Still Life With Animated Dogs

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To purchase a copy of STILL LIFE WITH ANIMATED DOGS, contact the filmmakers at sandras@comcast.net.

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10/31/2007
carol

The dog who saved my life was sleeping at my feet as I stopped working on a piece of writing and focused on "Still Life with Animated dogs" that was playing in the background. I was mesmerized. As I watched, I was compelled to keep my toe touching Tucker Seamus Eliot's fur, willing him to share this remarkable experience. How can something be all at once so delightful, tragic, poignant and rich? Dogs have always been the deepest joy of my heart, but suddenly, animation is pulling that same raw joy into my throat that in the past only two dogs wrestling with teeth clicking abandon has been able to do. This art, these pencil strokes brilliantly defining life with such subtlety and accuracy, here is a new form of joy I've never experienced before. I'm currently studying Thomas Merton. Fierlinger has captured in this short film what Merton attempted to express in volumes of writings, that experiencing the connections between creatures and creation leads to the creator. I can hardly go back to my "very important" piece of writing tonight that now seems so trivial and irrelevant. I am changed by this lovely work. Thank you Paul and Sandra and John.
10/31/2007
D Robertson

Still Life with Annimated Dogs by Paul was a touching piece. A sweet surprise this evening. Thank you for offering it.
3/22/07
Ronnie Starbird

Really to me, About the mean dog breeding i really think there is no such thing as a mean dog its just how you raise the dog. If you raise the dog with happiness and kindness and have fun and play with them they will be a kind dog. But if you are mean and spiteful and don't have nothing to do with it the dog will have a vengeful mind and will be bad in order to get attention. So thats just my description on how dogs are. And thats what i think their is no such thing as a mean dog.
1/19/07
Diana Steele

I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your beautiful gift with the rest of us--it was by sheer luck that I came across Still Life with Animated Dogs on KCET a couple of nights ago, and I will be forever grateful. I was sincerely touched by both the inspiring, honest insight into the role that dogs share in our lives and impressed the brilliant and expressive animation. Thank you.
1/16/07

I happened upon this film completely by accident, and I was overjoyed by it. What a thoughtful film. It was such a treat to see such perceptive and intelligent insights into the human condition, our connection with animals, and the importance of nature. My compliments to Fierlinger
11/6/06
Dominick Johnson
Altoona FL.

I really agree with Paul because these dogs should not be held responciable for the things that they do wrong because they are very intelligent animals and I think we should take good care of them

10/30/06
Celia

I too had a dog who could read my intentions from some imperceptible signal... I deliberately gave no physical clue that it was time to go for a walk but just thinking the thought was enough. She always knew... and she always knew right from wrong somehow. She did not like for people to have conflicts or verbal disagreements and would become upset over stupid, selfish human arguments. Seeing this phenomenon captured in the film confirmed what had been merely a suspicion that Samantha was telepathic. There simply is no other explanation. Samantha died too young of either of brain tumor or myasthenia gravis. I was convinced it was MG, although her doctors were not, but what did they know? Maybe her special ability did come from an abnormality in her brain. We will never know, but, the last thing she saw was the people she knew and loved and the last thing she heard was me telling her how much I loved her. We helped her to pass away peacefully without pain. It breaks my heart to this day.
I lost my soul mate, the one who understood everything about me. There were many times I thought about leaving our home because of circumstances that I was unhappy with, but Samantha was the glue that held our family together. It was for her that I stayed and she was not wrong. She taught me the meaning of commitment and love and how darn hard it can be to not put my own selfish needs before the needs of a loved one. What gives me the right or the privilege to say that another will die so that I can live? I know that causing Ike to die must be extremely painful to live with; however, I am more sympathetic to the dog than to his owner.

10/30/06
Kris Beattie

A poetic, subtle masterpeice of lo-fi animation, thankyou for broadcasting this captivatingly simple yet endearing bit of animal/ human psychology. It will make you get up at 3a.m. to hug your mutt....

10/27/06
Karen Lehman

I was so moved by this film!
i have always had dogs, even when to do so has been totally impractical, so I understood at once Mr. Fierlinger's similar need.
I experienced my throat tightening up when he had to kill Ike in order to leave Prague, but of course, he had to do it to live himself! Ike would no doubt have understood.
What a wonderful film, thank you!

