Final Red Dog film pays tribute to a beloved kelpie

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It went on to win best film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.

Koko won best dog in a foreign film at the Golden Collar Awards in Los Angeles, was the subject of a portrait by Adam Cullen, with Woss, that was a finalist for the Archibald Prize and has a medical centre named after him and a statue at Perth’s Dogs’ Refuge Home.

Koko, who starred in the hit Red Dog, is now the subject of his own film which will be in cinemas later this year.

Koko, who starred in the hit Red Dog, is now the subject of his own film which will be in cinemas later this year.Credit:Good Dog

A year after Red Dog ‘s success, Koko died of congestive heart disease.

Seven years on, Woss has finished shooting a long-planned film about the kelpie star that will screen in cinemas later this year.

Koko: A Red Dog Story is described as a warm-hearted documentary with recreated elements that will be the final part of a trilogy that also included Red Dog: True Blue in 2016.

With producer Nelson Woss, Koko prepares to meet his fans while promoting Red Dog.

With producer Nelson Woss, Koko prepares to meet his fans while promoting Red Dog. Credit:Good Dog

While Kriv Stenders directed the first two films, the new film is being directed by Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce, who made the 2017 Japanese samurai mockumentary Top-Knot Detective.

Cast and crew from the first two films, including Stenders, appear in the new film, which is narrated by Jason Isaacs, who starred in the second instalment.

“The new film is a telling of Koko’s journey,” Woss says. “It shows the period when he was a show dog, when he trained to be an actor, when he shot the film and when he went on the road like a professional actor and promoted the film and all the people whose lives intersected with him along the way.”

Woss sees Koko as a celebration of the relationship between humans and dogs and is calling for fans to supply photos of themselves and their canine companions for what he calls a key visual effects shot in the film and a montage for the poster.

Koko with Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor in Red Dog.

Koko with Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor in Red Dog.Credit:Good Dog

The filmmakers have more than 2000 photos after a Facebook call-out so far but want more.

“It’s a film for dog lovers,” Woss says. “It’s about the connection we all have with our special canine friends and it’s a celebration of a very unusual and extraordinary dog, Koko.

“He had an amazing temperament and an ability to be at the right place at the right time to have an amazing life. For a moment in time, he was our Lassie or our Rin Tin Tin.

The original idea was for a trilogy of red, blue and yellow films – with the final instalment focussing on a military dog – but that plan has changed.

Koko on the red carpet from Koko: A Red Dog Story.

Koko on the red carpet from Koko: A Red Dog Story.Credit:Good Dog

“I can’t say this is ‘yellow’ but it dovetails nicely into the three films and has a very strong connection with the first film,” Woss says. “This is the final one.”

Photos can be emailed to kokopictures@gmail.com.

Garry Maddox is a Senior Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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