Waltham, MA, April 1, 2007—A novice filmmaker, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, won Grand Prize at the first-ever Canis Film Festival, a contest designed by Karen Pryor Clickertraining (KPCT) to showcase innovative animal-training videos. This unique festival focuses on short films of seven minutes or fewer that educate animal owners and professionals about the power of training based on the science of operant conditioning.
The 2007 contest included fourteen entries in four categories: canine, feline, equine, and multispecies. Videos were judged by a panel of experts, including Karen Pryor and faculty members of ClickerExpo, the superlative training conference. Festival winners were announced to an international audience of 400 at ClickerExpo 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Baugh won Grand Prize for CIA Casefile: "Murphy" Heeling, an entry full of espionage and heeling. Baugh's clip encompassed a brief introduction to the benefits of clicker training, a how-to of teaching heeling using a toy for reinforcement instead of food treats, and a view of a more advanced dog in the same behavior, taught using the same technique. Baugh received $500 and an impressive trophy, as well as a contract for distribution with KPCT/Sunshine Books.
"We have great professional and hobbyist trainers in our community out there, doing amazing things, and they rarely get an audience to show what they can do and how they do it. This is that showcase! The emphasis at the Canis Film Festival is not just on the finished behavior but showing someone how to train that behavior," said Karen Pryor, leader of KPCT and one of the pioneers of modern methods of all-positive, effective training used by trainers in zoos, oceanariums, and schools all over the world.
Indeed, the time is right for the Canis Film Festival. User-created content and amateur video are sweeping the internet, and short-form content (what Wired magazine recently dubbed "snack culture") has become big business. Sites like YouTube and MySpace allow users to post their own short videos and in the process have become the biggest draws on the internet. These sites have also introduced both Hollywood and Silicon Valley to a whole new way of thinking about video distribution. The Canis Film Festival extends that same vision to animal training by encouraging clicker trainers to film their favorite moments, and extending offers for paid distribution on ClickFlicks (www.clickertraining.tv), KPCT's downloadable training video service, to exemplary videographers.
Winners in the other categories were: Canine Award: CIA Case File: "Tucker" Nail Trim also by Baugh; Feline Award: Ankle Attack by Jacqueline Munera; Equine Award: Free Lunging with the Clicker by Vivien Dostine; Multi-Species Award: Building Trust with Your Bird-One Click At A Time! by Shirley J. Morgan & Ellen K. Cook, DVM; Runner Up: Become a Top Trainer the Easy Way by Top Hogs by John Vincent. Each winner was chosen for entertainingly and concretely conveying and the power of clicker training.
The Canis Film Festival encourages novice and experienced videographers to submit entries for the 2008 contest. Everyone can qualify for entry, provided that each demonstrated trick and feat is achieved through 100% all-positive methods of training. Visit www.canisfilmfestival.com for details.
The Canis Film Festival is underwritten by Karen Pryor Clickertraining, the leader in all-positive training and the producer and distributor of educational materials that teach people to train all kinds of animals without using force. Details for producers and sponsorship opportunities and can be found at www.canisfilmfestival.com.
Aaron Clayton, President
Karen Pryor Clickertraining (KPCT)
49 River Street #3
Waltham, MA 02453