‘The Dog’ to Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival: True Story Behind ‘Dog Day Afternoon’


On August 22, 1972, John Wojtowicz and two accomplices attempted to rob a bank in Brooklyn. Things didn’t go as planned: first, one of the accomplices ran out, not able to go through with it. Then, after letting one of the bank tellers go to the bathroom, John and his accomplice Sal found themselves in the bank surrounded by the NYPD, the FBI, and an ever-growing rowdy Brooklyn crowd of bystanders. What was supposed to be a gun-and-run robbery became a 14-hour standoff, with nine bank employees held as hostages.

The whole incident played out in dramatic fashion on television. As the FBI tried to negotiate with Wojtowicz, he revealed his reason for the robbery: he needed the funds to pay for his lover’s sex-change operation. As one reporter stated, “Nothing like this had really happened before.”

The story was turned into Sidney Lumet‘s 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon, with Al Pacino playing the quirkily charismatic and unforgettable “Sonny,” based on Wojtowicz. The film earned six Oscar nominations and one Academy Award: Best Original Screenplay for Frank Pierson. Dog Day Afternoon has become an American classic and a one-of-a-kind New York story that has inspired other films, such as Spike Lee‘s Inside Man and F. Gary Gray‘s The Negotiator. Many have tipped their hats to Lumet’s tour de force.

Wojtowicz is the subject of The Dog, a new documentary directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren. As they explained in a recent interview, they have been working on the film for over a decade—and they are now crowdfunding as they gear up for the film’s world premiere next month in Toronto.

Read the full interview on The Huffington Post:
The Dog to Premiere at Toronto International Film Festival: True Story Behind Dog Day Afternoon