Mistaken identity leads to unlikely alliance, creation of short film

100 Mile’s Ann-Marie Fleming, left, and Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming have teamed up to create a new short film Old Dog, highlighting the similarities of caring for humans and pets. (Photo submitted)100 Mile’s Ann-Marie Fleming, left, and Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming have teamed up to create a new short film Old Dog, highlighting the similarities of caring for humans and pets. (Photo submitted)
(Photo submitted)
Ann-Marie Fleming is owner of Dog Quality, which designs and sells products to improve and enhance an old dog’s life. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Ann-Marie Fleming is owner of Dog Quality, which designs and sells products to improve and enhance an old dog’s life. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Ann-Marie Fleming is owner of Dog Quality, which designs and sells products to improve and enhance an old dog’s life. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press) (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Ann-Marie Fleming is owner of Dog Quality, which designs and sells products to improve and enhance an old dog’s life. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press) (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Ann-Marie Fleming is owner of Dog Quality, which designs and sells products to improve and enhance an old dog’s life. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press) (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)Ann-Marie Fleming is owner of Dog Quality, which designs and sells products to improve and enhance an old dog’s life. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press) (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
100 Mile’s Ann-Marie Fleming and Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming have teamed up to create a new short film Old Dog, highlighting the similarities of caring for humans and pets. (Photo submitted) (Photo submitted)100 Mile’s Ann-Marie Fleming and Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming have teamed up to create a new short film Old Dog, highlighting the similarities of caring for humans and pets. (Photo submitted) (Photo submitted)
100 Mile’s Ann-Marie Fleming, left, and Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming have teamed up to create a new short film Old Dog, highlighting the similarities of caring for humans and pets. (Photo submitted) (Photo submitted)100 Mile’s Ann-Marie Fleming, left, and Vancouver filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming have teamed up to create a new short film Old Dog, highlighting the similarities of caring for humans and pets. (Photo submitted) (Photo submitted)

Old Dog, Ann Marie Fleming, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

A case of mistaken identity has led to an unlikely alliance and the creation of Old Dog, a short film about aging, life and the similarities between man and dog.

The story begins in 100 Mile House, where Ann-Marie Fleming, owner of Dog Quality, designs and sells products designed to improve and enhance an old dog’s life.

For years, people have confused her with another woman with a near-identical name: Ann Marie Fleming, a filmmaker living in Vancouver who runs Sleepy Dog Productions. This Ann Marie, whose first name doesn’t have a hyphen, has been making films for decades after discovering her love of film in 1980s London.

“I’ve always known there was another Ann Marie Fleming in the world, particularly in Canada,” Ann-Marie said. “Usually it’s people mistaking me for her. I’ve had people try to give me screenplays and I’ve gone ‘No. Wrong Ann Marie Fleming.’”

After years of confusion, the two women finally met a year ago after Dog Quality launched its dog wheelchair prototype and Ann-Marie began receiving a lot of media attention. After her mom asked if she was now caring for old dogs and her mom’s friend sent her clippings of the launch, the filmmaker read Ann-Marie’s blog and was struck by the parallels between caring for dogs and humans as they age.

She reached out, wanting to run an idea past Ann-Marie: an animation that would show off these similarities.

“I loved the idea. of course, so she spent a day with us, me and my senior dogs. She took a lot of footage and spent the day talking and she watched how my seniors used the products and noticed things as simple as when Bamboo walks, his front feet step on each other and her dad does the same thing,” Ann-Marie said. “She just wanted to get a sense of what dogs go through firsthand and then put this really clever, simple and meaningful piece together that shows how similar we really are.”

READ MORE: New wheelchair for dogs aims to increase the length and quality of senior dogs’ lives

After collecting the footage in 2019, the two kept in touch, with Ann-Marie sending the filmmaker more footage of her senior dogs doing simple things such as drinking or getting stuck in corners because of their dementia. The end result was Old Dog, a short and simple two-minute long film about an old man caring for an old dog, while illustrating the similarities between them.

“It’s a film really about being tender with others and ourselves and just to celebrate life and the act of caring,” Ann Marie said.

To make the film, Ann Marie reached out to the National Film Board of Canada, which helped her to produce it and put her in touch with its animator Kevin Langdale, though the story and design is her own. The film was finished just before B.C. went into lockdown for COVID-19, which Ann Marie said gives it all the more meaning as the pandemic has highlighted the importance of caregivers, while showing how much older people rely on that care and connection with others.

Old Dog has so far premiered at two film festivals in B.C. and Nova Scotia and from Oct-29 to Nov-8 it will be available for online screening throughout B.C. as part of this year’s SPARK Animation Festival.

Ann-Marie said she’s proud to have played a “very small part” in helping make this movie happen, adding “the other AMF” is really smart and funny.

“I think it’s a wonderful way for people to see something they see all the time but in a completely different way and hopefully it will make them a little kinder and more accepting of people who have these special dogs in their lives, or these special people in their lives that go through these challenges,” Ann-Marie said.

For her part, Ann Marie finds it delightful this film emerged from a simple misunderstanding and hopes Ann-Marie continues to develop technologies that help people who want to make their dogs’ lives better.

“I think it will last forever,” she said. “It’s a film whose message will, no pun intended, never get old.”


newsroom@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

100 Mile House

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

(File photo)
Firearms offence at McLeese Lake tree planting camp under RCMP investigation

On May 10 Williams Lake RCMP were called to the camp, located at the 2200 block of Beaver Lake Rd.

Lil Mack has been a member of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lil Mack of Williams Lake honoured with BC Achievement Community Award

Mack has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for several decades

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) announced Tuesday, May 11 that all washrooms on its Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses will have free menstrual products by September. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
TRU to provide free hygiene products in all washrooms by fall 2021

“By signing the United Way’s Promise campaign, TRU aims to reduce barriers facing some students.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read