First ever NY Dog Film Festival comes to San Antonio

The Tobin Center will make history with this first ever “dog-friendly event for friendly dogs,” welcoming well-behaved pups to join their human companions at the outdoor screening arranged on May 13 at the Will Naylor Smith Riverwalk Plaza. (Courtesy photo)

Following its overwhelming success for two years in New York City, and its national tour to 10 cities in 2016, the first-ever NY Dog Film Festival will be traveling to 15 cities in 2017, landing on May 13 in San Antonio, which is the home of the nonprofit sponsor the Petco Foundation, whose goal is to help every animal live its best life.

The mission of the NY Dog Film Festival and Founder/Director Tracie Hotchner is to share her love of dogs with a program of short films that entertain and inspire while supporting a local animal welfare organization, which in San Antonio will be the Animal Defense League, which will receive a portion of each ticket.

What’s better than the concept of a dog film festival? How about a BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog) film festival?! The Tobin Center will make history with this first ever “dog-friendly event for friendly dogs,” welcoming well-behaved pups to join their human companions at the outdoor screening arranged on the Will Naylor Smith Riverwalk Plaza for the ultimate canine-centric experience. Festival-goers will have a chance to take photos on the Green Carpet, even if they don’t bring along a dog!

On the evening of Saturday, May 13, dog lovers can experience the entire NY Dog Film Festival by attending both of the two completely different programs at 7 and 9 p.m. Perfect as a Saturday night date, while appropriate for dog lovers of all ages, the two programs each feature a different medley of documentary, animated and live-action short canine-themed films by filmmakers from around the world. The films illuminate human-canine love and are uplifting, with happy outcomes. Each program runs approximately 75 minutes.

Hotchner, a well-known pet wellness advocate and author of “The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know,” will fly cross-country from her home in Bennington, Vermont to San Antonio. She’ll be at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts to bring local dog aficionados together to share a communal experience of watching short films that celebrate the remarkable bond between people and dogs.

“I’m delighted to bring animal lovers together in San Antonio to experience the many ways that people love and need their dogs, while recognizing the Animal Defense League’s great work in bringing them together,” said Hotchner. “This offers dog lovers a joyful opportunity to fulfill a ‘bucket list’ dream to share a movie date with their dogs, the ultimate canine-centric experience. The beautiful Tobin Center for the Performing Arts loves dogs as much as we do and is welcoming them to the outdoor Plaza to make the whole experience even more exciting.”

Hotchner is also the host/producer of 10 pet talk radio shows on her Radio Pet Lady Network (including her award-winning NPR show “Dog Talk”).

“We are grateful to have had a grant from the Petco Foundation in 2016, which made the first traveling year possible, and for the generous support from K9 Advantix II from Bayer, which also supports K9s for Warriors. The festival includes two short films which show the mission of K9’s for Warriors, which exemplifies the ultimate celebration of the human-canine bond in their work pairing shelter dogs they have trained as companions for veterans struggling with PTSD,” added Hotchner.

The Festival is comprised of two separate programs, of animated, documentary and narrative shorts from around the world.

Program 1 – “Second Chances” (77 minutes)

Twelve films that include “Game of Bones” from Australia, which re-imagines the popular television series of a similar name and stars the director’s own rescued Labrador as the heroine; “Useful Dog Tricks,” a fun film with a Jack Russell Terrier who shows the myriad ways a dog can help around the house; and the deeply moving “A Boy and His Dog,” an English documentary featuring a very little boy with big medical challenges, whose family adopts a very big dog, whose own physical challenges bring them joyfully together.

Program 2 – “Love Changes Everything” (73 minutes)

A series of 13 short films including “The Lewis Lectures,” a hilarious animated depiction of what dogs are actually thinking when we leave the house; “The Poodle Trainer” (in Russian with subtitles), a poignant character study of a circus trainer whose performing poodles are the center of her universe; and the uplifting documentary “Second Chances,” about dogs who are paired with imprisoned women, who train them to become service dogs, changing lives on both ends of the leash.

For more information about the 2017 destination cities, the films and how to buy tickets, please visit

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