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Free Puppies!
A documentary by Samantha Wishman & Christina Thomas

70 minutes, color, 2022

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FREE PUPPIES! tells the story of a chronically overlooked crisis that’s dogging the rural American South. Directors Samantha Wishman and Christina Thomas narrow their focus on Dade County in northwest Georgia, where an intrepid group of local women have stepped up to compensate for the lack of an operating animal shelter – rescuing countless dogs and taking matters into their own hands.

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"Truly, truly inspiring in the most powerful sense of that word." - NPR’s “Talking Animals”

"Free Puppies! is bursting with appealing canine co-stars, from tiny puppies to veteran hounds. You can completely understand why their plight has captured the hearts of so many humans, and you’ll be hard pressed not to tear up a time or two when their backstories are shared — or when they’re matched with eager adoptive families. It’s dog-gone touching." -Betsy Bozdech, Alliance of Women Film Journalists

"Like a friendly dog wanting to play a game of tug of war, directors Samantha Wishman and Christina Thomas’ charming documentary Free Puppies! pulls on the viewers’ heartstrings with a truly inspirational story. Best of all, the film is a great testament to grassroots movements who aren’t afraid to tackle a huge cause that they believe in." -KPFK Film Club

"Warm and inspirational...a joy to behold! Highlights the compassion, determination and decency of the heroic female rescuers. Decency, after all, is a strength, so in many ways this doc is empowering for women as all as for all human beings, young and old, with a moral conscience. You might be inspired to either adopt a rescue dog, to join the rescuers on their mission, or to donate to help keep their mission afloat. Free Puppies! will make you stand up and cheer!" -NYC Movie Guru

"It would be easy to simply call Free Puppies! one of the truly feel-good docs of 2022, though I can't really say that such a description really describes this absolutely engaging and entertaining feature doc from First Run Features. However, Free Puppies! is a documentary with a mission and that mission comes vividly to life not just in ways that feel good but also in ways that are serious, meaningful, driven, and sometimes even a little sad. There's never a moment when you don't absolutely love these women and their mission." -Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

"Animal lovers will find a bittersweet watch in Free Puppies!, a documentary on volunteer rescue groups working to adopt dogs in areas of the U.S. that are high in strays. Locals like Monda Wooten have stepped up to rescue stray animals and push for spay-and-neuter services in the absence of an operating animal shelter...the issue of shelter funding is a pervasive one across the Southeast that, coupled with the year-round warm climate and high rates of poverty, has created an environment with too many stray dogs and not enough kennels or homes to keep them in. The film achieves its goal in raising awareness for these volunteer efforts, casting a spotlight on a chronically overlooked crisis." -The New York Times


The New York Times
What Do Stray Dogs Tell Us About the South?

Time Magazine
How America Saved Millions of Dogs – By Moving Them

The New York Times
Everyone Wants a Rescue Dog. Not Everyone Can Have One.

Rotten Tomatoes


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