Benji Off The Leash

Valley Center, CA - “We needed a dog that could express genuine emotion, a dog who could show anxiety, fear, happiness, warmth and love... a dog that could literally act.” These were the words of Joe Camp, Benji's creator, when he was searching for a dog to play the original Benji. From that beginning, Benji's fame has extended around the globe. From Japan to Italy, from Australia to France, he has become the World's Most Huggable Hero. He has traveled in France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Germany, Canada, Puerto Rico, South America, Hawaii and the Far East. He was the second animal to be inducted into the American Humane's Animal Actors Hall of Fame (Lassie was the first.); he has twice received the American Guild of Variety Artists' Georgie Award as the Top Animal Entertainer of the year; his motion picture theme song “I Feel Love” won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award and, along with Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks, he has been voted one of the ten most popular performers in the United States by Performer Q survey. And because he is the primary three-dimensional character in Benji films, because you live the stories in Benji's eyes, in Benji's heart and soul, numerous critics have suggested he should be given an Oscar for his acting. In the fall of 2001, Camp began the search for a new Benji (Benji # 4), this time searching in animal shelters all across the country. The original Benji was adopted from a shelter and because of that, according to the American Humane Association, over one million dogs were adopted around the country. After four months of searching, the new Benji was eventually adopted from the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport, Mississippi. The mixed-breed terrier had been in the shelter for only two days when Camp came to town to see another dog in the shelter whose picture had been sent to him. Less than five weeks after being rescued from the streets, the floppy-eared star was featured on ABC's Primetime Thursday and Good Morning America, and now has made her first movie, Benji Off the Leash, a new breed of Benji movie on serious subjects yet with more comedy than any before. According to early reviews and test screenings, it's “the best Benji movie ever.” “This pup is definitely the brightest and most intuitive we've ever had,” says Camp who also wrote and directed the new film. “And, parenthetically, it's a her, not a him,” Camp adds. “The character is a male, but the star is a female. I'll let her public sort that one out.” In Benji Off the Leash, Benji is out to bust the system because things are just not right. Camp says it's a story about heroes. Three unlikely, unsuspecting souls who come face-to-face with that moment in their lives when they must stand and be counted. For Sheldon, it's difficult because he doesn't appear to be the brightest guy in the world (although he might be the funniest). For Colby, it's even more difficult because he's only 14 years old, and up against enormous odds. For Benji, it's almost impossible... because, after all, he's just a dog, lost and alone, with nothing but a belligerent bird and a bungling stray mutt to help. A band of unlikely comrades, brought together by the least likely of the bunch, for a common, courageous purpose. Things change and lives are saved because this new star from an animal shelter is off the leash! August 20th.



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