Inspired by Matthew Miller and Matt Johnson’s THE DIRTIES, teenage angst, and a certainty that last thing any teenager is going to remember about high school is a great lesson plan, director / writer / actor Ethan Eng and producer / actor Justin Morrice hurl themselves head first into all the other things that makes high school memorable in his award winning debut film, THERAPY DOGS. Ethan and Justin are students trying to make sense of their high school existence. In what will be the last chapter of their teenage lives, the beginning of adulthood and beyond, the two filmmakers decide to make the ultimate senior video in the search for answers. Exploring teenage suburbia in a no-brakes adventure, questions arise whether there’s more to their lives than simply growing up. Director, writer and lead actor Ethan Eng joins us for a conversation on the remarkably accomplished debut film that masterfully blends together documentary, narrative, skater punk and high school “senior project” elements to create something wholly unique and compelling, as well as how his collaboration with fellow lead actor and producer Justin Morrice came about and hanging out with Executive Producers Matthew Miller and Matt Johnson (The Dirties, Operation Avalanche) changed the course of the project we now know as Therapy Dogs.
Director Statement – School sucks. While Justin and I were going through high school we were really confused about our lives, and everywhere we tried to find something relatable was met with nostalgic clichés. That’s why we decided to tell a high school story in the midst of living it. There are certain things that only matter when you’re 17 and we wanted to capture that. This is a movie kids today can relate to. A coming of age story without easy answers. – Ethan Eng
About the filmmaker Director, Writer, Actor Ethan Eng is a 20-year-old filmmaker from Toronto. His debut feature film Therapy Dogs had its World Premiere at Slamdance in January 2022. He is currently working on his next feature film about the 20’s and the 2020’s titled A New Age.
About the filmmaker – Writer, Actor Justin Morrice is an actor, stuntman, fighter, and punk. He is the embodiment of the free teenage spirit and the soul of THERAPY DOGS. He developed the story alongside Ethan Eng and starred in it.
“Therapy Dogs, is at once, a war cry, a manifesto, and an absolute jewel for those of us who love the energy and intensity of true indie filmmaking.” – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, AWFJ.org
“… conveys a raw authenticity that digs beneath the goofy surface with genuine insight and poignancy about adolescent angst and an uncertain future that resonates beyond geographical and generational boundaries.” – Todd Jorgenson, Cinemalogue
“A raw, impressionistic portrait of high school as it’s happening. Or, at least, as it’s experienced by teenage boys in a Canadian suburb, in all their wayward hooliganism.” – Brandon Yu, New York Times