For those who know his work, Toronto filmmaker Alan Zweig isn’t exactly renowned for seeing the brighter side of life. Indeed, through his previous films such as Vinyl and I Curmudgeon, he has built a reputation for exploring life’s darker aspects, including his own personal struggles and vulnerabilities.
It might, then, come as a surprise to some to learn of his most recent film, 15 Reasons To Live, in which he instead turns his eye to what makes life worth living; the various facets of the human experience which make our time on this planet worth holding onto and cherishing.
The film was inspired by a book of essays of the same title Why Not: 15 reasons to live, by Alan’s friend Roy Robertson. As soon as he heard the title, knew he wanted to make a film based on idea.
Based on this inspiration, the film takes the viewer through a sequence of chapters, each one adapted to one of the fifteen themes in Ray Robertson’s collection of essays Adventure, Art, Intoxication. Rather than being an abstract meditation, in the film each point is illustrated by a portrait of a person and a particular experience they have had, which brings to life the theme in question.
The portraits are both poignant and revealing, and the end result is a heartening film of meditations on the nature of life and resilience that will leave you thinking long after you’ve left the theatre.
The film premiered at Hot Docs in May, and will be coming out to Canadian theatres this October. I sat down with Alan Zweig during Hot Docs in May for our interview.
To find out more visit www.15reasonstolive.com/