Red kelpie Koko who plays the part of Red Dog in the movie Red Dog arrived in Byron Bay yesterday afternoon with film producer Nelson Woss.
Red kelpie Koko who plays the part of Red Dog in the movie Red Dog arrived in Byron Bay yesterday afternoon with film producer Nelson Woss. Jay Cronan

Red Dog star hits town

THERE is little doubt that a red kelpie will be the star of the Bryon Bay Writers’ Festival today, and the author and producer who brought him international fame won’t be far behind.

Koko, the four-legged actor that plays the red dog in the already critically acclaimed film of the same name, arrived in Byron yesterday exhausted from his long bus journey from Sydney after completing an extensive regional tour.

A true professional, he posed for The Northern Star leaving his owner and the film’s producer Nelson Woss to provide the words.

After producing a string of successful films like Ned Kelly in the United States, Woss came across a book of the true story written by Louis de Bernières of a dog befriending humans on his travel across north-west Western Australia.

After living in Los Angeles for 18 years Woss said he saw producing a film of the book as an opportunity to return home and optioned the screen rights in 2004.

“It was a good opportunity to come home and make a movie in my home state,” an equally exhausted Woss said. “I love dogs and if you like dogs you will probably love the movie.”

“It’s unusual in that it’s a very broad and accessible film, similar in tone to Crocodile Dundee and Babe. Audiences seem to love it of all ages and we seem to be very lucky in getting strong critical reviews as well.”

Shortly after buying the film rights, Woss said he found his star Koko, who was a show dog from Victoria, and arranged for a trainer to spend two years teaching him the tricks of the trade.

And Koko shined when he auditioned, which can be seen at the film’s website.

Red Dog will premiere in Byron tonight, followed by a question and answer session with the book’s author.

“It will be the first time Louis has caught up with the dog since the last time he saw him on the set while we were shooting,” Woss said.

De Bernieres will also talk in an open session with festival Candida Baker at 1.30pm today.

 

RED DOG SCREENING

When: Tonight, from 7-9pm.

Where: Dendy Byron Bay Cinemas.

Q&A: The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the author of the book Red Dog, Louis de Bernieres.

Tickets: Are $18, or $15 for members of the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre, Club Dendy and festival pass ticket holders.



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