Look out, Christopher Guest. Brooklyn filmmaker Rebecca Stern has entered the playing field, and she is capturing something pretty wild in the dog grooming world.
Her upcoming short documentary Well-Groomed reveals the art and industry around the colorful world of competitive, creative dog grooming (and by “colorful,” we mean that literally). The film follows two female American dog groomers – Angela Kumpe and Adriane Pope – as they transform poodles into fantastical, vibrant creations during intense competitions, together forming an industry around their new craft. A niche within the American grooming circuit, and unknown to the outside world, these competitions draw thousands and spawn copycat grooming organizations around the world. Each design takes 30 hours of dye work to expertly blend hues into dog fur. Groomers then endure three hours in front of judges, styling their pets into exotic and abstract creations, which can range from Scooby Doo to Greased Lightning to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The prize for competing? Fame. Seen as both awe-inspiring and troubling from groomers at large, these women have become objects of envy and derision as they push this growing art from to new heights, and vie for the year’s best design. Outside competitions, neighbors view their work with skepticism, and so creative groomers must fight to prove that their art is safe for the dog – and that it enjoys the hours on the grooming table as they pull, push and coif its hair.
Rebecca will put her Awesome Without Borders grant directly towards financing the film’s edit, and she hopes to complete the film in Fall 2015. Some of Rebecca’s other credits include the 2015 award-winning Sundance documentary Cartel Land (Production Coordinator) and Just the Muscle (Director). She is also an impact producer and has managed campaigns for Escape Fire, Food Chains, and The Yes Men are Revolting.
Talk about a true “Best in Show”!