Town Crier: Montclarion makes film ‘For the Love of a Dog’


courtesy of Annika Helmer
Cinematographer David Mai, director Daniel Julien, dog owner Meching Mai and rescued dog Nova appear together. Montclair resident Julien debuted his new movie, “For the Love of a Dog” this week at Warehouse 416 in Oakland.

MONTCLARION: September 26, 2019

It’s a dog’s world. At least that’s the takeaway from a new film highlighting Oakland’s canine companions. Montclarion Daniel Julien debuted his new movie, “For the Love of a Dog” this week at Warehouse 416 in Oakland. The four-footed members of the audience yelped with delight as they saw themselves on the big screen with their human handlers. But why a film about dogs? The idea was spawned by the death of Julien’s 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Simon.

“I knew that many dog owners probably had similar experiences during their pet life and also went through the same grief when they passed, (so) I decided to interview some of them,” says Julien, who found several willing subjects on the East Ridge Trail of Redwood Regional Park.

This is Julien’s fifth film, in collaboration with musician and Hills Swim and Tennis Club Pilates director Therese Brewitz, who wrote the score. If you missed it, there may be other opportunities to see “For the Love of a Dog.”

“The film is just under an hour and designed for television,” says Julien, “but at this time we are applying to various film festivals around the country.”

Around town: There are probably a dozen places to get your morning caffeine fix in Montclair. But coffee with an artist’s flair is harder to find. Thyda Yim still makes those delicate leaf designs on her lattes and mochas, which have helped make her Thornhill Coffee Shop a favorite for 14 years. She also has the kindness of a small town merchant — which is still a hallmark of our village.

And speaking of hallmarks … the clerks at Annie’s Hallmark are “small-town sweet” too. My husband still marvels over the service he got when he took in our son’s MBA diploma to the longtime Montclair Village shop. They found the perfect frame in stock and matted and framed it for him at no extra charge while he waited.

Restaurant bites: Temescal’s famed Doña Tomás Mexican restaurant is slated to open on Piedmont Avenue this fall as simply “Doña.” The name may be abbreviated, but the menu will still be robust, with some of Doña Tomás’s most popular dishes as well as brunch, weekday breakfast and an expanded bar menu.

Red Bay Coffee: One of the few black-owned specialty coffee companies in America, Red Bay Coffee, is moving into a three-story building in the Fruitvale district that was built as a bank in 1930. The old bank vault will be repurposed into a space for community story exchanges.

Animal tales: From rattlesnakes to raccoons … we’ve got quite an animal kingdom in the East Bay. Sometimes our wild friends wear out their welcome — like the rattler that showed up on the Saint Mary’s College campus in Moraga recently, prompting a warning from public safety officials. There was no warning for the disruption of my sleep the other night, though, by two owls that were calling each other in the trees near our home. Like the old “party line,” I could hear every utterance of their throaty exchange. The next day, I realized the reason for the racket — the owls were having a hootenanny.

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