The West

Red Dog s pat on back
Red Dog's pat on back

Red Dog - the film about a nomadic sheepdog wandering the Pilbara - opened the 17th Australian Film Festival in London to rapturous applause and rave audience reviews.

The WA-made film does not open in Australia until August but screened at London's Barbican Centre last Friday (WA time), together with local author Shaun Tan's Academy Award-winning short film The Lost Thing.

It was only the second public screening of the feature film, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Outside the cinema, crowds heralded the film a success. Most commonly singled out for adulation were the quality of the cinematography and the "extremely charismatic" dog in the lead role.

The story of Red Dog is a well-known WA legend but it was popularised by author Louis de Bernieres in his book of the same name. Both de Bernieres and the WA-born film producer behind the project, Nelson Woss, attended the screening.

"It's nice to have the film seen, people seem to be really responding to it, it's a dream come true and it's nice now to see all the different reactions," Woss said.

"I really think we kept the soul of Louis' book and I think we tell a really good WA story about how quickly that region came together - and it's great to cast a spotlight on that part of the world."

The festival runs until May 12 and includes screenings of Red Hill, starring Ryan Kwanten, the AFI winning Tomorrow When The War Began and Perth director Yu-Hsui Camille Chen's film Little Sparrow. Chen is also in London for the festival.

Red Dog opens in Australia on August 11. Its Australian premiere will be held in Dampier, where the film is set.

The West Australian

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