At Screen Australia's Family Film Forum in Sydney last month, director Kriv Stenders and Roadshow's head of production Seph McKenna talked the development of Red Dog and the opportunity presented by its sequel, Red Dog: True Blue, premiering Boxing Day.
In the video above, Stenders talks about the original conception of the first film – a $30 million feature starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman – and his desire to make something akin to "an Australian Amarcord".
McKenna discusses how the original book by Louis de Bernières on which the film was based wasn't big enough, commercially speaking, to impact Roadshow's decision to greenlight the film, and how surprised Roadshow was that Red Dog played so well to all four quadrants.
During the panel at Sydney's UTS, Stenders also previewed the upcoming sequel, and said that it was a standalone film that people could see and enjoy without having seen the first film.
He described True Blue as a "much leaner, simpler, more classical film", with a strong indigenous story and set at Karratha Station – "our Monument Valley".
The film had the same budget as the original, and the shoot lasted eight weeks, Stenders said.
While the original was the rare family film without a child as the lead, True Blue will be a classic rite of passage story, said the director, about a boy who arrives at a remote cattle station where he lives with a grandfather and meets various cattle hands and local indigenous boys.
Asked about a third film, Stenders said, "I'm pushing for a story set in Broome in the pearling industry. So [it'll be] Sea Dog" (laughs).