Canadian filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy’s (BLACK FIELD, H&G) dystopian, feminist sci-fi fantasy LEVEL 16 has been blowing up genre fests around the world – and returns to the Rio Theatre for its theatrical premiere in March, just in time for Women’s History Month.
The film follows sixteen year-old protagonist Vivien, who is trapped in The Vestalis Academy, a prison-like boarding school that specializes in grooming its young charges to both appreciate and practice the “feminine virtues.” She survives by dutifully keeping to herself, sticking her neck out for no one, until she is reunited with Sophia — the former friend who betrayed her. Together, the girls embark on a dangerous search to uncover the horrifying truth behind their imprisonment. Soon running for their lives, the girls must save themselves – or die trying. With Katie Douglas, Celina Martin, Peter Outerbridge, Sara Canning.
“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. A graduate of the Winnipeg Film Group, and the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab, Esterhazy 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.'” (Screen Anarchy)
“LEVEL 16 is a sharp little sci-fi thriller that does dystopia right, and like all the best bleak visions of a future world, it offers commentary worth sinking your teeth into.YA dystopia… With a HANDMAIDS TALE twist.” (Collider)
“Don’t sleep on this one!” (Birth.Movies.Death.)
Sunday, March 17
Doors 8:30 pm | Movie 9:00 pm
Advance tickets $10.50 HERE | $12.50 at the door
*Minors permitted in the balcony. Must be 19+ w/ID for bar service and main floor seating.
**Rio Theatre Groupons and passes OK. Please redeem at the door.
LEVEL 16 (Danishka Esterhazy, 2019 / 102 mins / PG) The teenage girls of the prison-like Vestalis Academy are meticulously trained in the art of being “clean girls,” practicing the virtues of perfect femininity. But what exactly are they being trained for? Vivien intends to find out, and the girls embark on a desperate search to uncover the awful truth behind their captivity.