PRESS NOTES


SYNOPSIS

THE DOG LOVER is a suspenseful and provocative drama based on true events.

SARA GOLD is a rising star at the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA), a major animal rights organization that conducts animal rescues and lobbies for better animal welfare laws. Handpicked for a major assignment, Sara goes undercover as a college intern to infiltrate a suspected “puppy mill” run by the enigmatic DANIEL HOLLOWAY.

Sara soon ingratiates herself with Daniel and his family, and learns all about the world of dog breeding but is hard pressed to find any sign of animal abuse. The UAPA teams up with local law enforcement and raids the farm, accusing Daniel of the inhumane treatment of animals. Sara finds herself torn between doing her job and doing what’s right, and she awakens to the moral contradictions of her work with the UAPA.

The Dog Lover, based on a true story is a heartwarming tale of family, love, and doing what you believe in.

*RATING: This film has been rated PG due to thematic elements, brief images and some language.*


DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

 Alex Ranarivelo - a prolific, collaborative, and visual storyteller - has directed four feature films for ESX Entertainment* since June, 2014 (The Dog Lover, American Wrestler, Running Wild & Praying for Rain). He graduated at the top of his class with a B.F.A in film production from Art Center College of Design. His thesis film was a 35mm short film about street racing called The Last Race, based on his experiences as a street-racer. 

After college he continued to develop his writing and directing skills with 5 more short films in different genres, each playing in festivals and winning multiple awards. He made his feature debut with a rough and tumble romantic comedy from a guy’s perspective: Alpha Males Experiment. It played at multiple festivals and placed in Best of Fest’s top 10 Comedies of the year. In 2010, Alex’s script “The Girl With No Name” won the GRAND PRIZE at the Slamdance Film Festival Screenwriting Competition and was subsequently optioned by Co-Op Entertainment. The script also placed in the top 35 out of 3500 scripts in Final Draft’s Big Break Competition. Alex went back to his street-racing roots for his second feature Born To Race, ateen action film centered around a father/son story. He co-wrote the script and was hired to direct it. Born To Race was a hit domestically and internationally in the home video market. A rip of the movie showed up on YouTube and got over 7 MILLION VIEWS before being taken down. Alex also directed the sequel, Born To Race: Fast Track, another home video market darling.

When producer Ali Afshar first teamed up with executive producer Forest Lucas to create ESX Entertainment, Alex directed the suspenseful, character-driven The Dog Lover (starring James Remar, Lea Thompson, and Sherry Stringfield). This is set for domestic release through Sony Pictures in July 2016.

While in postproduction on this film, he began prepping The Wizard, which follows a 17-year- old Iranian refugee who becomes the high school state-wrestling champion against adversity during the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. In this period piece, he directed Jon Voight, William Fichtner and discovered newcomers George Kosturos and Lia Marie Johnson. This film has been accepted into the Newport Film Festival, April 2016, and is set for wide release in October

Next came Running Wild, where Alex was at the helm of a picturesque, dramatic piece about Stella, a California Ranch Socialite poised to lose everything who creates a Prison Rehabilitation Equine Program on her property when she finds that there are horses suffering in the wild. Dorian Brown and Jason Lewis must go head to head with animal lover Sharon Stone. Tommy Flanagan also stars.

In October of 2015, Alex directed Jane Seymour and Paul Rodriguez in Praying for Rain, a murder mystery set against the backdrop of the Central California drought. A young girl begins to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding her father’s death and discovers that the idyllic farm community of her youth has been replaced by place run by crime and desperation. Newcomer Annabelle Stephenson leads the cast. Nicholas Gonzalez also stars.

Last but not least, Alex is currently in pre-production on DIRT: his 5th movie in a row with ESX Entertainment. Dirt is about a weathered race team owner who can’t quite his season to gel when is approached about taking on a kid from the hood that needs a work furlough to avoid jail time. He reluctantly agrees; the unlikely pair create quite a stir in the redneck sport of circle track racing.

- Alex Ranarivelo.