6/2/06
McKenzie

Shag is a mutt we were given.He was a good gaurd dog.But he was always on a chain.So we gav him to my Paon his farm.Now he can run be and be lazy.
But to get to my point.Yesterday he barked at an emty car the people were visiting my Granny!!

3/6/06
Jim

Paul & Sandra;
Thank you so much for this piece.
Art is where you find it, and Grace is when it finds you.
I still have this site marked after all this time. that in itself is amazing, I am touched by that work and those four legged people. I still remember, Happy Jack & Rastus & Tyke.
From my childhood back on the farm. Each one of them helped to grow me up into a adult in thier own special way. I do think that you can tell the quality of a man in how he treats his animals. That can be considered a fact, watch for yourself and see if it isn't true.
My best to you and yours for the future.
Peace, be cool.

10/24/05
Shyann

I love dogs!I want to start a dog farm when I'm older, but.....that's gonna be a while. Even though I'm jst 10yrs old i wrestle, fight, feed, and love my dog R.J. When R.J. bites me I'll bite him back to show him how it feels! lol!! Everyone thinks since I'm 10 I can't look after anything or do anything, it gets me soo mad!!>:!! I look after my dogs by myself. I have 4 dogs R.J, Bauz, Gidget, and Tina. Tina is a chuauwa, we saved her life. Her x-owner beat her. We've had her a long time. She's just getting use to us, but she's still afraid of her shadow. I feel so sorry for her.

4/13/05
Yvonne R. de Miranda
Dear Paul and Sandra,

Your DVD with both films arrived this morning and I couldn't wait till dark to see it, although I will, again tonight. Such a strange mixture of experiencing these truly uplifting videos, while waves of sweeping sadness passed through me at the same time, during many sequences. Your humanity prevails in all you do. There is so much I share in your connection to animals/nature. Your personal story is very powerful. These wonderful, animated dogs are fully alive. Your drawings are totally magical. You are masters of animation, and you have chosen a sensitive and gifted composer in Avarese, who is the perfect musician for these works.

Thank you for giving this viewer an intimate connection to the artists, as well as to our amazing planet with its many life forms. The incredible dogs, and their loving human(s) have left a lasting impression. I look forward to many more productions and will treasure them all.

2/20/05
jenna kuiper
Missoula, MT
It's been about 2 months since I saw "still life with animated dogs" Even now, at odd moments in the middle of the night, I am left recollecting the impact of the short film. While the animated film gracefully portrays the beautiful connection between animals and people, what I find most interesting is the writing and the artists poignant ability to capture and not ignore the inevitable dark side of life. My painting teacher talks about beauty being a balance between dark and light. If this truth crosses over into film, and I believe it does, "Still Life with Animated Dogs" is in perfect harmony.

Thank you for your touching film.

2/14/05
Maryellen
I can't begin to express, nor do I understand what moved me so much about this film. I turned it on while it was already in progress and was mesmerized. I beleive so very much in the importance of dogs in all aspects of our life and how meaningful they are in my life in particular. All my most cherished memories connect to my dogs throughout the years and I am a firm beleiver in the spiritual importance a dogs presence in ones life. This film touched something in me and I I hope to get a copy to share with friends.

1/10/05
Phil
I have a theory of the Uberhund, a universal dog-spirit. The name for that theory may be a poorly constructed joke, but I really do feel a reconnection with my dog, Gus, whenver I look into a pair of canine eyes. And when Spinnaker woke and stretched in the film, it was as though I was in the room with Gus again.

This film is a wonderful expansion on the bumpersticker that always makes me smile: Help me to be the person that my dog believes me to be.

1/10/05
Mr. Fierlinger has expressed the relationship of I-Thou (Martin Buber), an exclusive relation between people, animals, nature, a landscape, an idea. I knew when I was watching "Still Life with Animated Dogs" that I was standing on holy ground.

1/10/05
Renee
I happened upon the last 20 minutes of the program- I was very moved by it. I very recently had to have my young sweet beagle Daisy put to sleep- I think daily about how I loved her and she loved me. This program reminded me how wonderful our dogs are to each of us-in each dog special in their own way. They can have such a tremendous impact on our lives as Paul explains in his heartfelt story. Thank you so much!! It was excellent.

