24 May Made for Each Other

A history of the bond between humans and dogs

Directed by Ric Burns and Bonnie Lafave
Concept by Lois Pope
Executive Producer Lois Pope

Streaming on Amazon beginning June 5, 2019

Produced by Steeplechase Films and LP LIFE Productions

“When you think about the relationship between humans and dogs, there is no other relationship like that anywhere else in the animal kingdom.  Nothing even closely resembles it.”
James Serpell, University of Pennsylvania

“Humans owe dogs everything.  I mean, really, everything:  all of civilization; cities; money.   If there’s something that is important to you, thank a dog.”
Greger Larson, University of Oxford

The human-canine bond is unique in nature, not only one dating back to the origin of both species but one that continues to shape how both live and feel, work and play today.

Now, for the first time, that distinctive and unparalleled bond is illuminated on film. Made for Each Other, a quietly rhapsodic, insightful, and deeply engaging exploration of the primordial relationship between dogs and human beings — canis lupus familiaris and homo sapiens — premiers on Amazon on June 5, 2019.

Produced by partners LP Life Productions and Steeplechase Films (Debt of Honor:  Disabled Veterans in American History and VA: The Human Cost of War), the film is a project of acclaimed directors Ric Burns and Bonnie Lafave and internationally recognized philanthropist and animal welfare advocate Lois Pope.

“Few topics are as moving, joyous, surprising and rich as the bond between humans and dogs,” said Mr. Burns, who explained that the 60-minute documentary film explores the origins of the relationship with dogs and the evolutionary, biological and social changes in both species that have shaped that relationship over time.

Mrs. Pope, who has adopted more than 20 dogs, echoed these sentiments. She said that, “as I know both from personal experience and in the work I do with animal welfare organizations, the bond between humans and dogs is one cemented by unconditional love.  That’s one of the reasons that dogs are always referred to as ‘our best friend.’ Yet, even though I know this to be true, I always wanted to know why.  And what Made for Each Other does so well is answer that question in such a moving and insightful way.”

Featuring intimate, insightful and riveting footage of dogs and human beings at work and play — shot in diverse locations across the United States, including research laboratories, kennels, rescue shelters, training facilities, hospitals, convalescent homes, game preserves, dog runs and backyards from Alaska to Atlanta and beyond – the film is a loving and clear-eyed exploration of this most moving and important of all intra-species relationships.

Made for Each Other considers how humans think about dogs and what we know about how dogs experience the world around them, revealing their remarkable biological features, cognitive capacities and communication skills, all of which have contributed to their ability to “come over to our side” — to accommodate themselves to life with humans.

The film illuminates some of the ways in which dogs have increasingly become a source of fascination for scholars across a variety of disciplines, including archaeology, genetics, psychology and sociology, and details the latest scientific investigations that expose the complexity and depth of our relationship with dogs, making it clear that the more we learn about dogs, the more we understand about ourselves.

Made for Each Other combines powerful, on-camera interviews, beautiful live cinematography, elegant animated sequences and historical photographs and footage to bring to life the story of the co-evolution of our two species.  The film’s on-camera interviewees, all leading experts in their fields, include Greger Larson, Brian Hare, Alexandra Horowitz, James Serpell, Gregory Berns, Adam Boyko, Patricia McConnell, Katherine C. Grier and David Grimm.

Made of Each Other is produced and directed by Ric Burns and Bonnie Lafave; the Executive Producer and chief creative partner is Lois Pope.   It is edited by Mikaela Shwer and Emily Williams, with cinematography by Anthony Savini and Buddy Squires.

The film was finished in HD, 1920/23.98p.  The mix is stereo but can be remixed 5:1. The film is intended for the widest possible audience – cleared for broadcast and digital distribution worldwide.

About Mrs. Lois Pope and LP LIFE Productions
Lois Pope, one of America’s leading philanthropists, has dedicated her life to helping those in need and improving the lives of the voiceless and vulnerable in our society. This stalwart mission is reflected in the three transformative organizations she has established: Leaders in Furthering Education (LIFE), the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, and the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation. Among the many history-making initiatives she has spearheaded on behalf of veterans and in support of animal welfare are the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, the nation’s first permanent public tribute to the four million living disabled American veterans and all those who have died, and a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans each October 5.  In partnership with American Humane, she created Pups4Patriots, which provides specialized training to shelter dogs to serve as therapy dogs for veterans with PTSD; the K9 Medal of Courage, given annually to canines who served with distinction in combat, and the soon-to-be-dedicated National Military Hero Dog Monument.  Through LP LIFE Productions, and with Ric Burns and Steeplechase Films, she conceived and executive produced two PBS films, Debt of Honor and VA: The Human Cost of War.

About Ric Burns & Steeplechase Films
Steeplechase Films is the award-winning production company founded by Ric Burns in 1989. Over the past two decades, it has become one of PBS’ most trusted and honored collaborators, making a mainstay of bringing quality programming to public television and redefining the way audiences engage with American history. Director, writer and producer Ric Burns began his career co-writing and producing the celebrated PBS series The Civil War (1990) and has since directed over 30 hours of award-winning films, including Coney Island (1991), The Donner Party (1992), The Way West (1995), Ansel Adams (2002), Eugene O’Neill (2006), Andy Warhol (2006), We Shall Remain: Tecumseh’s Vision (2009), New York: A Documentary Film (1999-2003), Death and the Civil War (2012) and Enquiring Minds (2014). 2015 saw the release of three additional films for PBS: American Ballet Theatre: A History, Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History, and The Pilgrims.  Recently Burns has released VA: The Human Cost of War (2017), and The Chinese Exclusion Act (2018), co-directed by Steeplechase Films’ veteran editor Li-Shin Yu.