Published January 25, 2022 on Article by Jessica Fonseca.

‘Therapy Dogs’ is a movie filmed at Cawthra Park High School by former students

“When Justin Morrice and Ethan Eng were in high school in 2019, they wanted to make a movie that captured an authentic student experience.

Now, Therapy Dogs, the film they made for fun in their final year at Cawthra Park Secondary School, will be featured at the Slamdance Film Festival.

“We really thought that nobody would see this film, so it’s very crazy for this to be happening,” said Eng, who directed the movie. 

Slamdance Film Festival is a notable event that features movies from independent emerging artists. The festival has shown films from famous directors such as Bong Joon-Ho, Christopher Nolan, and the Russo Brothers.

Because of the pandemic, the 2022 festival will be virtual from Jan. 27 to Feb. 6. Virtual passes can be bought online for $10 each. The passes let viewers stream movies throughout the festival.

Out of 1,124 submissions, only 24 films from across the world were chosen — Therapy Dogs was one of them.

The film’s name represents how the filming process was therapeutic for Morrice and Eng.

Eng said the only reason the two of them went to school that final year was because they wanted to film this movie. Morrice and Eng acted in the movie along with other students and friends who acted and assisted with video production, music, etc. 

“This really is a movie made with the community in mind. I’d imagine anybody who’s grown up in the area, in the GTA too, would have some kind of personal connection to it,” said Eng.

The movie shows high school experiences from prom, school plays, and life outside the school’s four walls.

“You’ll see things in this movie that you won’t see in your typical coming-of-age film,” said Eng. “We were fearless, and we were just embracing our lives; we weren’t trying to spin anything. This was just something we made for people our age to empathize with.”

Eng said they couldn’t have chosen a better place than Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga to film the movie.

“The school just has a personality of its own, and I think it really shines in this film,” said Eng. “You’ll see in this movie that nobody really bats an eye at what we’re doing because Cawthra is just on its own wavelength.”

Cawthra Park is one of two regional art schools in Peel where dance, drama, music and visual art programs are available for students.

Eng said former students, even some who attended the school decades ago, are reaching out to him that they are excited to watch the movie.

“That just means there’s a lot of feelings and emotions packed behind those walls.”

Eng and Morrice both hope to continue pursuing a career in the film industry and already have ideas in mind for their next movie.

For more information and updates about the film, visit Ethan Eng’s Instagram account.”