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Indie Low Budget Feature Lands Historic Theatrical Release

The Year of the Dog, Heartwarming Story About Connection and Healing, in Theatres February 24

BOZEMAN, Mont.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The award-winning independent feature The Year of the Dog opens February 24 in over 100 theaters nationwide, marking a post-Covid milestone for indie films. Brandon Smith, President of Montana-based film distribution company Nova Vento Entertainment, says, “We are thrilled to release this heartwarming dog film nationally, which, according to our accounting, would be one of the widest theatrical releases for a drama of this budget in the past decade. This authentic ‘made-in-Montana’ story, beautifully shot on location in Bozeman, Livingston, and Paradise Valley, is a must-see for the big screen and exactly the kind of movie we love to bring to audiences.”

The Year of the Dog tells a poignant story about two strays: a loner alcoholic struggling to maintain sobriety and a rescue dog with an unusual athletic gift. Rob Grabow, the film’s writer, producer, co-director, and lead actor, who hails from Bozeman, says, “The film takes audiences on a touching journey of forgiveness, finding purpose, being vulnerable, making connections, and ultimately healing. The movie’s themes are universal — alcoholism and recovery, healing through connection, the remarkable love of a dog, and the struggle to repair damaged relationships when we’ve hit rock bottom — and resonate with large niche groups: dog lovers, veterans, indigenous communities, and addiction recovery groups.

Actor Jeff Bridges, who maintains a home in Montana, calls The Year of the Dog “a film about important subjects — substance abuse, the special human/canine bond, and love … [It] addresses these important subjects in a skilled and informed way. I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more from Rob Grabow.”

Billings Gazette film critic Jake Iverson writes, “The true breakout star on the Montana cinema scene…is Caleb…a husky blessed with the baby blue eyes of Paul Newman and the up-for-anything energetic charm of Jimmy Stewart.” Caleb, a 9-month-old, Siberian Husky rescue, who had been shuffled between multiple foster homes and animal shelters for being “too much dog” or “too energetic,” was discovered by Jon Van Dyke, a veteran exotic and domestic animal trainer with more than 35 years’ experience. Van Dyke was able to get Caleb trained and screen ready in 6 short weeks, using only positive reinforcement training.

On set, Grabow marveled at how spontaneous this amazing husky was in scene after scene. “Caleb’s high energy, his playfulness, his stubbornness, qualities others saw as his imperfections, are what make Caleb special and precisely why he was able to carry so much of this film.”

In addition to the scene-stealing Caleb, the movie features an accomplished cast of film and television actors, including two prominent Indigenous actors: Jon Proudstar, short-listed for Emmy consideration for his performance as Leon in Reservation Dogs, and Lakota actor Michael Spears, from Dances with Wolves, Reservation Dogs, and 1923, plus an incredible group of military veterans in both cast and crew roles, and a glorious array of canines.

The Year of the Dog (PG-13) is co-directed by Michael Peterson, Andrew McGinn, and Rob Grabow. Watch the trailer exclusively on Apple Trailers here. Production stills, cast and crew details, and theater release information is available online at, Instagram, and Facebook.

About Nova Vento Entertainment

Nova Vento Entertainment is a theatrical distribution company based in the United States focused on US theatrical releases of independent films into independent theaters. Nova Vento currently releases 1-2 movies a month in US theaters.


Alison Graham



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