“IMAX Documentary ‘Superpower Dogs’ to Debut at Museum of Science & Industry”

      The film Superpower Dogs (2019), narrated by Chris Evans (best known as Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), and Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest will debut at the Giant Dome Theater (formerly the Omnimax Theater) in the Museum of Science and Industry’s Henry Crown Space Center on Saturday, August 1, A.D. 2020, the same day the M.S.I. re-opens to the public after being closed for four months.  Superpower Dogs follows six dogs and their human owners or handlers. 

      Halo, a Dutch shepherd puppy, is being trained to join a disaster response team.  Henry, a border collie, is an avalanche rescue dog in British Columbia.  Reef, a Newfoundland, is a lifeguard dog with the Italian Coast Guard.  Ricochet, a golden retriever, is a surfing service dog that helps people with special needs.  Tony and Tipper are bloodhound brothers that help protect endangered animals in the Kenyan Wildlife Service.

      Movies in the M.S.I.’s Giant Dome Theater are not covered by Museum Admission.  Before the pandemic-induced lockdown, the Giant Dome Theater was supposed to re-open on Saturday, March 21, A.D. 2020 after undergoing renovations for three months.  Four new films were supposed to debut: Superpower Dogs, Volcanoes, Ancient Caves, and Canada’s Great Bear Forest.  In a press release about the re-opening, the M.S.I. described the Giant Dome Theater as “a five-story, domed wraparound screen with a safe, capacity-controlled environment.”

      Daniel Ferguson is the writer-director of Superpower Dogs.  Taran Davies, a co-founder of Cosmic Picture, Ltd., is a producer of Superpower Dogs. The other producers are George Duffield and Dominic Cunningham-Reid.  The filmmakers used IMAX® cameras and mixed the sound in immersive IMAX 12.0 channel sound.

Credit: Superpower Dogs Caption:Cosmic Power’s Superpower Dogs is an IMAX Original Film presented by MARS Petcare will make its debut at the Museum of Science and Industry on Saturday, August 1, A.D. 2020.  The trailer features the single “Fearless” by singer-songwriter Kellie Loder.

     In 2016, Cosmic Picture, Ltd. launched a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo to raise $50,000 while the producers were filming Fire Captain Kristian (“Cat”) Labrada’s progress trainingHalo to become an urban search and rescue dog.  Writer-director Daniel Ferguson considered Halo’s story the “heart” of the film.  They ultimately raised $50,689, so they reached 101% of their goal.  

Credit: Superpower Dogs Caption: This video, “Superpower Dogs | Indiegogo Campaign,” is a short film and a sort of teaser for the IMAX documentary Superpower Dogs (2019).  Cosmic Picture, Ltd. seems to have uploaded this video to YouTube on September 20, A.D. 2016 as part of an Indiegogo fundraising campaign. 

      IMAX Corporation, Cosmic Picture, and Mars Petcare announced on Thursday, January 24, A.D. 2019 that Chris Evans would be the narrator for Superpower Dogs (2019), which was set for release in IMAX® and giant screen theaters on Friday, March 15, A.D. 2019.  The trailer also debuted on January 24th.  As the presenting sponsor, Mars Petcare is providing museums and cinemas with “educational materials on the science of dogs, importance of responsible pet ownership and how to help end pet homelessness from its various programs and brands,” IMAX, Cosmic Picture, and Mars Petcare stated in a press release.  The three companies stated, “From the filmmakers behind the acclaimed documentaries Jerusalem and Journey to Mecca, Superpower Dogs take audiences on an immersive IMAX® adventure to experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs.”

      “I am really happy to be part of Superpower Dogs,” Chris Evans stated. “I am a proud dog owner and completely understand the connection that humans have with these remarkable animals.  I love the way this film highlights incredible working dogs who utilize their real-life superpowers to help and protect people.”

      “There is no greater talent to narrate Superpower Dogs than Chris Evans,” stated Daniel Ferguson, Writer/Director of Superpower Dogs.  “Chris’ genuine love and respect for dogs really comes through in a way that highlights their abilities, intelligence and heroism.”

Figure 1 Credit: Cosmic Picture Caption: This is a movie poster for Superpower Dogs (2019), which is making its debut at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Giant Dome Theater on Saturday, August 1, A.D. 2020.  This is a “key art poster.”  Halo, the Dutch shepherd, a disaster response dog, is at the center.  Reef, the Newfoundland, a water rescue dog with the Italian Coast Guard, is at the top left.  Ricochet, the golden retriever, an emotional support dog, is at the bottom left.  Either Tony or Tipper, the Bloodhound brothers in the Kenyan Wildlife Service, is at the top right. Henry, the Border Collie, an avalanche rescue dog, is at the bottom right.

Figure 2 Credit: Cosmic Picture Caption: This is Daniel Ferguson, the writer-director of Superpower Dogs (2019).