1/10/05
Carol
I enjoyed the simple and child-like appeal of the animation. My preference is towards art that strays from strict realism and allows more implication.

I believe that dogs and animals have their own thoughts and feelings. Though perhaps Paul F. indicated that he was anthropomorphizing, I had a dog who I swear could smile (or maybe she was gritting her teeth).

My co-worker's dog even seems to make a display about having his own will, and at times obstinately going against the immediate wish of his owner.

Mostly I could identify with the theme of connection with god through nature and living things. I have read of similar ideas in nature writers like Edward Abbey, called "green hedonism".

Thanks for a good story with humorous insight and without preachiness.

1/10/05
destiny salome
I just finished watching the program, and I can truthfully say that's it's the best thing coming out from a television screen that my eyes have seen in years. I tuned in to the T.V station to sit and watch something educational with my six moth old daughter. Never did I think we were about to receive a gift that would mark our way of life. It has showed me different forms of seeing life and most importantly has made me value and respect more other living creatures on earth. I am starting to comprehend the strong connection that humans and animals share, and I love it. In my case thanks to this animation from this day on I will walk with one more special feeling and bond with mother earth. This was a very important teaching and I will help me out in my journey to be connected to god. Thank You!

1/7/05
I caught the "still life with animated dogs" on early morning PBS. I thought is was a kids show but I hung in there for a moment without changing because I like the style of animation. All I can say is this show was splendid! I recently lost a dog to age after 14 years and this show reminded me of many of the good times we had. Bravo!!!

1/7/05
Mariana
It's the same with John, i didnt see the first half. As I was channel surfing, i came along pbs and i saw an animated show and i saw the sme type of dog mine is, so i got interested and started watching it. I really love the dogs, espeacialy Roosevelt because he was so smart and on-the-look-out for things. I also loved the real out-look of the story, about Paul. The whole story and animation reflects the dogs.

Thank You for teaching me the meaning of love and life for specific things. Thanks Paul.

1/7/05
Juliet
Still Life With Animated Dogs was the best short film I have ever seen! At first, I was about to change the channel but I decided to give it a chance and discovered Mr. Fierlinger's masterpiece. His thoughts on nature and how we can connect as humans was so touching. The most memorable and important line was the last. Truly a film I will never forget.

1/5/05
john
that was a wonderful film! too bad i missed the first half. so i was wondering if there's some way i can get my hands on a copy of it? thanks. it's wonderful work you people are doing.

1/5/05
John Hewes
What an incredible piece of work! Not only is the artwork warm and appealing, but the narrative story is just as fascinating. While the story line might be simple, there is a lot more to said about the politics and ethical understandings of people and their dogs.

I intend to buy a copy of the video as soon as I can come up with the extra cash. It is one I would welcome into my home library!

1/5/05
Molly Hodges
Dear PBS, Thank you so much for Paul Fierlingers marvelous film. I am sending it to my father, who was originally from Czechoslovakia, and a dog lover.

1/5/05
This film is the epitomy of many unitarian universalist principals. It is wonderful to find affirmations of my own spirituality in such an entertaining and creative venue

1/5/05
Shari O'Keefe
I watched "Still Life With Animated Dogs" last night and tried to call everyone who matters to me to get their televisions on and watch, too. It was simply the most beautiful, poetic, inspiring, moving, creative piece of work I have seen in years. My dog and cat both died last year, and I had been thinking I would not replace them--easier not to have the responsibility. Man--was I off my rocker. There is nothing more important than what our pets teach us about just "being." Thank you to the Fierlingers.

1/5/05
I saw your video last night on pbs Duluth, MN., and loved it. Please keep me posted if others of your films will be on TV. I want to share with my dog-loving daughter in Minneapolis!

1/5/05
what a refreshing 1/2 hour. keep up the these bits of high quality animation. back in college we ofter were treated to suberb animation before the movies. this will awaken the larger public to insist on more , more , more.

1/5/05
LC
It's nice to see animation taken seriously and I enjoyed the first half of the show greatly. But who does a still life of a dog getting run over? Still Life left me depressed and overwhelmed by the negative. That was not what I wanted to see before going to bed that night.

