Thank Dog!

In 1991 in the Deep South, a working-class lesbian (Jayleen, 19) and upper-class gay boy (James, 19) meet and attempt to beat the devil out of themselves by joining a pray-away-the-gay church that promises salvation from the demonic clutches of homosexuality.

  • Nanci Gaglio
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  • Country of Origin:
    United States
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  • Knight Fellow at Sundance
    Philadelphia, PA
    February 7, 2015
  • The PAGE International Screenplay Awards
    Los Angeles
    July 15, 2023
    Quarter Finalist (top 10%)
  • Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards
    Los Angeles
    July 15, 2023
Writer Biography - Nanci Gaglio

Writer / Director Nanci Gaglio's short film "I Saw What I Saw" will world premiere at LA Shorts in July 2023. She began her career as a performer and filmmaker in lower Manhattan, then earned an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nanci is a Sundance Knight Fellow (with THANK DOG!) and writer / director of short films that have screened in over 150 festivals combined. THANK DOG! is a quarter-finalist with The PAGE International Screenplay Competition (July, 2023) and the script is a semi-finalist with LA International Screenplay Awards (July, 2023).

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Writer Statement

Thank Dog! is an absurd comedy / drama that presents an inner struggle to fit in and feel loved by adhering to what others say and feel you must be.

I focus on stories featuring outsiders seeking a home; people who aren't believed. Underdogs who need to be heard. And people finding themselves stuck in strange lands. Absurd or dark comedy, suspense and drama (with a little horror) are my genre. I specialize in mixing genre and style for truly original storytelling. Happy to explore & chat about how structure dictates that :-)

I like to write / direct films that if you turned off the sound, you'd still be able to tell what was happening.

This is my artistic vision:
I let the pictures tell the story as much as possible. This story is crude in many ways, but it presents a raw truth. It's a tender-hearted love story served in an absurdist tone.

I love opposites. From James and Jayleen's socio-economic opposites to their inner personal worlds where she has acceptance, but deep shame, and he has no shame, but just wants to please and be accepted.

These desires to change one's nature is the engine of the story.

Jayleen's dogs are her subconscious. They love unconditionally just as she and Tara did, until she learned it was wrong according to God. The dogs will always mirror Jayleen's subconscious, in a simple, true canine nature.

James is meticulous. He's crisp and jelled, smells of cologne, and appears perfectly put together in his gender. He lives in a McMansion. His truck is almost pretty, and everything is clean with a lustre. Jayleen has the opposite: dingy and worn, a non-gendered grandparent. A disabled brother, a mom who collects food stamps. Jayleen wears sports clothes, and doesn't own jewelry - until she joins the congregation. She and Tara were always accepted as best friends until they weren't, and this was the surprise awakening for Jayleen. She didn't realize it was all wrong.

James and Jayleen connect on a simple innocent truth. They loved and were heartbroken - don't quite understand. And now they have to change that part of themselves. And through that difficult journey is the love story.