Walk The Dog

Walk The Dog is a short psychological drama about Leah, a repressed and bullied young woman drowning under the burden of caring for her emotionally fragile family. Following a bitter encounter with her troubled sister, Leah makes a desperate wish that mysteriously comes true, leading her to confront the turmoil she harbours over her own, and others', failing mental health.

  • David Terry
    Director
    The Yorkshire Vet (Documentary series, Channel 5), Junior vets (Documentary series, CBBC), Animal Cops (Documentary series, Animal Planet), Safari Vet School (Documentary series, ITV)
  • David Terry
    Writer
    Junior Vets (Documentary series, CBBC), Safari Vet School (Documentary series, ITV)
  • Robert Neave
    Producer
  • Amy Lunn
    Key Cast
    "Leah"
  • Bethany O'Halloran
    Key Cast
    "Rachel"
  • Amelia Stephanides
    Key Cast
    "Rebecca"
  • Heather Kelly
    Key Cast
    "Sarah"
  • Ruth Bennett
    Key Cast
    "Dinah"
  • Sam Todd
    Key Cast
    "Jacob"
  • Jon Richard Bennett
    Key Cast
    "The Man"
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 18, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, 1080 25p, PMW300
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16;9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Flicks International Film Festival (monthly edition)
    London
    United Kingdom
    May 19, 2020
    Winner of Best Drama and Best Song
Director Biography - David Terry

David has been working in the television industry for 19 years and has worn many hats in that time. From hunting criminals with the Los Angeles Police Department for Animal Planet, to helping actors sensitively portray hard-hitting story lines on Emmerdale at ITV, and from casting shiny floor entertainment shows to creating new TV successes for some of the world's biggest broadcasters, David has pretty much done it all.

But for the last 10 years David has focused on producing, directing, developing and shooting wildlife documentaries, animal programming and blue light series. If he's directing celebrities to help capture a giraffe on a new flagship show (Safari Vet School, ITV) or filming a Great Dane with diarrhoea at the vets for a high volume series (The Yorkshire Vet, Channel 5), then he's in his element. Constructing emotive, engaging and beautiful narratives in unpredictable circumstances is David's forte and he loves telling a story in the heat of the moment: be that as the police chase down the bad guys (K9 Cops, Animal Planet), as the kitten finds a forever home (Junior Vets, CBBC) or in life saving emergency surgery (Animal Cops Houston, Animal Planet).

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Walk The Dog, the fictional tale of a young woman (Leah) who wishes everyone away, is based on my own experience of battling a period of declining mental health. Drawing upon feelings of emptiness, confusion, monotony, responsibility, anger and apathy I felt at the time, writing Leah’s story helped me examine and process my own problems, as well as my attitude to issues of abandonment and attempted suicide in my family.

These thoughts and feelings are not unique to me but are universal experiences sadly common to many people the world over, however it felt pertinent and personal for me to turn the script to screen, to make my short film debut encapsulating the journey of despair and delight, wishes and regrets that I had been on.

Being my first fiction film, I found the production and post-production processes a huge learning curve. One difficulty was marrying the demands of screen storytelling, such as clarity and consistency, with the subtly odd and confused world the film creates. Leah lives in the real world of greenery and sunshine where bullies sometimes speak the truth and sometimes good people don’t do enough to rectify a bad situation, but as the audience we experience the world through Leah’s eyes. As someone battling her own mental health issues Leah’s view of the world is skewed; noisy, intense, muddled yet routine and devoid. Some of the elements scripted and shot to highlight this blurring of the two perspectives, such as characters using props they had previously discarded, ended up looking more like continuity errors than purposefully crafted direction, so most of them ended up not making the final cut of the film.

Another difficultly was the use of subtly and symbolism. As a writer and director I love intrigue and don’t like to spoon feed audiences everything, thus giving viewers room to interpret or imagine things for themselves. However, I’ve found that on screen it’s very easy to be too subtle and have some of your backstory or characterisation missed. I wonder how many audience members will notice that there are no knives in the kitchen or that Rachel doesn’t wear a school tie due to the dangers they could present her? And how many people will clock that Leah feels alienated from her mother as Rachel is clearly the favourite with the mother wanting to brush Rachel’s hair despite Leah’s hair needing to be brushed? Will anyone pick up on the symbolism of the dog leash and the emotional restraints Leah places on herself? Much of this subtly and symbolism is still in the film but did I do enough as a director to point to viewers toward them?

Another frustration is one typical to all film productions I imagine, and that’s constraints of time and budget. Initially I had envisioned Walk The Dog to be a much longer story that further explored the relationship of Leah and Rachel and expanded on the role of Levi and The Man in the woods and his mysterious prophetic conversation. I would have also liked to explore more themes such as mental health and religion, but time and money only go so far so I had to keep the story and production to the bare elements of Leah’s story.

Where I feel the film has succeeded is in capturing a brilliant performance from lead actress Amy Lunn as Leah. Amy perfectly evokes the feelings of monotony and emptiness as Leah mourns her formerly happy family, and Amy soon turns those emotions to delight and eventually despair when Leah realises her wish for a world free of her sister, her family and responsibility is ultimately empty. I feel Amy’s ability to portray the regret that Leah harbours over her dealing of Rachel's attempted suicide whilst contemplating her own future on the beach are deeply moving and believable.