1/5/05
roger dalrymple
beautifully animated with a wonderful story. bravo! my wife and I are as attached with our PWD's as you seem to be.

1/5/05
so my computer just went mad in the middle of my email to you. Not much more to say except thank you thank you for an amazing and very moving film.

1/5/05
Heather Massie
This film found me. I was glued to the TV following the adventures of Paul and Sandra's dogs. As someone who measures their remaining life in the terms of "I reckon I have so many labrador lives left in me" I found it beautiful, sad, thoughtful, true to life, funny and hopeful.

Re: Dogs who know when their owners are coming home...

I have a photo of our lovely chap, Bracken, waiting by the window for 'Dad' to come home. Because of Bill's hours Bracken cannot possibly ever rely upon an internal clock. However, when Bill is about 10/15 minutes away Bracken gets up on his 'viewing' sofa and once he does I know Bill is about to return.

For many years I also had a 3.45pm feline friend. I knew once I saw his baggy, tabby, shambling shape coming down the garden path it must be 3.45p.m. He never failed me.

With so much thanks. I felt a great sense of excitement and relief watching this film. It has helped me.

1/5/05
Katy Bowen
I found myself restless one night at about 4:00 am or so and came across your show. In a word, it was amazing. I would love to know when it will be airing again or how I could obtain a copy of this beautiful film. The animation was full of vivid sybolism and left me breathless. I truly appreciate you work and will be waiting to hear more from you.

1/5/05
Yva
What a story. Loved it. I too have a second dog now and cannot imagine life without my loving Beagle "Sacha". Thank you.

1/5/05
Chris
God, I totally understand where you're coming from. Without my dog, I too, would have lost myself. Cool stuff, peace out.

1/5/05
Melissa
I have been very disgusted in the quality of television. It is an endless sea of immorality and reality televsion. I just happened upon this animated movie and decided to watch because there was "nothing else on." I can't tell you of my deep appreciation and grattitude for having this movie. I think it was just the pure art, simplicity, and wisdom of it all. I currently do not have pets, but when I did, they were cats, so I have never had such a relationship with a dog. However, I have heard of relationships such as these, and to hear these tales was heartwarming, amusing, and just sheer delight! I was wondering why the animation seemed so primitive looking, but something about it had such a classical and facinating heir about it. Maybe the realism that comes from the animator's feelings and thoughts is what made it so real and intriguing. I need to see this again. I didn't give it my undivided attention as I should have. God bless you for making this!! It's the simple things and the profound and underappreciated truths in life that we need to see more of on tv in forms such as this!!!

1/5/05
Ms. Mac
I happened upon STILL LIFE WITH ANIMATED DOGS tonight and LOVED it. I am a dog lover, though I don't have one right now. Being of Czech heritage, my ears perked up when I heard "Prague".

I had a great laugh at the "Mollie-Mollie" lady. I once had a golden retreiver named Mollie, and she didn't very often come when called.

All in all a wonderful film. Wish it was longer.

1/5/05
christine and riley
We just happened to have the TV on when STILL LIFE WITH ANIMATED DOGS began. I stopped working on my project and, with Riley (beloved Spaniel), watched intently. Riley licked the tears from my cheeks.

Just as dogs tune in to us so well, this film was in tune with what is so badly needed now: Art that is about real experience and emotion, about the profound and the sublime. The easy sell and bottom line will continue to dictate much of the content of popular arts, and the damage and degradation will continue unless we become more vocal about what we like; by doing so we can begin to effect change. Barking here is a start! Atta-boys and Atta-girls to PBS and others showing quality, heartfelt programs like this one. GRRRRRRR to Disney and cynical others involved in delivering paying audiences to profit-makers using the most insidious possible means.

I'll continue to tell the good guys I respond to risk-taking, inspired creativity!--and buy from them. And I'll tell the others precisely why I won't support --or buy-- their formulaic and well-packaged products.

1/5/05
yvette strassburg
This was the best thing i have seen in such a long time. It made having a tv worth it!! What a sweet, sad, loving film this was! Please, are there anymore like it for us to enjoy?

thank you for your gift of art and sharing it with us

1/5/05
Lucinda Lai
Dakujem, Paul and Sandra for creating such a beautiful film. I loved it! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work in the near future.

11/5/04
What a wonderful film! Thank you!

