A new coming-of-age film captures the essence of the human experience
By Isabella West, Arts Editor
Content warning: themes of suicide
Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person won the Grand Jury Prize for the RBC Emerging Canadian Artist Award. This award is given to a Canadian director who creates the best first or second-narrative feature film. The jury members for this prize selected Louis-Seize’s film because of its mixture of comedy, drama, and horror which drew audiences in both emotionally and cinematically by her crafted world and characters.
CIFF welcomed over 28,000 audience members for the 24th annual edition. Every year, audiences are invited to vote for the CIFF Audience Choice Awards and this season, Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person was voted as the best Canadian Narrative Feature for the Audience Choice Award.
When Sasha’s birthday present is killed by her family, she quickly closes herself off to accepting her own nature— until her parents leave her no choice.
Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person is a coming-of-age romantic comedy that explores the need for connection in a nocturnal comedic sense.
This French-Canadian film screened at the Calgary International Film Festival (CIFF) on Sept. 28, and has had much success at other film festivals around Canada.
Ariane Louis-Seize, director and co-screenwriter of Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person said that she has always loved vampire and supernatural storylines— but more in the sense of coming-of-age, indie films rather than box office films.
Louis-Seize further explained that she likes to mix tones and thinks that there is a lot of creative freedom in playing with the lightness of mumblecore films while mixing in her own take on vampire storylines.
“In tragedy, you can find some humor in it and in fun situations, sometimes there’s sadness,” said Louis-Seize.
Sasha, the main character in the film, is a vampire who refuses to kill after experiencing a traumatic event at a young age. But, as the years go on, Sasha’s parents grow frustrated with her inability to accept her nature and cut off her blood supply— forcing her to either accept who she is or suffer the consequences of not having her life-giving sustenance.
Once Sasha ventures out on her own, she meets a boy, Paul, who has been experiencing suicidal tendencies. Sasha and Paul make an agreement that would benefit both of them, but before Sasha can go through with it, she decides that Paul needs to complete his dying wish— leading to a full-blown night-time adventure.
This film truly encompassed the awkward teen experience while never ceasing to make the audience laugh.
Louis-Seize said that although this film is primarily a comedy about death— it’s also a pretext to talk about life and to convey that we all need love and crave human connection.
“I wanted people to walk out from the theatre and feel more full,” said Louis-Seize.
Leaving the theatre, the audience members were left with a refreshed perspective of the teen experience and the awareness that sometimes, all we need is a little bit of connection to overcome our burdens.
Unfortunately, the film will only be released in Quebec for the time being. However, Louis-Seize is in the process of getting it released throughout Canada.