Hot Docs, San Francisco, Cleveland, Montclair, Sarasota, RiverRun, Bentonville, Maui, Woods Hole, Thin Line Doc, Newport Beach
A portrait of competitive creative dog groomers.
In this decidedly light doc, Rebecca Stern introduces viewers to the unusual and playful world of competitive dog grooming, in which dog owners artistically shape and color the coats of their pets into elaborate designs, transforming dogs’ very bodies into cartoonish canvases. Following four women who are on the competitive circuit – it’s not addressed why the hobby seems to be overwhelmingly dominated by women – the film highlights their personalities, creativity, and, for some, drive to win. Though never digging particularly deep nor even concerned with guiding viewers through the basic rules of the activity, it succeeds in conveying its subjects’ enthusiasm, and provides dog lovers with a real-life, even more over-the-top BEST IN SHOW experience.