 CAST BIOS

JAMES REMAR (“Daniel”)

James is a rugged, intense character player with leading man good looks. Having first gained recognition in 1979 as Ajax, in his second film, The Warriors. That same year he garnered acclaim on Broadway with Richard Gere in the concentration camp drama "Bent".

In a career spanning nearly four decades, James has run the gamut of roles and solid career choices. Ranging from the psychopaths, Dutch Schultz in 'Francis Copolla''s The Cotton Club and 'Albert Ganz' in Walter Hill's 48 Hrs. to Samantha's lover, the billionaire playboy, Richard Wright, in the HBO series Sex and the City." James has also garnered roles which highlight a more vulnerable side, such as his guitarist who gets a break in the Oscar-winning short, Session Man or his artist who falls in love with a gargoyle come to life in the best segment of the horror anthology, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie and as Mary Louise Parker's lover in Boys on the Side.

More recently James starred along side Michael C. Hall in the hit Showtime series Dexter where he played Dexter's wise, compassionate, adoptive father, Harry Morgan. Grey's Anatomy fans have recently enjoyed seeing James as Karev's long-lost Dad. While remaining active with top feature films James enjoys the distinction of being the only actor to die twice, as two different characters in Quentin Tarintino's smash hit Django Unchained.

James won the 8th annual SAG award as a member of the Outstanding Comedy Ensemble for his work in Sex and the City. As a member of the ensemble cast of Dexter, James has been nominated for the SAG award and the Emmy. In recognition for his work in Sci-Fi Fantasy and Horror James was honored with the Saturn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.


LEA THOMPSON (“Liz”)

Thompson made her home-media screen debut in 1982 as Cecily "Sissy" Loper in the interactive live-action video game "MysteryDisc: Murder, Anyone?" and her movie significant debut in 1983, with Jaws 3-D. She recalled the film as "the very first movie I ever got, but I lied and said I had done a couple of other movies, so when I showed up, I really knew absolutely nothing. Also, I had said that I knew how to water-ski. And I did not. So I had, like, five days to learn really, really complicated water-skiing things, because I had to fit into the Sea World water-skiing show. I don’t even know how to swim!"She followed this with All the Right Moves, Red Dawn (1984), and The Wild Life (1984).

Thompson's most famous role is that of Lorraine Baines McFly in the Back to the Future trilogy, with the first film released in 1985. Thompson's character is the mother of Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, whom Marty meets when she is a 1950s adolescent age after he travels back in time: he has to avoid having Lorraine fall in love with him instead of with his future father, George (Crispin Glover), which leads to awkward scenes where Lorraine is attracted to him.

In 1986, Thompson starred in SpaceCamp and Howard the Duck. For the latter film she sang several songs on the soundtrack in character, as musician Beverly Switzler, who was the lead vocalist for a band called Cherry Bomb. The recordings appeared on both the soundtrack album and on singles. Rounding out film appearances in the late 1980s, Thompson starred in Some Kind of Wonderful, Casual Sex?, and The Wizard of Loneliness. She also had a prominent role in the 1989 TV film Nightbreaker, for which she was nominated for a CableACE Award. In the early 1990s, Thompson starred as the mother of the eponymous character in Dennis the Menace (1993), the villainess in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) and a snooty ballet instructor in The Little Rascals (1994). She also appeared in several TV films throughout the 1990s, including The Substitute Wife (1994) and The Right To Remain Silent (1996).

Thompson found moderate critical and popular success as the star of the NBC sitcom Caroline in the City from 1995 to 1999. In 1996 Thompson received a People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series, while her show won for Favorite New TV Comedy Series.

After a break from acting, Thompson went on to star in several Broadway plays. She later appeared in a TV series called For the People, which only lasted one season. She then starred in a TV film, Stealing Christmas (2003), starring Tony Danza and Betty White. Thompson also appeared in several episodes of the dramedy series Ed and in a guest role for one episode in 2004 on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; she played a woman whose embryos were stolen.

In 2005 Thompson began a series of made-for-TV films for the Hallmark Channel, in which she plays Jane Doe, an ex-secret agent turned housewife, who helps the government solve mysteries. Thompson directed two films from the Jane Doe series – Jane Doe: The Harder They Fall and Jane Doe: Eye of the Beholder.