11/5/04
Gaurav
Still Life with Animated Dogs was beautiful. Taped it in the middle of the night, watched it again during the day, and it's just amazing. I still plan to buy a tape as soon as I have the money.

10/15/04
Kimberly
I just happened upon your wonderful story. I, too, am a dog person and I have my own special story for every single dog that I have loved. Please, PLEASE! let me know when this will air again, because I have other dog people that truly need to see this wonderful, touching story. I also have to wonder if others saw the symbolisim in your drawings. I am hoping to see it again to visualize what I surely missed. Your story and artwork are amazing. Thank you so very, very much.

10/8/04
You're a special guy. Thanks!

7/12/04
Alla
I am a heavy user of Internet but this is my first time that I decided to write a review.

Yesterday, I was visiting my friend and when I wake up he said that my day I should start with some good movie. And he put a VCR of "Still life with animated dogs". I loved every aspect of the movie. I loved the animation, the plot and the dogs :)

Few years ago I stopped to watch TV. Just thought that it is a waste of time. I was able to satisfy my strive for " visual culture" with a combination of netflix and cinema. Well, now I am happy that there is still a quality films aired on a TV (it is just hard to find it in a pile of a junk ;) )

I'd love to show this movie to my friends in Israel and Russia. Are there any plans for translations and/or showing it there?

Thank you very much Sandra and Paul.

5/24/04
Thea Muller
Thank you Paul and PBS! Tonight I was watching a video recommended by several friends. They thought I'd love it because I am graphic novelist(comic book artist)and a 3D animator. The film just didn't grab me. As I shut it off the screen was filled with images of Paul's dogs. (PBS Sunday Independent Film broadcast, KQED). I laughed and cried. The work was so refreshing and meaningful. I so identified with Paul and his wonderful friends. I have three dogs at the moment and can't live without them.

4/12/04
David Purnell skyotter@aol.com
Minnesota
From an artistic/graphics perspective, I found Paul Fierlinger's style of animation -- in "Still Life With Animated Dogs" (broadcast on tpt Ch. 17 on 4/9/04) -- to be refreshing. I've done animation (both cel art & computer-generated), and therefore appreciate his work both technically and artistically. His animation has a vitality and immediacy that I find captivating -- a welcome artistic alternative to the slick commercial animation that has become the public's staple. Most people don't take the opportunity to attend animation film festivals, and see the invigorating creativity that is so abundant -- but that rarely gets seen by the public at large.

Beyond the artistry of Fierlinger's animation is the touching heart element that permeates the script and the account of his life. Watching the broadcast (fortuitously, I might add), I was spellbound.

As for communications between species, one of the early great books on this subject (late 1950's or early 1960's) was Boone's "A Kinship With All Life" -- a classic; very uplifting and inspiring. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home" by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake.

--David Purnell,
medical illustrator

4/6/04
Late one night, my sister was watching tv and i saw Still Life with an Animated Dog so i was like "what an odd program" but i kept watching. I felt many emotions while watching this and i thought it was very interesting. I feel i share a special bond with my dog, but this film was so emotional. Thank you.

11/26/03
Paul Fierlinger fala@comcast.net
Thanks, Alan and all of you for your wonderful support. Sandra and I have just completed another film for ITVS, this one on the subject of loneliness (there is a lonely man and dog story at the end :-) and hopefully this film, called A Room Nearby, will be aired in the next couple of months. We just delivered the film yesterday so we won't know the details of its future for a while.

For those of you who wrote about your love of art, I'd like to mention that this new film was all drawn "paperlessly", meaning with a Wacom tablet directly within the computer software -- also a brand new product for which we are beta-testers and which was released to the public just a week ago (both Mac and PC). If you want to know more, please e-mail me.

This column is a heart-warming experience for us, the likes of which we have never experienced before. The production of independent films can be at times a marathonic, lonesome experience with no sense of an audience at the end -- except for an opportunity such as this space, for which we are grateful to both ITVS/PBS and you, letter writers.

