‘Well Groomed’ looks at world of competitive creative dog grooming Nov. 14

Kobe, Cat Opson’s poodle, stands on the beach in California. (Photo courtesy of Cattle Rat Productions)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – The colorful world of competitive creative dog grooming will be the focus of the next film to be shown at Wallace State Community College as part of South Arts’ 2019-2020 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films. “Well Groomed” follows the path of four women competing on a national circuit.

The Nov. 14 film follows four women from South Carolina, California, New York and Arkansas as they travel the competition circuit, each looking to be named champion and enriching their lives through this fascinating intersection of art and animals.

As the film unfolds, we meet Adriane, Nicole, Cat and Angela. Perpetual runner-up, Adriane has an intense drive to prove herself a winner, and is beloved by her competitors for being so kind and friendly. Nicole hopes to connect with people in the grooming community as much as she connects with her dogs at home, while facing the very real challenge of turning her struggling grooming shop into a successful business. Cat is the champion in the show ring but, over the year, must come to terms with competition’s reality as responsibilities outside of the grooming circuit surface. And Angela is the glue that binds the creative grooming industry with her innovative beauty products, extremely adept grooming skills and swagger that comes from constant success.

Outside the competition ring, working as professional groomers, they spend their limited spare time away from washing, blow-drying, and fluffing other people’s dogs caring for their own numerous pets and experimenting with new designs on their show dogs, finding creative inspiration in their seemingly mundane surroundings.

Filmmaker and fellow animal lover Rebecca Stern said she became intrigued by “this niche and slightly wacky area of pet ownership and care, and saw something of my own pet-love in their activities.

“My pets have always been a central part of my life,” she added. “But I’d never even considered turning my daily companions into works of art.”

Stern, who will be on hand to introduce the film and take questions after the screening, said one of the most frequently asked questions is if the creative grooming process is safe for the animals.

“The questions mostly come from a place of care for animals, and I appreciate that as an intense dog lover myself,” Stern said. “During the last several years of filming the grooming community, I’ve only seen happy animals who have been treated with tender, loving care. Everyone I’ve come across within the grooming world are real ‘dog people’ whose lives revolve around taking care of animals. The dog pampering that goes on is really quite impressive. And, as professionals, they know quite a bit about dog care and signs of discomfort. I hope viewers can watch “Well Groomed” and see for themselves how much the women love their dogs, and how the dogs care for the women right back.”

“Well Groomed” and will be shown Thursday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. in the Burrow Center Recital Hall at Wallace State Community College. Admission is free and is open to the public.

More films will be shown in February, March and April. “Community First, A Home for the Homeless” will be shown Feb. 4. “Mossville: When Great Trees Fall” will be shown March 10. “Who Will Write Our History” will be shown April 21.

For more information about South Art’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films, visit www.southarts.org. To see a trailer of “Well Groomed,” visit https://youtu.be/RxPni1BZaEk.