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‘Dog Days,’ A New Documentary About Street Food in DC

2014 March 8
Poster for 'Dog Days.' Source: Dog Days Media Kit.

Movie poster courtesy of ‘Dog Days’ documentary.

Washington-based filmmakers Laura Waters Hinson and Kasey Kirby have released a well-received, partially-Kickstarted documentary, Dog Days, about “a novice entrepreneur and an immigrant hotdog vendor tak[ing] a joint leap of faith during the recession to keep the American dream alive.” The film has already been screened at several festivals and has been chosen as an official selection at the Atlanta Film Festival, which runs March 28 through April 6, 2014.

As Tim Carman writes in a profile in the Washington Post, the film tracks “Siyone, a refugee from East Africa who supports her family with a sidewalk cart, and Coite Manuel, an unemployed engineer who launched Food Chain to help vendors like Siyone expand their menus beyond dirty-water dogs, chips, cookies and candy.”

From the film’s press kit:

Plunging into the colorful, micro-entrepreneurial world of street vending in the nation’s capital, Dog Days follows two unlikely business partners as they challenge the status quo by offering a gourmet alternative to the ubiquitous hot dog. Coite, an unemployed industrial engineer with no kitchen experience, enlists his idiosyncratic, harp-playing Aunt Deane to launch a new business, “Food Chain.” Staking his meager life savings on the new venture, he hopes to help the city’s 300 remaining street vendors appeal to consumers in a competitive culinary market. In the process he must battle the DC government’s regulatory stranglehold over his industry. The stakes intensify when Coite starts working with his first vendor, Siyone — a former refugee from East Africa, hot dog vendor, and mother of four. She takes a risk and sells Coite’s jerk chicken wraps, straining already tense relationships with her suppliers. Will Coite’s gastronomic vision turn into a street-food sensation? Or will hostile regulations and a tough economic climate put his dreams on hold? Will Siyone’s desire to build her small business be enough to provide for her growing family? Filmed over the course of four years, Dog Days journeys to a world within a world where the underdogs of DC street vending speak for a nation wondering if the American Dream can still become a reality.

Watch the official trailer below:

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