Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Husky "Haroo" to Hollywood!

Along the famous stars of canine greats Rin-Tin-Tin and Lassie, and most recently, Uggie, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, maybe we will see one complete with pawprints in the cement for a Siberian Husky named Dakota. Who is Dakota, you ask? Well, go grab the popcorn for the hu-family and some treats for the furkids…we’re going to the movies!

Dakota Director Martin Bentsen
Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with writer, photographer, and film director Martin Bentsen, currently of New York City, whose latest movie-in-the-making, Dakota: Dedicated to My Best Friend, features a Siberian Husky as the main co-star!

The premise of the movie, is “After causing a tragic accident, Kurt Lawson’s life free falls into despair and guilt and he believes that nothing can turn it around, until he finds Dakota, a Siberian Husky who is much more than just any ordinary dog.”

 A Sibe Star is Born

Here is the synopsis from Dakota: The Movie website: “Late one night, three years ago, Kurt Lawson’s life changed forever.  Caught up in a barroom brawl, he watched in horror as a man died in a fire ignited by his careless actions. That man was the brother of the woman he loved, Jenna Herbert. And that night was the beginning of a guilt-ridden slide into depression and regret that cut him off from the fulfilling life he had enjoyed.  But now Jenna’s back in his life and it’s time to face his past or lose her forever.

Driving home late one night, with thoughts of Jenna once again on his mind, he suddenly glimpses a fierce fight between two coyotes and a Siberian husky. Slamming his breaks and honking his horn, the coyotes dart away as the light of his headlights break the night’s cover while the husky, whose legs are wobbling and bloody, collapses in front of Kurt. Pitying the animal, Kurt brings it home and feeds it, telling the dog how lucky it is to still be alive. Wondering how the dog ended up on that dark road fighting for its life, Kurt rhetorically asks the dog his name.

"My name is Dakota." And that's when Kurt begins his journey from darkness, down a road that can lead to redemption, if he is willing to travel it.

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?

Maybe it's high time to rename Hollywood...any votes for...

So why a Siberian Husky for the main character (of course we think this is a Siberific idea!) and how did he first become interested in the breed?  “I remember when I was just nine years old, coming home from school and opening the front door. Suddenly, an elated Siberian Husky was greeting me with intermittent licks to my face as she bounced on all fours off the floor!” reminisced Martin. “’What was this? We got a new dog?’ I asked. I was so excited! I kneeled on the floor, petting and rubbing her belly while she panted and stared at me with those deep blue eyes that said, ‘My name is Dakota.’ Actually, that’s what my mother said her name was.”

Dakota, who this film is named after, was a real rescue dog Martin’s had mother spotted in a local shelter and adopted.

The real "Dakota," namesake of the movie.
Now just to cue you in…Dakota in the movie does talk…or does she? Hmmm….you will have to wait for the movie to find out!

Dedicated to the Sibe He Loved

Martin continues, “Throughout my childhood, from fifth grade through high school, she was my best friend. I would walk her, talk to her, play games with her, and just be with her. Knowing Dakota was nearby meant I always had a friend.  She never once argued with me or said anything bad to me or about me. Other than my parents and sister, she was the only friend who was there with me as I grew up. While friends came and went as we moved, I knew Dakota would always be there for me.”

I asked Martin what is one of the main important things he learned from growing up with his Dakota. “Having grown up in a home with dogs, and I learned that dogs care much more about us than we think they do. Whenever people get annoyed with their dog for barking a lot or for getting tangled up in their leash or for begging at the table, they should just remember that that's a small price to pay for the unconditional love and friendship our dogs provide us. That's what I learned from having these dogs, and especially from having Dakota.”

This film is about a mutual rescue. Martin elaborates, “Before his life fell apart and he quit the ski patrol rescue job, Kurt always used to rescue people. And now Kurt needs to be rescued himself. When Kurt stumbles across Dakota in the middle of the night on the side of the road, he rescues Dakota from some coyote attackers. But throughout the film, Dakota rescues Kurt from his depression”

Martin says it is his hope “to bring this film to the big screen and show people across the country what joy, loyalty and love they can experience from a pet, and how lucky people are to have pets in their lives. “It is my dream to have Dakota, the movie, touch audiences as powerfully as Dakota the dog touched my family and myself.”