Regards,
Paul & Sandra Fierlinger

11/19/03
alan alaphrey@hotmail.com
i too am an artist, and am very often horribly depressed, i dont get along with many people, but dogs and most animals i've always been close to.

at the time i saw this film i was in an awful way, depressed and alone. thanks to the film maker, for sharing these stories with us, and remind me of whats importand in a companion, that the innocence of a dog is worh millions more than the trust of a man, and that the magic of life is there, and it goes far beyond people and the situations of the now.

thanks Paul :)

10/6/03
Amanda Edwards
I was in a friends dorm room the other night and we were heading to bed when we noticed the show on TV. We became instantly mesmerized, and watched nearly the entire thing with the sound off. The animation was interesting and kept us captivated. I liked how it was rough and sketchy, not so clean and perfected. Kudos for an awesome show!

10/2/03
Nancy Gennuso
Just read that you are the Wolf Around the House People! So Thank you twice. My husband (now deceased) and I bought the Wolf book when we were "courting". He was very large and had beard and mustache and my family believed him very much to be the Wolf. Of course, I am not the little old man (I am the little old lady) we had almost twenty years of a most wonderful mariage.

10/2/03
john
excellent program, one of the more pleasent programs i've seen recently

9/17/03
Ken Dranchek kdranchek@high.net
I watched SLWAD Sunday evening, September 14th. My wife and I had to put-down Ruby, our westie of 12 years, a few months ago. That was the worst day of my 53 years on this earth. Ruby was my first dog and we shared a special relationship. There's not a day goes by I don't think about her. I was touched and saddended by Paul's story. It helped me remember the good times Ruby and I had and the simple, unconditional love we shared.

8/14/03
I recently saw, loved and now own a copy of "Still Life With Animated Dogs". As an animal lover the story moved me, as an artist, the watercolor illustration/animation delighted my senses, and as a writer and fan of words, the narrated text moved me most of all. I think the really special aspect of this work is what was left unsaid and lurked between the lines.

8/12/03
Maxine Carlin
What an amazing animated adventure into my own dog-bonded mind via Still Life With Animated Dogs. For those of us who have that special ability to develop and nurture intense bonding traits with non- humans, this little film is a gem. The animation was also quite wonderful. I love the "sketchy" technique.

I saw it on KQED 8/1/03.

Thanks for the humor, the honesty, and wonderful insights relating to love and devotion. This is a film I will think about for a long time!

8/5/03
Rachel beastkid1@yahoo.com
Paul,
Thank you so much for sharing your "Still Life." It was incredibly touching on so many levels - I cried and made my dog come sit with me on the couch (he willingly obliged). The dog-human bond is amazing beyond comprehension, and you depicted it with grace and beauty. I hope you will grace us with more of your work! I cannot thank you enough.

7/28/03
Racheli Wallach
Dear Mr. Fierlinger
Today I was acquainted to your marvelous "SLWAD" in the Jerusalem Film Festival. It's one of those few gentle masterpieces that celebrate humanity and art. Thank you for aspiring ever so high and for succeding, to our great joy. Yours, Racheli.

5/6/03
Stacy Adams ferretlady.1@juno.com
Having worked in the veterinary and animal rescue area for many years, I was extremely touched by Paul Fierlinger's story and how each era of his life could be explained through the eyes of his dogs. His connection to their inner psyche is amazing and deffinateley touched my soul.

4/4/03
Still Life With Animated Dogs is a masterpiece in every since of the word. The undertones of the narration bleed into the animation so cohesively.. as to create a bond not only construed to the viewer.. but formed with the viewer. For this reason I found this program especially touching.. having owned and lost dogs in my life. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for Paul and his work in the future. Best of luck!
Sincerely,
Zac Simpson


3/17/03
roger marz rmarz@aol
I draw and paint and own a gordon setter(or vice versa). Still Life with animated dogs is wonderful? I saw it at 4 a.m. and laughed and cried. Do more!

