October is Bullying Awareness Month, and there is no better time than now for the official Toronto premiere of the Canadian anti-bullying film, The Dirties, which stars Matt Johnson and Owen Williams.
The Dirties focuses on Matt and Owen, who make a film for a class that depicts them taking on fictional bullies, who they call the dirties.
The film-within-a-film sees Matt and Owen confronting and killing their tormentors.
Things get even darker when Matt takes their project to heart and begins attacking the dirties he meets in his real life.
Being a victim of bullying himself, Johnson, a first-time director and one of the film’s leads, said bullying is an issue that he wanted to correctly portray.
“It was important to us because we have yet to see a movie that deals with bullying in a realistic way,” said Johnson.
“Most Hollywood movies take it on in a more goofy way.”
The film uses a more chaotic and unorchestrated approach than other bullying movies, because it has a documentary style and is 100 per cent unscripted.
That, according to Producer Matthew Miller, is the best part.
“You can relate more to this movie because it’s unscripted and chaotic, just like high school,” said Miller.
“Whether you’re 60 or you just graduated high school or you’re still in high school, this is an honest depiction of what high school felt like, and that never changes.”
Johnson says the language, unique soundtrack and realistic portrayals of bullying is sure to affect viewers, but just how they are affected depends on their age.
“I think it matters how old you are,” said Johnson.
“Young people will see this as a breath of fresh air, open-minded older audiences with see this as a good thing, but others will see this film as quite threatening because of what is said and done. But honestly, most importantly, I just want this film to kick start the conversation of bullying that people aren’t having right now.”
The Dirties premieres tonight at 8 p.m. at TIFF Bell Lightbox located at 350 King Street West.