Figure 3 Credit: © 2018 Cosmic Picture Caption: This is Taran Davies, a co-founder of Cosmic Picture, Ltd., is a producer of Superpower Dogs (2019).  Here, we see him with Prentiss.

Figure 4 Credit: © 2018 Cosmic Picture Caption: This is Dominic Cunningham-Reid, a producer of Superpower Dogs (2019).

Figure 5 Credit: © 2018 Cosmic Picture Caption: This is George Duffield, a producer of Superpower Dogs (2019).  Here, we see him with Tarka.

Figure 6 Credit: © 2018 Reed Smoot, A.S.C. for Cosmic Picture.  This is a publicity picture that Reed Smoot took of Chris Evans for Superpower Dogs (2019), which Mr. Evans narrated.  Avalanche rescue dog Henry appears to be with him.

Figure 7 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is a “character poster” for Superpower Dogs (2019) that depicts Halo, the Dutch shepherd, a disaster response dog.

Figure 8 Credit: © 2018 Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is Halo with Fire Captain Kristian (“Cat”) Labrada of Miami Dade County, Florida.

Figure 9 Credit: © 2018 Danny Wilcox Frazier – VII Agency for Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is Halo, the Dutch shepherd, a disaster response dog featured in Superpower Dogs (2019).

       In January of 2016, Fire Captain Kristian (“Cat”) Labrada of the Miami-Dade Fire Department in Miami-Dade County, Florida flew to Detroit to choose her new canine partner and selected Halo.   Born the runt in a litter of ten Dutch shepherds, Cat described Halo as “a devil dog” when she initially trained the bitch to be an urban search and rescue dog as part of Florida Task Force 1.  Over the course of the next two years, Halo matured as Cat brought her to train at facilities in Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee.  The final test was the Foundation Skills Assessment (F.S.A.) and Certification Exam (C.E.) of the Federal Emergency Management Association (F.E.M.A.) in New York.

Credit: Superpower Dogs Caption: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. uploaded this video, “Superpower Dog Story: Cat and Halo,” on September 28, 2016 as part of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.  At the time, the producers needed to raise $50,000 to keep filming Cat’s progress training Halo to be an urban search and rescue dog.  We see the beginning of the whole process with Fire Captain Kristian (“Cat”) Labrada of the Miami-Dade Fire Department going to Detroit and picking out Halo from three puppies.

Figure 10 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is a “character poster” for Superpower Dogs (2019) that depicts Henry, the border collie, an avalanche rescue dog.
Figure 11 Credit: © 2018 Danny Wilcox Frazier – VII Agency for Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is the border collie Henry, an avalanche rescue dog featured in Superpower Dogs (2019).

      Henry and his hander/trainer Ian Bunbury form a Senior Avalanche Rescue Dog Team.  Mr. Bunbury is a Ski Patroller at Whistler Mountain and a volunteer with the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association.  Henry is the third border collie he trained for Avalanche Search and Rescue. According to Cosmic Picture, Ltd., “Ian believes that Henry’s strong herding instincts combined with the Border Collies’ legendary work ethic, their natural smarts and physical soundness make for a great canine working partner.  Indeed, Henry’s grandfather was a Reserve World Herding Champion, and Henry has put those herding skills to use in Wildlife Aversion work in his hometown of Whistler, B.C. moving both Canadian Geese and Black Bears out of conflict situations.”

Figure 12 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is a “character poster” for Superpower Dogs (2019) that depicts Reef, the Newfoundland, a water rescue dog with the Italian Coast Guard.

Figure 13 Credit: © 2018 Danny Wilcox Frazier VII Agency for Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is the Newfoundland Reef, a water rescue dog with the Italian Coast Guard featured in Superpower Dogs (2019).This poster picture was taken in Porto Venre on the Ligurian coast of Italy.

      Reef is a four-year-old (at the time of filming) Newfoundland bitch.  She enjoys the lakes and sea around her home near Milan, Lombardy, Italy.  Commandante Ferruccio Pilenga, the founder of the Scuela Italiana di Cani Salvataggio (Italian School of Water Rescue Dogs) is a big advocate for using Newfoundlands as water rescue dogs.  Reef is the granddaughter of Mas, a famous Newfoundland that rescued Ferruccio’s daughter from drowning.  According to Cosmic Picture, Ltd., “Today, Reef is an instructor dog, helping other dogs develop their innate rescue instinct to save human lives.  She can deploy from a boat or helicopter, swim for miles without tiring and tow up to 40 times her own weight in the water!”

Figure 14 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is a “character poster” for Superpower Dogs (2019) that depicts Ricochet, the golden retriever, an emotional support dog. 

Figure 15 Credit: © 2018 Danny Wilcox Frazier – VII Agency for Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is the golden retriever Ricochet, the, a surfing emotional support dog  featured in Superpower Dogs (2019).