3/17/03
Eve Khallayne7@aol.com
I think it is safe to assume that not many other 18 year olds were sitting at home watching PBS around 11:30 pm on the Saturday night I was. I saw your animated film, 'Still Life With Animated Dogs' and I was deeply touched both as an artist and as a person. As a young person studying art (much to my parent's dismay), I admit I have some apprehension about embarking on such a difficult path. Your story is truly a heartwarming one and you illustrated it so well. Your sketchy linework and beautiful watercolors created a genuine atmospheric quality which I agree is definately lacking in most animated films. I particuarly liked the remark 'When it comes to authority, get sneaky and do everything under the table', I can definately relate. Thank you for making your film, it was a treat.
Sincerely,
Eve Falci

2/19/03
Ros  <myshirose@yahoo.com>

I am writing to say, that Paul doesn't need to defend his action's in regard to having put Ike to sleep... Ike gave Paul a special gift, companionship, love, loyalty, and in the end, gave his own life to save his friend's life... You should find comfort in that Ike didn't know, he would be put down, and that he felt no pain, but quietly went to sleep, knowing he was loved... Every day many dog's are put down for no reason, just that they are not wanted by anyone... How cruel is that, and an example of our human failings to prevent such tragic, needless execution's of loyal, loving, companions... Ike lived a life of freedom, and love... He should be considered a hero, for having sacrificed his life, to save his friend's life.

2/12/03
Paul Fierlinger

This letter is in response to several queries about my treatment of Ike:

This is in After the so called Velvet Revolution in 1989, the newly elected president Vaclav Havel decreed that the list of former collaborators with the secret police must be kept secret, otherwise there would be serious danger of a bloodbath of vengeance among the Czech populace. A few years later this list was leaked to the press -- and a vast list it was. On it I found the names of six close friends whom I saw on an almost daily basis. I was close friends with Havel in those days, being former roommates from boarding school and one of those six people on the list was a mutual friend of mine
and Havel's who was a member of his cabinet for a short while. The point here is that no one could be trusted. This friend's father spent 25 years in
a communist concentration camp as a member of the CIA -- who would not trust his son?

If I had given away this dog, I would instantly become suspected of planning an escape -- we were all closely watched and my anti-communist sentiments were well known. I grew up during WW II in the U.S. and attempted to escape from Czechoslovakia at the age of 16 but was caught by the border guards. Ike and I were a fabled couple around Prague; no one had ever seen me without him, no matter where I went, because I had that trick of getting him into any public place.

Then there was the humanitarian matter towards the dog. He was very used to his freedom, running in long strides next to a rushing streetcar, he needed
a lot of good food, mainly meat. A person would have to sacrifice a great deal, standing in food lines to feed such a strong dog -- or beg at the backs of restaurants for table scraps. I could live like this because I led
a bohemian life -- I didn't know of a single person other than myself who would be crazy enough to do it -- and who would now, for a seven year old dog, who would soon pass his prime time and was used to his esoteric ways?

One saw very few large dogs in Prague in those days and most of these were police dogs. Apartments were tiny because people had been forced to split
city apartments into dwellings for 2 or 3 families. Ike would have had to spend the rest of his life cooped up in someone's bathroom, the way I had
found him.

There was the question of time, as well. I had to make my move quickly and had only a couple of weeks time to slip out of the country (another film, one hour long, called "Drawn From Memory", available at Animation World Network). When matters of life that monumental (think of the boat people) come up, sorry, but one becomes focused only on the light at the end of the
tunnel; one is already in an altered state of mind, fearing for his own life. I left behind many very close friends, a quickly rising career of a popular cartoonist and animator ... and a great dog. One must give up all.
Not putting him to sleep would have been the equivalent of dumping him today on route 95.

Sincerely,
Paul Fierlinger

1/23/03

I loved yor program, as did Brigitte my Basset. Both my husband and I have become far more humane people in taking care of her. I am going to purhcase a video tape of your program.
Thank YOU!

1/13/03

Dear viewers,
Sandra and I are just as touched by your responses to our film as you have been by the film itself. Even the few letters of criticisms are helpful to our future work and Sandra and I discuss their points often. Right now, we are working on our next ITVS film, called "A Room Nearby", which is about the instances of loneliness in many of our lives and how six people learned more about themselves from the experience. It is a difficult topic for an animated film and your letters have been a tremendous inspiration and encouragement for us. Making animated films at home can be at times as lonesome a chore as writing a book. When drawing and painting, we often enough face the same blank sheet of paper and suffer from writer's-like blocks as we loose perspective of our work because we have been with the film for too long and have become confused by being too close to the subject. To be able to then read letters from viewers generous enough to share their time and thoughts brings us the
affirmation we often crave. Many of you ask where they can order the tape. Video tape copies of STILL LIFE WITH ANIMATED DOGS are available for purchase from Transit Media, phone 800-343-5540 , FAX: 201-652-1973.

