Written by: Shirley Baugher
They are our heroes, guardians, eyes and ears. They are friends and protectors. They are a part of our better selves. They give unconditional love and, in return, ask only to be safe and cared for. They are our pets.
Saving the Strays
How often have you seen a stray dog—hungry, unkempt, and lost—and said to yourself, “I wish I could do something to help”? Well, now you can by supporting a wonderful project by Ryo Rex, a Los Angeles filmmaker, called The Stray, a short film written by talented screenwriters Rob Schow, Stephanie Sosa and Michael Arkof. The script tells the story of a lonely little girl, Sasha, who wants a best friend. She meets a stray and takes him in—thinking she has saved his life. Little does she realize that the animal she rescued will, in turn, become her savior when the pack from which she took him attacks her house in an effort to get him back. In the ensuing action, there is excitement and thrills galore as Sasha and her stray must work together to save their friendship and their home.
Ryo Rex feels passionately about animals who have been abandoned and left to die. He would like to save them all, but he realizes this is not possible. He hopes that this film will call attention to the plight of the strays and that many will find good homes as a result. He has brought together a first rate cast and crew to accomplish this task. Zoey (Zozo) Diaz plays the little girl “Sasha” who befriends the stray. Zoey is already known to fans from her work on Katy Perry’s Wide Awake music video. The film also stars gifted child actor Xihuaru (Xixi) Kilcher whose credits include Spud (2009) and The Power of the Few (2012).
In an unusual twist, famed composer Henrik Astrom is already developing the musical background for the film. Rex believes that writing music is as organic to the production process as writing the screenplay, so he wanted to give Astrom the freedom and time to create a number of very special musical themes without being rushed in post production.
Putting It Together
To spread the word about the film, the entire Stray team, including the young stars, launched a STRAYS UNITE guerrilla campaign. The first outing was held at the Pasadena Dog Park on October 20th, and all who attended received free dog photos and were given an opportunity to share their rescue stories. Two lucky dogs were adopted at this event, so Rex has already achieved part of his dream. The group will be touring dog parks in Southern California with Xixi and Zozo (the child stars) to meet fellow dog lovers and talk about the movie project.
Some movies deserve to be made. The Stray is one of those movies. But it won’t be made without your help. The film is being financed by an all-or-nothing campaign through Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. They need $12,000 and every dollar counts. While the entire crew is donating their time and equipment, funds are needed for locations, set dressing and props, wardrobe, stunt coordination, and food. And time is of the essence. The deadline for getting the funding in place is November 22, 2012. So, Rex and his creative team are asking for your support both to make the film and to give it the production quality of a major motion picture. If the team doesn’t reach its goal, and the money isn’t collected, The Stray will not be made.
Promotional gifts are available for donations including red, anodized aluminum dog tags with 30-inch fastener chains, t-shirts, and VIP invitations to the Los Angeles screening, depending on the size of the contribution.
About Ryo Rex
Ryo Rex is an experienced cinematographer who lives and works in Los Angeles and Honolulu. His impressive credits include I Know That Voice: a Documentary (DP), Superthief: a Documentary (DP), Little Tokyo Reporter (DP), Between Friends (DP), Simon (DP) and Longing Heart (DP). Follow him on Facebook.