Thompson was a featured singer on Celebrity Duets and the second contestant eliminated in 2006. In April 2007 she starred in another TV film, A Life Interrupted, which premiered on Lifetime Television.


JAYSON BLAIR (“Will”)

Born in Detroit and raised in Macomb, Michigan, Blair always had an interest in the entertainment industry.  With a shortage of television and film opportunities in the Detroit area, Blair entered a talent competition in Chicago and was discovered by an agent, who he credits for changing his mind about where he fit into the business, and his life.  Shortly after, Blair decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry; however his early years in LA were far from easy.  He shares, “for the first three years that I was in LA, it was rough.  I was living off of the Dollar Menu at McDonalds, and I ate a lot of oatmeal.  I was not working as a model, and I was not yet working as an actor, so I poured my heart and soul into acting classes and developed a true love for acting.  I realized that when I put in the work, I started getting jobs.”  In 2009 Blair’s hard work paid off, as he booked roles on “Glee,” “Heroes” and “Hard Times” within months of each other.  While working on “Hard Times,” Blair also had the opportunity to book a role on the new, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” spin off, working with Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker.  

Blair was most recently seen in a recurring role on ABC Family’s Young & Hungry and Guest starring on FOX’s Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life.  Prior to that, Jayson was a break out as “Clay Clemmons” in NBC’s “The New Normal,” created and executive produced by Ryan Murphy [“Glee,” “American Horror Story.”]  On the film front, Blair can be seen in the Academy Award Winning film  WHIPLASH opposite J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller. Also, look for him in the upcoming film Unforgettable, by Warner Brothers, starring Rosario Dawson and Katherine Heigl. 


ALLISON PAIGE ("Sara")

From the moment Allison Paige came into this world her parents always knew she was destined to be a performer. Born in Pittsburgh, PA Paige found her love for the stage at age 3. Growing up as dancer and ballerina she got her first taste for acting at 17 when she shot a pilot for Disney.  Since then she has been building her resume in television and film by becoming a chameleon in both comedy and drama.  Paige is poised to become a rising leading lady with her classic hollywood looks, depth, empathy, and vulnerability.  All while still being able to transform into characters that make us laugh, with her dry sarcasm, whit, neurotic tendencies, and fearless commitment to the story. 

 Most recently Paige spent the last 2 1/2 years recurring on NBC’s "Days of Our Lives" as the trouble making and damaged Bev Walters.  Also, in that time she has starred in such films as "The Wrong Side of Right" opposite Lea Thompson and James Remar, “Dragula" an Adam Shankman short, and most recently  "The Wedding Party” a 105 minute comedy feature that was completed in one consecutive shot.  Also, you may have seen her as sassy Jenny Deluca from Jersey on ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy” , or as the lovable Gigi Darcy in Emmy Award Winning web-series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, "Pemberley Digital: Domino”, and “Welcome to Sandition.” 


CHRISTINA MOORE (“Cassie”)

Christina Moore has been a very successful actress for many years.  In ESX Entertainment’s “Dog Lover,” Moore is the bad guy, a role she very much enjoys.  Along with acting, Moore has recently taken a turn as a writer/ producer. “Running Wild” starring Sharon Stone and Tommy Flanagan will be released later this year. Moore co-penned the movie, produced it and stars as Stone’s sister.  “Running Wild” will be released in the fall of 2016.

 In the Spring of 2016, starred in the NBC pilot, “Marlon” starring Marlon Wayans as well as played the lead in a digital series from Ron Howard & Brian Grazer’s company New Form Digital entitled, “Mr. Student Body President.” It will be released on Verizon Wireless (Go90) this fall. 

Moore has also been juggling recurring roles on HBO’s “True Blood” where she played a sexy shape shifter, on The DISNEY Channel’s #1 hit show, “Jessie,” where she made some comedy magic as Christina Ross, an ex-super model - turned fashion mogul, modern day working mother (she is expected to appear on “Bunk’d,” the “Jessie” spin off, this winter), and on ABC’s “Last Man Standing” where Moore continues to take a turn as wacky Aunt April who breezes in to torture Tim Allen’s Mike Baxter with her hippie liberal ways. 

