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The hit Australian film Red Dog is producing a lively litter.
First producer Nelson Woss started making The Koko Story, a follow-up film about the kelpie who went from failed show dog to national celebrity with the 2011 drama.
It looks at how the charismatic Koko affected people's lives as he made Red Dog then toured the country promoting it.
Now Woss is setting out to make a ‘‘three colours’’ trilogy of self-contained Australian dog stories.
Red Dog, the warm-hearted tale about a freewheeling canine who united a Pilbara mining down in Western Australia in the 1970s, will be followed by Blue Dog.
Director Kriv Stenders will return for what is described as a stand-alone film - neither a prequel nor a sequel with an entirely different cast – about ‘‘the early events that led to the discovery of Red Dog’’ in the Pilbara.
With Screen Australia announcing the film has been financed, the main shoot is expected to take place in the Pilbara early next year, with some preliminary filming later this year.
After that, Woss plans to make Yellow Dog, which he describes as another iconically Australian story about a dog in a military setting.
‘‘We weren’t interested in doing a sequel for the sake of doing a sequel,’’ he says. ‘‘We pretty much thought we were going to leave the Red Dog story alone.
"But [Red Dog writer] Daniel Taplitz came up with such an original, different take on a standalone film that we decided to do it.’’
Woss is also capitalising on Red Dog's success by moving into distribution with Good Dog Enterprises.
The film became a surprise hit in Australian cinemas, taking more than $21 million, and winning best film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.
Koko, who became Woss’s family pet after the film until his death from congestive heart disease in late 2012, has a statue in his honour at Perth’s Dogs’ Refuge Home.
‘‘We've been surprised that the local community – and, in fact, Australia in general - would like us to do another film about dogs,’’ says Woss.
The Koko Story, which is being written and directed by Daniel Bunker, is expected to be released in cinemas either at Christmas or early next year.
''It's a feature film that tells an inspirational story,'' Woss says. ''It's a terrific Rocky-esque story about a dog that no one knew he had any potential until he was cast in this role.
"He pulled off this incredible performance, then, when no one was really sure whether the movie was good or not, he was the one who took it on the road.''
Credit and source - Sydney Morning Herald On line
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