Review: Spice It Up is a weird yet moving Toronto-film-scene project / by Karen Harnisch

Spice It Up started in 2013 as a teen dance comedy with filmmakers Lev Lewis, Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas shooting guerilla footage of teenagers Shivali Barot, Samantha Cole, Déjah Dixon-Green, Jennifer Graydon, Becca Willow Moss, Micaela Robertson and Sara Sue Vallee as they ran around Toronto, improvising their way through a series of goofy situations.

Version 2.0 of Spice It Up is a weird little comedy about buried feelings, personal statements and the terror of showing your art to other people. The film student is Rene (Jennifer Hardy CK), who’s struggling to understand why no one likes her thesis project, a GoPro movie about seven teenage girls who flunk a high school dance class and collectively decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces instead of going to summer school. There’s a simple reason: the film is incomprehensible, but Rene refuses to accept that; she made the movie she wanted to make, and she thinks it’s good, so why doesn’t anyone else?