Level 16

Level 16 is a 2018 sci-fi thriller by filmmaker Danishka Esterhazy. It follows a group of girls who live at a "school" which educates them about how to be perfect young women for families that they are told will eventually adopt them. Two girls work together to uncover the truth about their captivity.[1][2][3]

Level 16
Level 16 (2018 film poster).jpg
Movie studio poster
Directed byDanishka Esterhazy
Written byDanishka Esterhazy
Dark Sky Films
Release date
  • February 20, 2018 (2018-02-20) (Berlin International Film Festival)


An isolated and windowless boarding school teaches young girls to be 'clean' and proper. They are schooled in health and etiquette. However, two residents, Sophia and Vivien, become suspicious about the school's intentions after witnessing the late night behavior of security guards and the headmistress. They learn that they are not in a school for girls, instead, they are raised so rich "sponsors" can get the faces of these young girls transplanted onto their own heads, to make them appear more youthful. After learning of this by encountering the faceless body of another girl, they make plans to escape, despite being told that the air outside the school is toxic.




Filming took place in a retired police station in Toronto that was built in the 1930s. Esterhazy was given complete freedom to use and adjust the building in any way she saw fit, and used this to create a "very real and gritty" set.[4]

The film is slated to have its television premiere on August 24, 2019 on CBC Television.[5][needs update]


The role of Doctor Miro was portrayed by Peter Outerbridge, an actor who director Danishka Esterhazy had admired for years. Sara Canning, a friend of Esterhazy who played the lead part on her first feature film Black Field, was cast as Brixil in a role that was specifically written for her by Esterhazy.[6] Katie Douglas, who was cast as Vivien, was a young emerging actress who impressed upon her first audition. Of Douglas's performances, Esterhazy said "Every day on set she would surprise me — in the very best way."[7]


  1. ^ "Level 16's brilliant narrative strategy makes for an enthralling viewing experience". National Post. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Level 16 Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 27 February 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Review: Level 16 has shades of The Handmaid's Tale but loses tension as more is revealed". Now Magazine. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Danishka's Dystopia: A Talk with Level 16 Director Danishka Esterhazy". That Shelf. 15 March 2019. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "CBC Films Celebrates Canadian Features This Summer". Channel Canada, July 13, 2019.
  6. ^ "5 questions with... Level 16 dir. Danishka Esterhazy". Hye's Musings. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  7. ^ "Interview with Level 16 Director Danishka Esterhazy". Clout Communications. Retrieved 27 February 2021.

External linksEdit