Director: Ingrid Veninger Writers: Ingrid Veninger Starring: Aaron Poole, Joey Klein, Jacob Switzer, Johnathan Sousa Runtime: 90 min Rating: 14A
Ingrid Veninger comes back to the Toronto Film Festival with her third feature film, The Animal Project. Known for her creative and original stories, the film is nothing short of delightful. The film tells the story of Leo (Aaron Poole), the leader of a Toronto-based theatre troupe. Leo is a single father of seventeen-year-old Sam (Jacob Switzer), with whom he is growing more distant as each day goes by. In addition to this challenge, he has to face Saul (Joey Klein), his former lover and member of the theatre troupe who makes use of every opportunity to spark up a quarrel between them. The troupe is clearly uninspired, and they have been stuck in an artistic rut for a while. Leo comes up with an experiment called The Animal Project, in which the actors must dress up in costume and roam around the city. Although the idea is met with hesitation, the group soon finds out that it might be just what they need not only to move forward creatively, but to sort out their own complicated personal lives. Veninger delivers a script full of passion with relatable characters and creative sequences. The cast works great as an ensemble, and the acting calibre in the film is highly satisfactory. The Animal Project is a simple film that exudes confidence but is tender and warm. Full of positivity, it is a refreshing film that will leave the spectator with a good feeling. Veninger is definitely a director worth following, as she proves the value of women filmmakers, and the great power of storytelling that they hold.