Think of those blistering summer days that make everyone delirious and it almost feels as if anything is possible… and this will take you to where director Minka Farthing-Kohl found inspiration for his short Stray Dogs. In fact, the opening scene of the film is based on something that actually happened to him – albeit in a very different context. Being a fan of stories about people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and get drawn into a completely different world, he decided to take advantage of his experience.
The film beautifully captures the oppressive feeling of a relentless sun pounding down on urban concrete, and sets us up with a very familiar cinematic scenario, placing us firmly in Frank’s shoes. The incessant background hum of his headphones keeps us rooted in reality and plays off against the escalating absurdity taking place on screen. Minka wrote the script already knowing he would be casting Max Margulies as Frank and Robert Ross as Aldini and the actresses fell into place naturally during the process. Minka comments “I love how each actor brought a very different style to the piece. I find the moments where they collide very interesting”.
The performances bring a great mix of familiarity and eccentricity and they communicate as much through nuance and facial expression as they do with dialogue. To me, Stray Dogs feels like many films I’ve seen before, yet completely original at the same time. Within seven minutes, the director succeeds in leading us seamlessly from the completely banal to the utterly bizarre and unthinkable.
He is currently working on a documentary piece about a Cholita from Bolivia who has decided to take her savings to China in order to start an import business. The documentary will capture her first time out of the country, on a plane and into a world where Spanish isn’t widely spoken – let alone her local language, Aymara. In Minka’s own words “It will be an adventure…”