Praised by revered director Danny Boyle, Aaron Dunleavy and Joseph Ollman’s compelling short Throw Me to the Dogs tells the story of an awkward boy struggling to adapt to teenage life in a hardy British town. A gritty and intense watch, this 12-minute short does exactly what British social realism should and puts ‘the experiences of real Britons on the screen’.
“The film was entirely improvised, none of the cast had to learn lines and we did not allow them to see the script”
Shot with a cast of non-professional actors, recruited from the streets around where the short was filmed, there’s a rawness and believability in pair’s filmmaking that makes Throw Me to the Dogs a powerful and memorable watch. Speaking to a local newspaper in the UK, one-half of the directorial duo, Aaron Dunleavy, explained a little more about their production:
“We shot Throw Me to the Dogs for a week in the February half-term last year. We had a completely local cast and a shoestring budget of just £900…As the film was entirely improvised, none of the cast had to learn lines and we did not allow them to see the script…The film is inspired by my childhood growing up in Blackburn, filmed around the part-demolished terraced streets of Griffin where my family still lives. It was great to be able to make a film so close to my heart”.
Echoing the work of Lynne Ramsay and Andrea Arnold, who also started their career in short film, Throw Me to the Dogs feels not only like a riveting piece of storytelling but also an insightful glimpse into British life not often captured outside of sensationalist television documentaries. A piece of fiction at heart, the real-life inspiration, raw performances and unscripted approach of Dunleavy and Ollman’s short makes it feel like an authentic, plausible slice of adolescent life.