Annandale show host Giovanna Di Biccari brings attention to businesses with a heart for all kinds of creatures.
EmBARK! is not Annandale resident Giovanna Di Biccari’s first foray into a video series. Nor is it her pit bull rescue Willie’s first foray in the public eye.
If you’ve been following Annandale political news, you’ll know that Willie, a pit bull Di Baccari rescued from the Humane Rescue Alliance (formerly Washington Humane Society), has been running for mayor of the area for over a year now through an Instagram campaign—uncontested, since there is no such position. It was an attempt by Di Baccari to bring awareness to the place she has called home for two years. “I wanted to talk it up that [Annandale] is a diamond in the rough, and [I] had him run for mayor to talk about the good stuff around Annandale to bring more publicity to the area and [to] him as he’s a pit bull rescue,” she says.
But Di Baccari and Willie, who serves as her on-camera but not on-location co-host, are now bringing on a new project, emBARK! Produced by Big Picture Incorporated, located in Fairfax, the show follows Di Baccari as she travels the nation to showcase businesses that are giving back to animals of all kinds.
“My ultimate goal [is to produce a show] people will enjoy because they’ll see how many companies give back, how many places there are: pubs and breweries where you can bring your dog, companies and offices where you can bring your dog every day of the week. People will feel really good about these places. It is an organization that gives back to animals in some way, donating funds, or a place where they can go and enjoy with their animals,” she says. And it’s not just domestic animals—upcoming episodes will feature other animals, too. For instance, she has her eye on a sloth sanctuary in Oregon, and she’s found pug and hedgehog cafes.
EmBARK! began development in March 2016, and they filmed the first episode that summer. The debut show had Di Baccari featuring popular cat cafe Crumbs and Whiskers in Washington, D.C. She has also filmed at Lost Dog Café and Rescue in Fairfax and The Humane Society of the United States headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The second season is in preproduction with plans to shoot in Pennsylvania and South Carolina, where she is originally from and where she got her start hosting her own show.
Currently, emBARK! episodes are releasing week by week on Mondays on YouTube and Facebook. Viewers can also follow the show on social media outlets like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Current episodes run about three-and-a-half minutes, and there is a roster of minute-and-a-half webisodes.
“Our passion for producing quality video and a personal love of animals is why we started producing emBARK!” says Di Baccari. “Being able to combine the two will give our audience a show that’s entertaining [and] informative and [will] provide educational information.”
Di Baccari says she is not worried about finding content for future episodes. She has a book that already has a couple hundred ideas for businesses and organizations to spotlight, many of which she has gotten the go-ahead from. The only hiccup she has seen so far with reaching out to these groups is that some of them don’t feel they are large enough to step into the spotlight. Her response to them: “Size of company doesn’t matter; it’s all about the work they are doing.”