Abe – Starring “Ammo”, Golden Retriever

24kretrievers.com presents Ammo in the FSU Film School motion picture “Abe”
Ammo is an Golden Retriever actor owned by Destiny Martel.
Part of the 24k Retrievers Canine Acting and Modeling team.
© FSU Film School and Florida State University

An MFA Directing 3 project, “Abe” follows a dog whose doting mistress has died without making arrangements for his care. As he strikes out on his own, he discovers that the world can be less than friendly to a wandering pooch.

Ammo as Abe

Crew and Cast

Director/Writer:                                           Khen Shalem
Producer:                                                    Erika Harvey
Director of Photography/Editor:               Ian Weir
Production Designer:                                 Z. Eric Yang
Animal Handlers:                                        Destiny and Gil Martel
Music:                                                          Doron Kima
Abe:                                                              Ammo


Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
College Awards (Emmys), Third Place Drama

Director’s Comments

A few years ago, my fiance and I rented a cottage out in the countryside. It was a small house inside a forest and we used to have all kinds of new ‘friends’ coming to visit us. One of them was a golden retriever dog that we called Abe. He soon started to visit every day (usually during meal times) and a special connection developed between us. Abe did not have a collar and did not belong to anyone, but he was familiar with human beings.

One day, Abe didn’t show up. We thought that maybe he found some food elsewhere and hoped he would eventually return. After a few more days, we began searching for him, and, by the advice of neighbors, we went to the local animal shelter. We were correct to look there, but we were too late. He had been put to sleep.

I still remember him very well: the familiar face, the wisdom in his eyes. His story inspired me to make this film.

As part of my application process to film school I had to pitch a short story, and I chose to tell the story of Abe. The faculty loved the story but warned me that making it into a film might be a mistake as it is very difficult to direct a dog. However, I wanted to accept the challenge of directing a dog in a drama where emotions and feelings depend on performance. It was an exciting challenge for me as a director to be able to get these emotions only by camera positions, editing and music. Working with a dog on set was indeed difficult, but I am very proud of being able to do so.

I made the film so that when people see a stray dog they will know that he has a story, that he comes from somewhere. Maybe he got lost, maybe his owner died, and maybe he is a beautiful creature that just didn’t have enough luck. I also want people to know that these dogs eventually end up in animal shelters, and that if they want to help they can go there and adopt a dog. I hope that the film will encourage people to adopt dogs since, in our society, dogs are not allowed to survive on their own.

My goal is to eventually extend the story into a feature-length film that will be based on the same vision.

Director:        Khen Shalem, MFA 2007

Before I pursued film, I spent several years obtaining a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in the field of physics. My choice to study science came out of a profound need to better understand the laws of nature rather than an intent to pursue physics as a ‘future occupation’. Although I gained a great deal of intellectual assets by studying and practicing science, I gradually became aware that I wished to further develop my interest in human feelings and artistic creation.Academy of Television Award

When I was applying to film/television production schools, I was fortunate enough to be able to choose from several of the top film schools. I chose the program at Florida State University because of its hands-on and comprehensive approach to film education. The majority of my time there was spent on set and from that experience I underwent tremendous growth as a filmmaker.