Cannes: 'Dogman' Takes Palm Dog Honor

Cannes - IN COMPETITION – FEATURE FILMS - DOGMAN Still 2 - Publicity -H 2018
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The event carried on despite pressure from local officials to shut down the ceremony.

Matteo Garrone’s Dogman took Cannes' canine prize, the Palm Dog, in a beachside ceremony Friday.

The Italian mafia tail had been an early frontrunner for the prize. But in a surprise move, the jury of critics proved they could not be collared by expectations and recognized Joy the Chihuahua. Jack the Great Dane had been leading the pack in early predictions.

Human star Marcello Fonte was on hand to celebrate, taking to the stage to thank the crowd in Italian and posing with the prize. Producer Jeremy Thomas accepted the award on behalf of Garrone. “W.C. Fields was wrong when he said never work with dogs or children,” he said, noting that he has a beef with the lack of Fido-friendly films. “There’s not enough of them really.”

Joy was recognized for her hair-raising performance, where she has a brush with death that Palm Dog founder Toby Rose called “riveting.”

Juror Anna Smith said she was happy that the prize went to a female in the politically charged post-#MeToo moment. “I’m very pleased this went to a female dog. All too often films cast dogs as male even if they are played by females and they are not credited properly,” she said.

Critics’ Week entry Diamantino, which had also been a frontrunner, picked up the jury prize for its poodles. Though the winners, Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, could not be present, they sent their regards via text message.

At points, the atmosphere became heated as the Afghan and Japanese Akita contingents embarked on a vocal discussion, but it turned out one was just bitching about the seating arrangements.

The ceremony carried on despite pressure from the local government, which was barking mad that this year’s gathering was being held on the beach. Grand Hotel staff reported that they had been called just a day ahead by the Prefecture of Nice threatening to shut down the event if dogs set feet on the sand and requested that all dogs present have their papers. Despite the threats, government officials did not show up to paw-lice the event.