      According to Cosmic Picture, Ltd., “An internet sensation, Ricochet is a 10-year-old Golden Retriever and one of America’s beloved therapy dogs.  In 2009, Ricochet made an independent decision to jump on a surfboard with a boy who is quadriplegic.  Since then, she had surfed with hundreds of individuals and became the only SURFice dog® on the planet who provides canine assisted surfing to empower and improve the quality of life for individuals with physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities.”  

      My nine-year-old niece found me finishing this article and informed Ricochet was in a movie called “The World’s Greatest Dogs.”  I have been unable to verify this is the case, but I did find a television show called World’s Greatest Dogs on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) that profiles “extraordinary dogs” and Ricochet would certainly qualify. 

      Ricochet is the subject of a Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricochet_(dog).  Her owner, Judy Fridono, wrote a book with Kay Pfaltz, Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope with the Dog Who Inspires Millions, published in 2014.

Credit: Superpower Dogs Caption: This video, “Superpower Dog Story: Ricochet,” is a short film in its own right, but also a sort of teaser for the IMAX documentary Superpower Dogs (2019) because this video was  uploaded to YouTube on October 13, 2016 and the feature film was not released until 2019.  Indeed, the video was posted as part of the Indiegogo campaign.  Indiegogo is a crowdfunding Website, so at that point the producers were hoping random private citizens would be willing to contribute funds so the producers could finish the film.  They were also hoping to attract sponsors.

Figure 16 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is a “character poster” for Superpower Dogs (2019) that depicts the bloodhound brothers Tony and Tipper in the Kenyan Wildlife Service.

Figure 17 Credit: © 2018 Danny Wilcox Frazier – VII Agency for Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is Tipper, a bloodhound in the Kenyan Wildlife Service featured in Superpower Dogs (2019).

      Twin brother bloodhounds Tipper and Tony protect animals in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya, including rhinos and elephants.  They are trackers helping the Kenyan Wildlife Service patrol the savannah and towns around Northern Kenya and Mount Kenya.  Tipper and Tony have assisted in the arrest of forty poachers and other criminals, including cattle raiders.  They have also helped find missing people.

Figure 18 Credit: Courtesy of Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: Molly, the mascot of the Keep Kids Safe® Foundation, is the ambassador for the IMAX documentary Superpower Dogs.

Figure 19 Credit: ShadowCatcher Imagery Caption: This is Molly and her owner, retired firefighter, Dayna Hilton.

Figure 20 Credit: Courtesy of Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: Molly the Fire Safety Dog’s owner, Dayna Hilton, maintains social media for her. 

Figure 21 Credit: Courtesy of Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: Dalmatians have been around since at least the 17th Century, as attested to by their presence in paintings and references to them in archival documents in Dalmatia, a region of Croatia, but modern Americans strongly associate the breed with firefighters as firehouse mascots.

Figure 22 Credit: Courtesy Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: Molly was the 2019 America Kennel Club Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence (A.C.E.) in the “Exemplary Companion Dog” category.

Figure 23 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is Molly the Fire Safety Dog and her owner , retired firefighter, Dayna Hilton, on the set of Superpower Dogs.

Figure 24 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is Molly the Dalmatian at the Los Angeles premiere of Superpower Dogs on March 9, 2019.

Figure 25 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: This is Molly the Dalmatian on the red carpet (so to speak) at the Los Angeles premiere of Superpower Dogs on March 9, 2019.

Figure 28 Credit: Cosmic Picture, Ltd. Caption: Molly, the mascot of the Keep Kids Safe® Foundation, is the ambassador for the IMAX documentary Superpower Dogs.  Use @superpowedogs on social media.

“The moment I first head about the film…I knew it was going to be epic,” stated Molly the Fire Safety Dog’s owner, retired firefighter Dayna Hilton.  “Molly and I wanted to help contribute our time and talents to be a part of the documentary that takes audiences on an immersive IMAX adventure to experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs.”

Ms. Hilton added, “I have witnessed first-hand the power of canines, through my first dog, Sparkles (the First Safety Dog), and now, Molly.  Even though Sparkles passed away in 2010, she is still helping save lives.  The Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation was founded in honor of Sparkles and Molly continues to carry on the work Sparkles started to help reduce fire related deaths and injuries among children and their families.  To date, Molly and Sparkles have helped save the lives of 9 children and 3 adults involved in actual fire-related situations.”

“The filmmakers behind the acclaimed documentaries Jerusalem and Journey to Mecca were another strong point for wanting to become a part of such an amazing project,” Ms. Hilton explained. “Superpower Dogs Writer/Director Daniel Ferguson and Producers Taran Davies, George Duffield and Dominic Cunningham-Reid have not only impressive resumes, but their love for dogs and the human/dog connection is something you will be able to see and experience in Superpower Dogs.”

 “Superpower Dogs celebrates the superpowers in all dogs and Molly demonstrates this every day in her work with children and fire safety,” Mr. Davies stated.  “We are proud to call Molly a Superpower Dogs Ambassador and look forward to supporting her work with children worldwide.”

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