Paul and Sandra Fierlinger

1/13/03

After I missed taping the first showing, I made sure to tape the second showing a week later. It brought back memories of all of my dogs I've had and have, and their personalities. From Coalie, my first dog I had when I was four years old to the present. I'm looking forward to being reunited with them again some day.

1/13/03
John Murray  <jwm1973@hotmail.com>

Thanks Paul for sharing God's gifts to you, with us! Fantastic show, it speaks to my heart!

1/13/03
Max Roeder  <moroeder2001yahoo.com>
Indianapolis, IN

Bravo! Enough said about this very artistic expression. I want a copy of my own to keep as a masterpiece, how can I obtain?

1/10/03
 <happykat@neteze.com>

Kudos, and thank you, for your incredible film. It may well be the best short film I've ever seen, lifing my spirits and reminding me there are humans of character as honorable as that of our cherished canines. To the woman so upset by the "suicide' scene, I can only offer my condolences. She appears to lack the emotional depth it took to comprehend your actions. Your devoted companion ended his life, peacefully, at your side as always. His fate without your compassion would have been far less kind. Your art and your courage are inspirational. Again, thank you!
Please email info to purchase.

1/8/03

i love this show i never seen anything like it and i think you should air it more and maybe advertise it so more ppl can know about it
it is really interesting and alot different than anything else that i see on the tv.

1/8/03

Dear Mr. Fierlinger,
After viewing the broadcast of "SLWAD", I have found that true spiritual clarity can be found in animation. I want to commend you on your creativity and mindfulness. I appreciate and admire your love and passion for non-human life as an important entity for human survival! The most remarkable aspect of your piece is your association of growth in life (in Czechololslovakia as well as the United States) with the loyalties of your canine companions.
Though I've not had previous exposure to your work; I am forever taken and look foward to any and all of your current and future accomplishments. Shai davis

1/8/03
ron

After loseing my best friend the other day, thanks for showing still life with animated dogs. truely made me understand whys pets where placed on the planet.

1/8/03
Jacqueline Shipp

Mr. Fierlinger, "Still Life with Animated Dogs" is a blessing that reaches deep into my soul. Thank you for it.

My thoughts on "dangerous dogs" is that, of all the "conventional" pets humans keep, I believe the dog is the only animal that humans expect to think and act like themselves--i.e., humans appear to expect dogs to know how humans think, and humans expect dogs to act like humans.

How different would our lives be if humans were to learn to think and act like dogs....

God bless you and your family. Jacqueline

1/8/03
Barbara Luke

This was WONDERFUL!!!!

1/8/03

Who says insomnia is a bad thing??If not for waking up at 4:30a.m. this morning I would've missed this absolutely wonderful and delightful story! This made my day! I am buying a copy today for some friends who will appreciate the subtleties (sp?) in this piece.

1/8/03
Anik Rosenblum  <anikro@hotmail.com>

I totally agree with Paul Fierlinger about all the Disney and commercial animation that dominates the screen. Their productions follow the same formula, exploiting the same story patterns and the same character types, have nothing to do with any art and have nothing to offer to the public except brainless emotionless entertainment. For example there are amazingly similar sequences in such films as Tarzan, Lion King, Monster's Inc. (all taken from The Jungle Book) where two "funny" characters - one neurotic extrovert with Brooklin accent and another - slow strong silent type, take care of the mischievious cute child. While watching the same slightly changed scene from film to film, I feel being cheated by the cheapest emotional manipulation.
These pictures, although very professionally made, with rich image and sound and technically perfect animation, totally lack any personal touch. They feel like a machine creation, something that is not made by real people.They are products of business meetings, not artists, whose purpose is money, not self-expression.
When I studied in an animation school, once there was a meeting with some Disney representatives, and in responce to a question "Are you planning to explore new approaches to your productions" there was an answer: " Why to change something that works perfectly well?"
I, being an animation admirer and a striving animator myself, really long for inspiring touching films, and Still Life with Animated Dogs gives me the hope that animation as I see it - beautiful charming and expressive art form -is not yet completely extinct.
Thank you PBS for being so openminded and please show more of Paul Fierlinger's and other creative animators' work.

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