Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

Pick of the Litter 2018

Directed by Dana Nachman, Don Hardy Framing Reality

“Puppies rule in Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s seriously cute account of the breeding and training program that prepares service dogs to become guides for the visually impaired.” — Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

USA In English
81 minutes DCP




Dana Nachman


Don Hardy


Helen Jane Long


San Francisco
Hot Docs 2018

The Thursday 2 August screening will feature a descriptive audio track broadcast in the cinema to enhance the experience for sight-impaired patrons.

“Meet Patriot, Poppet, Potomac, Primrose, and Phil, five impossibly adorable Labrador Retriever puppies. We meet them at the moment of their birth when they are enrolled into the national Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) program based in San Rafael, CA. Soon after, they are placed with temporary trainers, individuals who have volunteered to shepherd the puppies through months of intensive training. Their emotional commitment to the dogs is intense and inspiring, making this documentary an emotional roller coaster once we realize that not all the dogs have what it takes to succeed.” — San Francisco International Film Festival 

“With most of the focus on the puppies, cinematic options might appear limited, but because there are so many people involved in raising the dogs, Nachman and Hardy readily gain access to puppy trainers, [Guide Dogs for the Blind] staff and sight-impaired individuals. While there are plenty of shots featuring gamboling puppies, the filmmakers also demonstrate the training process, with detailed scenes showing how the dogs are instructed.  

Juggling more than a half-dozen storylines, Hardy’s editorial work entertainingly excels at maintaining interest and building tension throughout the film’s succinctly packaged 81-minute run time. While Pick of the Litter stands out for its canine characterizations, it’s fundamentally a film about the endlessly fascinating, constantly evolving relationship between dogs and humans, cultivated over millennia of advantageous interaction.” — Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter