Taking Hollywood By Storm

The behind-the-scenes story of Hollywood's beloved iconic dogs and the two men who trained them -- Rudd and Bob Weatherwax.

  • Gary Lester
    Director
    Safe Haven: The Warsaw Zoo, Our Forever Friends
  • Robert Weatherwax
    Producer
    New Lassie TV Show, Back to the Future, Big Jake
  • Gary Lester
    Producer
    Astro-Zombies M4: Invaders from Cyberspace
  • Richard Lester
    Producer
    Astro-Zombies M4: Invaders from Cyberspace
  • Robert Weatherwax
    Key Cast
    "Himself"
    New Lassie TV Show, Back to the Future, Big Jake
  • Temple Grandin
    Key Cast
    "Herself"
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    36 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 1, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16.9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Best Message International Film Festival
    Maharashtra
    India
    September 26, 2019
    World Premiere
    Best Documentary
  • Treasure Coast International Film Festival
    Port St. Lucie, Florida
    United States
    March 21, 2020
    North American Premiere
  • Reel Cinema Fest
    Lombard (Chicago suburb)
    United States
    April 26, 2020
    Best Documentary
  • Royal Society of Television & Motion Picture Awards
    Kolkata, West Bengal
    India
    June 10, 2022
    Award Winner
  • Symbiotic Film Festival
    Kyev
    Ukraine
    June 16, 2022
    Ukraine
    Best Director
Director Biography - Gary Lester

Gary Lester holds an associate of science degree in photography from Daytona Beach Community College, a bachelor’s degree in professional photography from the University of Central Florida, and a graduate certificate in Visual Arts from Harvard.

Gary’s film debut as an actor occurred in 2001 when he appeared in Flamingo Rising on the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Gary’s list of award-winning documentary films is extensive.
One of his favorites, Eyewitness to History, is a World War II documentary featuring Armin Lehmann, who was one of the last surviving members of Hitler’s bunker. This film won Best Documentary at the Daytona Beach Film Festival and has screened throughout the world, including a major film festival in Busan, South Korea, The Treasure Coast International Film Festival, and the Non-Violence International Film Festival in Ontario, Canada.

In 2009, Gary released his blockbuster Holocaust film – Safe Haven: The Warsaw Zoo, which had its world premiere on August 8, 2009 in Hollywood, California. It captured an unprecedented seven Crystal Reel Awards from the Florida Motion Picture & Television Association.

In 2009, it was broadcast on Israel 10 Television on National Remembrance Day throughout Israel. It has been broadcast with Hebrew and Russian sub-titles for nine years on Israeli national television.

In June, 2010, Safe Haven received the prestigious Best Documentary Short from the Los Angeles Cinema of Hollywood Festival. In 2011, it received the Best Documentary Award from the GIAA Film Festival in Manhattan.

From 2009-2011, Gary worked as second unit director and assistant director for legendary producer/director Ted V. Mikels in his last two Astro-Zombies sequels: Astro-Zombies M3: Cloned and Astro-Zombies M4: Invaders From Cyberspace.

In 2012, Gary worked as second unit director for a Spanish horror production – Corpse-Grinders 3.

In 2017, Gary released his award-winning horror short, Lost Pet.
His most recent project in 2019, Taking Hollywood by Storm, is a feature-length documentary starring Bob Weatherwax, owner and trainer of Lassie.

Gary is currently the host of Richard & Gary's Incredible Stories podcast.

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Director Statement

Film-making truly nourishes the soul. It is the ultimate in artistic expression.