Benji's creator, Joe Camp, calls the new Benji the very best ever! When she's not making movies, Benji lives with Joe, his wife Kathleen, and their three children. "She's one amazing dog," says Joe. "Those eyes simply melt everyone she comes in contact with, and she is absolutely the brightest of some very bright predecessors." Film critics around the country agree, praising the floppy-eared star for her acting ability in Benji Off the Leash, calling the film the best Benji movie ever."
Benji was found on the back streets of Pass Christian, Mississippi, abandoned, lost and alone, wandering aimlessly when she was picked up by Animal Control and taken to the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport. This was the culmination of a three-month search in shelters all across the country for a new huggable hero to star in the next movie.
The original Benji was rescued from the Burbank Animal Shelter and the American Humane Association says that fact is directly responsible for the adoption of more than one million dogs. That's why Joe wanted to find the new Benji in a shelter. Now, every time someone looks into those beautiful eyes they're seeing the kind of unconditional love they too can find by adopting a pet from their local shelter. To read more about Joe's mission to raise adoption levels click:
A Voice for Animals, Adoption, or Benji's Buddies
The nationwide search, the introduction of the new Benji, and the making and distribution of her first film have generated more than a billion exposures on television, radio, and in newspapers for the adoption efforts of shelters and rescue groups everywhere!
See Joe and Benji in the Media
"Benji is on a mission to make a positive difference in the lives of kids and homeless animals," Camp says, "and to prove that you can put food on the table and make a difference in the world at the same time. The two are simply not mutually exclusive."
See Joe's Special Message to Parents and the essay on Advocacy for Children.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every Benji movie or video is unique because they're all told through the dog's heart and soul. No narrator. No talking animals. Just a floppy-eared mutt that expresses emotion better than many human actors. As one critic put it: "Never before have I watched a dog's face on the screen as he considered problems, discarded alternatives, tested theories, decided on courses of action, executed them, then reacted to their successful or unsuccessful results."
Camp is quick to confront any who might say (and some do) that Benji movies are too soft for today's kids. "Good, emotional storytelling is timeless," Joe says. "I am occasionally asked to speak to school classes, usually in the fourth to sixth grade range; and part of the pact I make with the teacher is to say I'll come if she will show a Benji movie to the class before I speak... because I've learned that when they've s seen one of the movies recently, I don't need to prepare a speech. There are questions enough from the kids to last all day. So I have had the opportunity on numerous occasions to watch entire classes of kids glued to these movies, sitting so quietly you could hear a pin drop. For an hour and a half. Totally involved. Totally loving it. Today's kids!"
As the June 3, 2001, issue of the Chicago Tribune reported: "Benji is one of the best family films of the last 30 years!" And in 2002 People Magazine listed the film in their list of Must See Family Movies.
See Reviews of Benji Off the Leash
More than 71,000,000 people have watched Benji movies in theaters, over half of them adults. Three Benji movies have grossed within the top 10% of box office grosses for their year of release, and more than one billion People have watched Benji movies and programs on television. Two of Benji's primetime specials have been nominated for Emmys.
See more Benji Facts.
Joe was recently asked by a journalist what he would like Benji's legacy to be. There was no hesitation when he replied, "The same as I would like mine to be, that we left this planet better than we found it."
Joe has just finished his new book The Naked Horse and is writing on Benji's next movie... with a horse, entitled Benji and Mustang Lost.