what I’ve learnt from making this film is that everybody’s dog is special because each one makes a big difference in their lives.”

Filming of the movie, which included some location shots in the Pilbara, wrapped up late last year and the film is now in the final stages of post-production.

It is expected to be commercially released between September and December.

Woss said he planned to bring the film to Karratha and Dampier for a special community screening soon after its release.

He also said he hoped its release would bring renewed attention to the original Red Dog story and the Pilbara region.

To submit a photo for the film’s promotion, email kokopictures@gmail.com.

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