I'm thrilled to say I will be visiting the movie set during filming to bring updates and share photos of the taping...and very excited to meet Dakota! So stay tuned!
Wait it gets better…oh, but I’ll let you listen to Martin himself when he was a guest on our last episode of our “TheSibe Vibe” show on Dog Works Media:

Listen to internet radio with Dog Works Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio

Lights! Camera! Action!


Filming will be done all over New York, with the snow and skiing scenes shot in the Upstate areas, with the main shooting being done in January of 2013. The cast, so far, consists of Andrew Roth as the main human lead “Kurt Lawson;” Kevin Gage as “Mark Chadwick” (Diner Manager); Michael Santi as “Jonathan Black;” Casey Leigh as “Jenna Herbert;” Crawford Collins as “Fran Woodward;” Jay Amari a “Bob Herbert;” and Raymond Garland is the avoice behind “Dakota.”

Movie promo still of actor Roth with a canine model.
Right now, Martin, who has financed portions of this project himself, explains the main financing of the film comes through investors. “If there are any investors out there who believe in the film's story and see its commercial potential, we hope that they will consider talking with us and reviewing our investor documents. We have an executive summary and a prospectus put together, along with a separate website solely for investors. In the meantime, we have launched an Indiegogo campaign where people can donate small amounts of money to get certain perks and rewards, including a signed movie poster by the director and cast, a signed DVD, a personal thank you in the film's credits, producer credits on IMDB, and many other rewards. If there's investors who might be interested in hopping on board with this film, I would love to talk to them.” Martin can be contacted through the movies website at The website to visit if anyone is interested in making a small donation to Dakota is:

Supporting Siberian Husky Rescues

I asked Martin would he consider donating any of the movie’s profits, post-production costs, to help homeless Siberian Huskies. “I have absolutely considered giving back a percentage of the profits to Siberian Husky rescue missions. (At publication time, Martin is hoping to be working with a specific regional Husky rescue and is going to be donating a portion of his personal share of proceeds post-production costs. More info to come at a later date). If we can build a huge base of people who are interested in ‘Dakota,’ then by the time it is ready to be released, distributors will be clamoring for it. This in turn will increase the profits of the movie and also increase the amount of money that those local rescue missions will receive.”

FurAngel Dakota practicing her red carpet walk!

*A Call-Out to Trained Rescue Huskies! *

When filming a movie with an animal, there are several canine actors portraying the role in various shots. Martin is on the lookout for some trained Huskies from rescues to be possible actors in the movie. If a Siberian Husky rescue is interested, please feel free to contact Martin directly through his website. He also has an offer for Husky and animal rescues: “And if you or anybody you know happens to know of any rescue missions (they don't necessarily have to be just for huskies) or dog companies that would like to be involved and would like to post movie posters up, that would be amazing, and I would definitely send out signed posters and other promotional materials, along with listing them in the credits of the film and websites.”

Martin hopes his message comes through in his love for this movie. “Again, the message I hope to deliver from this film is not just related to Siberian Huskies specifically, but to all dogs. Dogs are the animals who will run to get you help when you're in need. They are the animals who'll come up to you and lean against you when you're feeling down. They are the animals that will jump up and lick you the moment you get home, as if they haven't seen you in years. And they are the animals who will always be there for us no matter what. I hope this movie shows to people across the country just how important their dogs are.”

As the FiveSibes would say, “Woo” to that! A movie about Husky with Huskies that will benefit Huskies in need...can you say "awesome!" After the movie wraps and the Sibe portraying "Dakota" is prancing down the red carpet during the movie’s premiere, count us in to be there to cheer you all on!

PS - Martin, our Harley is ready for her close up! 


  1. That's a great interview! I hope he's ready to take your close-up!

  2. Wow, Dad drags Mom to the movies every Saturday. ONce in a while she sees something she likes, but she says this is one movie she won't want to miss, especially with the star being a Sibe name Dakota:)

    Thanks for telling us about it - great interview.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  3. Can't wait to see this one! I'm sure it will be a blockbuster!

  4. Dog movies are the best and this one is going to be terrific! Can't wait to see it.