Previously, Moore was a regular on TNT’s "Hawthorne" (Executive Producer Jada Pinkett Smith, Pinkett Smith plays Christina Hawthorne), where she starred as Candy Sullivan, a nurse with a unique sense of duty. Moore also starred on the CW’s new hit series “90210,” as Tracy Clark the sexy mama /"Beverly Hills MILF," of sexy daughter Naomi Clark (AnnaLynne McCord).

Furthermore, audiences will also remember Moore from other popular television programs like ABC TV’s comedy series “Hot Properties,” as ‘Emerson,” co-starring opposite Sofia Vergara as well as “The Bad Girl’s Guide,” inspired by the national best-selling book series The Bad Girl's Guide by Cameron Tuttle, and regular roles on "MadTV" and "Hyperion Bay."  She had recurring roles on NBC’s “Bad Judge,” and"That 70's Show," (she played the second Laurie Forman).


CREW BIOS

Alex Ranarivelo – DIRECTOR/WRITER

Alex graduated at the top of his class with a B.F.A in film directing from the Art Center College of Design. His thesis film was a 35mm short film about street-racing called "The Last Race", based on his experiences as a street-racer. After college he continued to develop his writing and directing skills with 5 more short films in different genres, each playing in festivals and winning multiple awards.

He made his feature debut with a rough and tumble romantic comedy from a guy's perspective: "Knuckle Draggers". It played at multiple festivals and placed in Best of Fest's top 10 comedies of 2009.

Alex went back to his street-racing roots for his second feature "Born To Race", a teen sports film centered around a father/son story. He co-wrote the script with another Art Center Alum and was hired to direct it. That same year, he won the Grand Prize at the Slamdance Screenwriting Competition with a revenge-thriller called "The Girl With No Name". Alex followed up "Born to Race" with a sequel, "Born to Race: Fast Track" starring Brett Davern and Beau Mirchoff from MTV's "Awkward".

In 2014, Alex directed "The Wrong Side of Right" for ESX Entertainment. Impressed by his versatility as a storyteller, he was hired to direct 4 more films for the company, most notably "The Wizard", starring Jon Voight and William Fichtner.


Ali Afshar- – WRITER/ PRODUCER

Raised in Northern California, Ali Afshar grew up in the green Sonoma Mountains of Petaluma. His passion for speed and entertaining was evident at a very early age as his family could often find him racing motorcycles and horses at the age of 5 on their 200—acre ranch. The son of Eskandar Afshar and Leila Kasra Afshar, he is the youngest of 3 brothers. His father is an international agricultural business man and his mother was a world renowned Persian poet and lyricist before her passing in 1989. In addition to his parents guiding influence, Ali experienced a vast variety of life experiences following in the footsteps of his two older brothers, Pasha and John. He grew up competing in Break-Dancing & Bicycle Freestyle events all over Northern California. Once he tasted freedom with his drivers license at age 16, Ali won his first High School Challenge for drag racing at Sears Point International Raceway, representing Casa Grande High School. Through high school, Ali could be found almost every week at the Sears Point Raceway competing in the Wednesday Night Drags, racing his classic 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. If he wasn’t racing he was in wrestling practice honing his skills. Ali was an outstanding wrestler and set numerous school records. His diligence paid off and made him a California State Finalist in 1991.

 2010 brought Ali back his producing hat and created his first full length feature titled “Born To Race”. A teen action film best described as “Fast and Furious meets Friday Night Lights”! Ali tapped into his rich auto racing history and brought dozens of sponsors to support him in this film including, Subaru of America, NHRA, Pep Boys, Injen and more! Ali also had a supporting role in this film and played a character very close to home.. Himself! Born to Race was released in foreign markets in 2011 and in the spring of 2012 in North America.

In 2014, Ali partnered with Forrest Lucas of the Lucas Oil empire, including the Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl Stadium “Lucas Oil Stadium”, Lucas Cattle and MAV TV, to create a slate of 4 social issue drama feature films. The first one to be released is “The Dog Lover.”  “American Wrestler: The Wizard”, a story best described “The Karate Kid” meets “Remember the Titans” with a touch of Rocky will be released in the Autumn of 2016.   The third film “Running Wild”, fourth “Pray For Rain” and fifth "DIRT" are currently in post production.

