By Deborah Sullivan Brennan | 5:13 p.m. Aug. 18, 2015http://visualcage.ru

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Following a dream of dog days

As an independent filmmaker, Jude Artenstein was in the habit of following her heart, producing an eclectic mix of films ranging from documentaries on Tijuana Jewish culture, Mexican cuisine or female athletes to feature comedies and biopics.

Then she suffered a devastating knee injury. And when her golden retriever, Scout, remained loyally at her side during her recovery, her heart urged her to help the thousands of pets without homes and families.

Artenstein, 58, applied her filmmaker’s skills at managing funding, people, places, goods, services and schedules, to found the Doggie Street Festival, which brings together animal adoption agencies and pet lovers at Liberty Station each year.

The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday at NTC Park at Liberty Station.

Scout died in 2012, but the festival founded through his inspiration has grown each year and expanded to add events in Los Angeles and Phoenix. About 10,000 visitors attended last year, and at least 200 pets were adopted, said Artenstein, a Coronado resident.

Q: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

A: A combination of things influenced me. Definitely the great writers — Harper Lee, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Faulkner, Orwell, Roth, Didion, Salinger, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou — they and others set the tone for communicating about the human condition and their books made a profound impression on me and my generation. I knew that I wanted to be a part of something that would bring people together “into the collective conversation” and filmmaking was the medium that fascinated me and the one I choose to study and to practice.

Q: What topics or themes do you look for in a documentary or feature film?

A: Something that I will be passionate enough about to endure the challenges required to make it happen — no matter the obstacles. Doggie Street Festival inspired me to create, write and direct a TV series called PetLoungeTV.com about unforgettable pets and extraordinary people that informs viewers on every aspect of pet care, health, companionship and lifestyle. It is a cable and online TV series, and we were fortunate to receive an excellence in journalism award.

Q: How do you fund your film projects?

A: Beg like a dog! Sort of kidding. First by believing that the project I have chosen to put time, resources, energy, creativity and life force into is valuable and worth telling. And then by finding funding sources that believe as I do.

Q: How did you decide to organize the Doggie Street Festival?

A: I began this adopt-a-thon in 2009 when I was affected by all the sad news about the economic crisis and its consequences on innocent furry victims. At that time, I was recuperating from an accident and my dog Scout was my loyal companion, never leaving my side. I decided to do something to repay his unconditional loyalty to me. That something was Doggie Street Festival. Now we are entering year seven of the event in San Diego.

Q: What do you hope will be the results of the festival?

A: My dream is to host Doggie Street Festival in 20 cities across the country. This event is extremely effective at increasing dog and cat adoption and I hope that a sponsor or “angel” steps forward to help me make that dream a reality.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your work as either a filmmaker or festival organizer?

A: Choose to do what you believe in so that, in good times and bad times, you will still be motivated to accomplish your goals.

Q: What is the best part of making a film?

A: I love the collaborative aspect of filmmaking. Each person on the creative team brings another layer to the project that improves the storytelling. Of course, watching and sharing the finished project with an audience, friends and family is the best!

Q: What is your favorite thing about the festival?

A: It is a call to action. Someone said, “The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts — it gives you what you demand with your actions.” Euthanasia and pet homelessness are national tragedies that we cannot hope or wish away, dogs and cats are not disposable, they are the closest that most of us ever get to other species in the natural world — yet thousands are euthanized each day, and we cannot passively overlook this. We need to take action as individuals and as a society. We have the power to end this unacceptable tragedy.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?

A: Never give up.

Q: What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I am actually pretty shy. I can spend endless hours happily alone, and I can always find things to occupy my time.

Q: Please describe your ideal San Diego weekend.

A: I like to use the weekends to explore, dream and discover. Double espresso to begin the day is a must-have. Stop for estate sale signs. Spend time at a farmers market choosing all things seasonal. Take my dog to the beach.

What I love most about Coronado …

Two sounds that I can hear from my living room window. The train whistles very late at night as the last train rumbles into the Santa Fe Station and the fog horns that I listen to as they guide the safe travel of vessels on those rare cold and foggy California nights. Both of these sounds make me think of the adventure of travel when I hear them.

Read original article at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com