Therapy Dogs – Mississauga shot film offers real life depiction of high school life pre-pandemic
A pair of Mississauga guerrilla-style young student filmmakers have beaten the odds, and have been selected to premiere their low-budget indie flick as part of the Narrative Features category at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, taking place online from January 27 to February 6, 2022.
Therapy Dogs takes viewers inside Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, as creators/friends Ethan Eng and Justin Morrice supposedly secretly made his film during their senior year there in 2019, by pretending they were making a yearbook video. These two students are trying to make sense of their high school existence, in what will be the last chapter of their teenage lives, and the beginning of adulthood. While this might be seen as a documentary of sorts, it is soon evident that the film is well scripted, and is likely more akin to a mockumentary in the style of Spinal Tap. The pair were actually only 16 years old when they starting work on the film in 2017.
The resulting final product is a fast-moving, multi-genre, spliced up film that sometimes feels like watching several shorter films that rollover into one, seemingly unrelated, yet conclusively cohesive. Perfect for the ADD generation of Tweeters and Chatters. The title of the track is even referenced in one of those scenes that just appear and disappear without apparent reason. Eng is constantly roaming with his camera on, and there are a few occasions where he’s asked if he is filming, and he outright says no. I’d be wary of doing this in any future productions for fear of being sued, unless he wants to continue in the Michael Moore world of factual fiction.
There are the usual teenage stunts, mischief, and foolery, along with some riveting real-life moments, and trippy stoner scenes. It’s as real as it gets without actually being a fellow student.Exploring teenage suburbia in a no-brakes adventure, questions arise whether there’s more to their lives than simply growing up. In the end, this is well-executed first attempt at creating a feature length film, and they all live happily ever after their graduating prom…or do they?
Matthew Miller and Matt Johnson executive produced, who took Slamdance by storm in 2013 with their debut feature “The Dirties”, and Sundance in 2016 with “Operation Avalanche”. They were also behind Nirvanna The Band The Show. Toronto collective shy kids produced, along with a soundtrack of indie artists that includes Sam Ray, Show Me the Body and Morgan Powers, among others.
Catch this film, along with many others, as part of the online Slamdance Film Festival streaming January 27 to February 6, 2022. All-access passes are only $10, less than the price of seeing one film at a theatre!
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.