Ali also has the features “The Californias/Rebel Yell”, “The One That Got Away” and “The Fallen Prince” in various stages of development and a TV series based on the “Born to Race” film franchise.

Ali currently resides in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles and is splitting his time between Acting, Producing and Racing. Stay tuned in for the most updated information from Ali, by regularly visiting the following websites!


Forrest Lucas – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Forrest Lucas is the Founder and Chair of Protect the Harvest, a group he started in 2011 to assist in the fight for the rights of America’s farmers, ranchers, animal owners and sportsmen/sportswomen.

Forrest is a resident of the state of Indiana. Born and raised in Ramsey, Indiana as the oldest of four, he comes from humble beginnings.

In his teens, Forrest went to work on a cattle farm in Harrison County, IN to support his family. After graduating from high school, he took several jobs, from working in a muffler factory to hauling loads in a dump truck.

Only three years removed from high school, he purchased his first semi-truck and began long-haul trucking. This led to him purchasing more semi-trucks and even a convenience store throughout the next decade.

Forrest met his wife Charlotte in 1979 and the couple later had a son, Morgan, whom they raised along with the children they both had from previous relationships.

The most notable of these ventures can be found in the sporting world. Lucas Oil Stadium has been the home of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League for nearly a decade, and the Lucas Oil name is prominent in the world of racing, with tracks located in California, Missouri, and Indianapolis, as well as the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.

But Forrest’s passion for causes near and dear to his heart are not limited solely to the business world. He has dedicated his resources to protecting America’s prosperity.

Having had a lifelong association with agriculture, it was natural for Forrest to found Protect the Harvest in 2011. Protect the Harvest, under Forrest Lucas’ guidance, continues the fight against animal rights groups who want to end meat consumption, halt consumer access to affordable food, eliminate all hunting practices, and outlaw rodeos, circuses and pet ownership.

Besides staying busy with his many business ventures and attending dozens of sporting events throughout the year, Forrest enjoys spending time with his family and taking care of his cattle ranch in Missouri.


CAST & CREW

Director

Alex Ranarivelo

Writers

Ali Afshar, Alex Ranarivelo

Producer

Ali Afshar

Executive Producer

Forrest Lucas

Edited By

Brett Hedlund

Director of Photography

Rueben Steinberg

Costume Designers

Ashley Michaelsen, Teal Holland

Casting By

Brittani Smith

Production Designer

Will King

Music By

Jamie Christopherson

Sara Gold

Allison Paige

Daniel Holloway

James Remar

Liz Holloway

Lea Thompson

Will Holloway

Jayson Blair

Jackie McConnell

Sherry Stringfield

Trevor Hardy

Michael King

Cassie Sumpter

Christina Moore

Raymond Preciado

Ali Afshar

Abigail Holloway

Annabelle Kavanagh

Mrs. Gold

Kathleen Wilhoite

Mr. Gold

Matthew Glave

Scott Joiner

Phillip Boyd

Vincent Bogel

Cullen Douglas

Pete Morton

Seth Coltan

Brad Powell

Robert Merrill

Hannah

Ashley Michaelsen

Harley Tanner

Brando Eaton

Jace Tanner

David Coussins

Michael Ames

Ashley Parker Angel

Prosecutor Tim Landon

Scott Manuel Johnson

Judge

George Maguire

Sheriff

Alex Robertson

Deputy 1

Ajani Perkins

Deputy 2

Nick Mavrakis

Linda

April Adams

Jack

Atticus Todd

Katie Simpson

Courtney Hope Turner

Dr. Reddick

Mike Lutz

Dr. Laughton

Lindsay Leopold

Dr. Dale

Karen Khan

News Anchor

Stephen Rider

Pet Shop Girl

Shannon Matesky

Juror #1

Jeff Fowler

One-eyed Puppy Mill Dog

One-Eyed Joe

Delilah

Finn