A dystopian all-girls prep-school holds a horrifying secret in Danishka Esterhazy’s dark sci-fi thriller Level 16, coming to theatres in Canada beginning March 15.
OPENING IN CANADA AT THE FOLLOWING THEATRES:
TORONTO – March 15 – Cineplex Yonge & Dundas (full week run)
CALGARY – March 15 – Globe Calgary (limited engagement)
OTTAWA – March 22 – Mayfair Ottawa (limited engagement)
WINNIPEG – March 28 – Winnipeg Cinematheque (limited engagement)
VANCOUVER – TBC – RIO Theatre
More theatres to follow.
.The walled-in world of 16-year-old Vivien is and always has been the Vestalis boarding school, supposedly a refuge from an outside world rendered toxic. It’s a neglected, antiseptic institution where girls without families are monitored, their day scheduled practically to the minute, and “education” consists of a constantly repeated list of “feminine virtues” – obedience, cleanliness, patience and humility – preached by a matriarch and propagandized in moral-hygiene films.
And, as per her age, Vivien has reached “Level 16” in her education and is ostensibly ready to be adopted by an outside family. But her friend Sophia thinks something else is going on at Vestalis, something frightening.
With an atmosphere that evokes The Handmaid’s Tale and Orwell, Esterhazy’s Level 16 has attracted major attention at genre showcases throughout North America, and Europe. It is a dark tale of teens discovering that their world is something very different than what they thought.
Katie Douglas (Mary Kills People) plays Vivien, and Celina Martin (Public Schooled) plays Sophia. The matriarch Miss Brixil is played by Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries), while Peter Outerbridge (The Expanse) is Vestalis’ doctor, whose brain child the clinic is.
A graduate of the Winnipeg Film Group, and the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab, Esterhazy (Black Field, H&G) is a fan of genre films, and conceived the plot of Level 16 a decade ago before bringing it to the screen.
“I love genre, so that’s what I wrote,” Esterhazy says. “And I found myself in rooms where people told me: ‘There’s no market for this film. Women don’t like genre.’ While I’m sitting right across from them, a lifelong genre fan!”
“I researched Victorian etiquette books that provided rules on how to be a good young lady. Which should have seemed dated but, often, seemed disturbingly similar to what we are still telling girls today. I also researched religious groups like the Obedient Wives Club, which promotes women’s submission, and that’s completely contemporary.”
Produced by Markham Street Films’ Judy Holm and Michael McNamara, along with Stéphanie Chapelle and Sarah Jackson-Inayeh. Holm also served as Executive Producer as did former OMDC manager of industry initiatives, James Weyman.
Level 16 received funding through Telefilm Canada, CBC Film’s Breaking Barriers Film Fund, the Shaw Rocket Fund and Ontario Creates. It was developed with the participation of the NSI Features First program, in association with Telefilm and the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, as well as the Harold Greenberg Fund and the WIFT NBC Universal Incubator. Additional production funding for the project came through federal and provincial tax credits.
About Raven Banner Releasing
Raven Banner Releasing is the Canadian distribution arm of Raven Banner Entertainment – a full service company specializing in innovative and compelling genre films from around the world. Past releases include Andre Ovredal’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe, M.F.A, Don’t Knock Twice, Baskin, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: The End of the End, Trench 11and Tragedy Girls. Upcoming releases include Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse,and Gaspar Noe’s Climax.