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An Act of Dog

A film by Bonnie Silva and Russ Barry

Ask anyone on the street if the word shelter is synonymous with death and they’ll give you a look that says “huh?” But it’s that same paradox that compelled an unlikely couple to give up everything for a chance to unleash art’s power on an industry gone mad.

An Act of Dog is a love story that explores using art for social change. In this tender, painful baring of the truth, newly naturalized citizen Marina Dervan opens the back door to a world where companion animals are methodically killed by the millions. Marina’s partner, artist Mark Barone, finally agrees to look at the evidence, then commits to painting the number of dogs destroyed daily in shelters around the country – all 5,500 of them.

As the filmmakers document Mark’s struggle to create a poignant yet motivating memorial, we’re poised to learn our shelter system’s secrets, and we’re privy to those moments when Mark feels like he can’t paint one more face.

Told through the eyes of Marina and lovingly nudged on to the last remaining portrait, the story aches for redemption, and hints at ways to repurpose visitors’ pools of tears. While the artwork reminds its beholders that change begins with a willingness to look – Mark and Marina eagerly take the next steps, and invite a compassionate global public to take the long, hard, exhilarating journey with them.

Associated Members

Bonnie Silva, Producer