Stories about the love and companionship between dogs and their people are almost always going to bring smiles to faces and maybe tears to eyes. But man oh man, this one is a doozy.
Like a haymaker of feelings to the cryballs. Take a minute to towel off those tears, my friend. Okay. Now, just in case you were too busy to take seven minutes to enjoy the entire heartwarming, life-affirming, animal-loving story and need to re-evaluate your priorities, here’s a brief recap: Together with director Ben Knight and cinematographer Skip Armstrong, photographer Ben Moon pays tribute to his dog Denali with this short film, artfully detailing their life together. The film depicts how Denali not only helped Moon out by acting as a photo model for years, he also helped him get through a tough battle with cancer. And how he told his best friend how he knew it was over.
The film was partly financed by Patagonia, a brand the filmmakers have worked with frequently. Knight co-directed the brand’s DamNation doc, and Denali has even appeared in past Patagonia catalogs.
Moon says the idea for the film came near the end of Denali’s days, while he was filming an unrelated project. “Skip [Armstrong] recognized the bond Denali and I shared and suggested we focus the piece on the relationship between Denali and I,” says Moon. “The day that we captured that footage then means a lot to me now, as just days after we wrapped the filming, Denali passed away.”
Soon after, Moon reached out to director Ben Knight. “I knew he had the perfect sensibilities and talents to make the piece truly resonate,” says Moon, who also credits Knight with making the decision to tell the story through Denali’s eyes. “The balance of humor and heartwrenching moments in his writing really make the piece come to life, as well as his perfect narration. As this is a deeply personal story, it was a relief to have it told from Denali’s point of view as it directed some of the attention away from me and helps the audience focus on the relationship instead.”