Career woman and mayoral candidate Caroline Sheppard (Amanda Langille) is determined to find her family's stolen dog, Dinah. Given a lead by an animal welfare activist, Caroline risks her safety and reputation and alienates her family as she searches for Dinah in the underground hell of puppy breeding mills and research laboratories. But when she confronts a brutal dog-fighting ring her courage inspires her family to reunite and help her rescue their pet. 

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Interview with Rowland Jefferies

Published on August 17, 2012 by in Blog

Meet Rowland Jefferies Cutler,

production designer and art director for Saving Dinah

Saving Dinah Productions was fortunate to have the talented Toronto production designer/art director, Rowland Jefferies Cutler, generously volunteering his time and expertise on the sets of Saving Dinah.  Not only does Rowland design for film and television, he also is a sought after interior decorator for many notable and prestigious clients; his specialty is ecologically-sustainable interior design.  

Animal Alliance and Saving Dinah Productions have much to thank Rowland and his partner Zana Ancerl for having provided us with professional furniture, props and police cars hot off the sets of some of Toronto’s hottest TV shows.  Zana is a buyer with several popular TV programs shot in Toronto.  Without Rowland and Zana, the footage of Saving Dinah would not look as good as it does.  And it does look good.

Lucky for me, Rowland graciously agreed to let me interview him about his professional work as well as his love for animals.

 

Karen: Rowland, you have a relationship with Animal Alliance of Canada.  Could you tell me something about that?

Rowland: My partner Zana and I have donated and been on the Animal Alliance of Canada mailing list for years, which led to our meeting Liz and thru Liz,  Stephen Best and Barbara Kyle.

(Liz, of course, is Liz White, the executive director of Animal Alliance and the executive producer of Saving Dinah.  Stephen Best and Barbara Kyle make up the writing team behind the script, Saving Dinah, and Stephen, who is the founder of Environmental Voters and the force behind the Animal Alliance Environment Voters federal political party, also directed the production.)

Karen: What is it that you do for a living?

Rowland: I am a Toronto-based, freelance designer with a background in film production as Set Decorator, Art Director and Production Designer, and Interior Design.  Visit:  www.sustainable-living.ca

Karen: Liz mentioned that you had some connection to the film, Easy Rider, and were also in a rock band.  I’d love to hear about this.

Rowland: I managed a musical group The Holy Modal Rounders and negotiated for several of their songs to be incorporated in the film. Group affiliations The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and the Jon Lee Group.

Karen: Why did you offer to volunteer for the set design on Saving Dinah and what made you personally interested in the project of Saving Dinah?

Rowland: Both the writing and the subject offered something of quality to work with.  As Production Designer and Artistic Director, my job is to visually interpret the story and add a sense of allure, drama and glamour to the sets and character of the actors.

Karen: You have created incredible sets for Saving Dinah.  Do you have any favourites and if so, why?

Rowland: No. They all sell the story equally.

Karen: Has there been one memorable day on the Saving Dinah set that you could tell about? It could be a
great day or a tough day that stands out in your memory.

Rowland: Each day was an incredible success in visual and composition dynamics. Stephen, ( who was brilliant with the cast in pulling stellar performances from them) at the end of the day came away with great footage. Some days were more challenging because of the record breaking temperatures.

Karen: Do you live with companion dog? If so, what breed?

Rowland: This is one of the few times we haven’t had a dog. Our last dog , ‘Singi’ , was a Basenji .

Karen: Has there been an experience with a dog that has changed your life? If so, how?

Rowland: Companion animals enrich life. Their unconditional love heals.   They keep you in touch with your soul.

Karen: Did you know anything about the issues that companion animals face before Saving Dinah? If so, what? And how did you learn of them?

Rowland: Yes, for many years, through Animal Alliance and other animal cause organizations. Dinah is important because the plot sheds light on animal cruelty and the human condition and ‘arrangements’  that allow it.  A zeitgeist for issues that need to be addressed.  It has ‘cult’ potential.

Karen: How has working on the Saving Dinah project changed you?

Rowland: I’ve lost weight ! Hah !

Karen: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you? Your family? The work or hobbies you have outside of theatre? Anything?

Rowland: Thru my partner, Zana’s connections, the Dinah production was able to have expensive scenes with police uniform$, police car$, a police $tation, a complete ho$pital room, co$tumes, fabric$, pillow$ etc.,which our budget could not afford.  Zana Claus made it possible!  

Karen: Where do you go from here?  Will you be working on another set or designing a home?

Rowland: We are breaking ground on an Alternative energy  house design of mine ECOHAUS 1300 (using solar and passive solar  materials, heat storing concrete floors) and other off grid solutions.  Visit:  www.sustainable-designbuild.ca

Karen: Wow!  That’s all I can think to say!  Rowland, you can design for me any time.  Can you design around dust bunnies of dog and cat fur?  But I do want to add that Rowland is one of the most gracious and humble professionals I have met in the film industry and we could not have been more fortunate to have him and his partner Zana contributing their talents and genious to our production. When we screen Saving Dinah, you can be sure that Rowland and Zana’s stamp will be on every scene.

 

 
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No Relation to Paul

Published on July 10, 2012 by in Blog

Neil McArtney Visits Set of Saving Dinah (No Relation to Paul)

Last week, we had a visitor on the set of Saving Dinah.  Neil McArtney is the host and producer of Roger’s TV Durham’s community magazine, My Community Is Durham.  Since Saving Dinah Productions is shooting in Durham Region, I asked Neil to visit our set and see what all the buzz on Saving Dinah is about.

I think Neil might have been a little sceptical at first.  After all, Durham Region  is not usually considered Hollywood North.  But after promising him vegan tacos for lunch, I won Neil over and he stopped in for a visit.

Of course, once he met Sally, Neil was a gonner.  He took about 2 hours of footage and interviews with both our Director, Stephen Best, and our beautiful and talented star, Amanda Langille.  And he got some great shots of Sally being rescued from a burning barn and playing catch with her human companion, Andrea.  (Damn!  That dog is good.  She never misses a catch!)

With so much great digital footage to choose from, I gave permission for Neil to use it all.  Unfortunately, he only had room for about two and a half minutes.  (Hey, Neil, couldn’t you skip the commercials?)

To see what Neil came up with, watch My Community is Durham tonight at 5 p.m. on Channels 10 and 63.  All I can say is I’m glad I wasn’t the one stuck with the editing.  (If you miss it tonight, you can also catch it every night this week until Friday.  Same time, same channels.)

And for all you TV producers who want to see who your competition is, check out Neil’s bio (below). 

Neil McArtney

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Neil McArtney is Host and Producer of My Community is Durham.

Neil began his career in 1983 as an apprentice in a small production company in Trinidad, producing TV commercials and local soap operas. He then immigrated to the UK in search of a career in broadcasting. He soon found his first gig as a Playback Operator/Videotape Editor, at one of England’s very first cable systems, Croydon Cable. Rising through the ranks Neil became Chief Production Editor and then Producer of the top-of-the-hour, 5-minute newscast, Croydon Today.

Upon moving to Canada Neil joined the CBC as an Editor on the National News with Peter Mansbridge. Neil then moved to Global Television to get back in touch with his editorial roots. He started off as an Editorial Assistant and moved through the ranks to Assignment Editor, Field Producer and finaly Special Events Producer featuring everything from live breaking news to investigative reports to profiles of the ‘mom and pop’ store owners.

Today Neil’s passion for telling stories continues with Rogers TV, Durham.

 
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