Filmmaker Gorman Bechard devoted the first half of his film
career to narrative feature films, writing and directing such fare as Psychos
in Love (1987, starring Debi Thibeault and Carmine Capobianco as serial
killers in love) and Friends (With Benefits) (2009,
teaming Alex Brown with Margaret Laney).
He then switched gears and began making documentaries, which
have often focused on musicians (he was a music critic at one time). These include: Color Me Obsessed: A Film About
The Replacements (2011), What Did You Expect?: The Archers of Loaf - Live
at Cat's Cradle (2012) and Every Everything: The Music, Life &
Times of Grant Hart (2013). All
three documentaries are currently available on DVD.
From this track record of horror, romance and artist-themed documentaries
you would never have expected a heartfelt tale of love, kindness and a story of
a man and his dog … a man and his dog on a very special mission.
That’s what you have with his latest documentary film, A Dog
Named Gucci, which is on its way to DVD on Apr. 19 from What Were We
Thinking Films, with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD
It was an evening in June of 1994 and a trio of miscreants
thought it would be great fun to hang a 12 week-old puppy by its neck from a
tree, beat it like a punching bag and then, bored with that, douse it with some
lighter fluid and set the defenseless animal ablaze.
That would have been the end to it, but a nearby resident
named Doug James heard the dog’s screams and came to its rescue.
Over the next year some gentle souls at Auburn University
performed the necessary surgeries to save the dog, now named Gucci. In the meantime, Doug James (with Gucci as a
witness) would testify in court as to the events of that night … all three were
found guilty. Guilty, but with light
punishments — some jail time for one; community service for the other two. Community service?!? Are you serious? It was a joke, but that was the law.
Filmmaker Gorman Bechard could have taken the easy road with
Dog Named Gucci
and made his film about hate, injustice and animal
cruelty — certainly there was plenty of material to work with.
He could have focused his glare on the
events of that night and those
for such an atrocious act of savagery, instead, this incredible film (you will
need Kleenex) follows the quest of an ordinary citizen, Doug James (a college
professor) and his friend, Gucci, to reform the legal system to recognize that
such behavior should not be rewarded with a simple slap on the wrist.
As a result of his efforts in the state of Alabama today such
behavior now results in a felony conviction and up to a ten-year jolt in
prison. It’s a start.
As to Gucci, he lived to be 16-years old and became quite
the celebrity. How this little puppy
could have ever trusted another human being after the events of that night
speaks volumes about the love, the kindness and the care of one man, Doug James
… an unlikely hero who just happened to be in the right place at the right
As to bonus goodies, there is an extended video session with
filmmaker Gorman Bechard, a North Carolina prosecutor gives tips on how
ordinary citizens can become involved and there is a featurette devoted to Gucci
Additionally, filmmaker Gorman Bechard has teamed with
recording artists Lydia Loveless, Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Neko
Case, Kathryn Calder and Brian May (of Queen) — with the backing of the Yale
Symphony Orchestra and four of its members (Jessica Oddie, Joan Rhee, Justina
Sullivan and Jennifer Cha) — a string quartet — to showcase the soundtrack song,
“One Voice.” It will be released
nationally on Apr. 16, with all proceeds benefitting animal charities.