TVO Original documentary "17 and Life Doesn’t Wait" reveals the challenges faced by teen girls in the final year of high school

By TVO News - Published on Sep 04, 2019
Young woman looking in mirror wearing a graduation cap
Preparing for graduation in TVO Original 17 and Life Doesn't Wait

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On September 26 at 9 pm ET on TVO and tvo.org, TVO presents the World Broadcast and Online Premiere of TVO Original 17 and Life Doesn’t Wait. The feature documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Maureen Judge (My Millennial Life) explores the challenges faced by three teenage girls during their final year of high school. Expectations clash with reality and things don't always go as planned, but these teens are determined to find a place for themselves in the world.

17 and Life Doesn’t Wait offers an enlightening view of life through the eyes of three teenage girls on the cusp of adulthood,” says John Ferri, TVO Vice President Current Affairs and Documentaries. “TVO Originals like 17 and Life Doesn’t Wait provide different perspectives on issues that matter; and this film is a powerful insight into the conflicting expectations and sometimes overwhelming anxiety that young women face at a key transition point in their lives.” 

Shot over nine months, 17 and Life Doesn’t Wait follows these three girls as they grapple with family expectations, weigh university acceptances (or rejections), compete for scholarships, engage in the perennial primping for senior prom, digest the devastation of the Parkland massacre, graduate, and confront serious questions related to sexual identity, suicide and assault.

These smart and tenacious young women may hail from diverse walks of life, but each has the ambition to continue with her education and meet challenges head on. Math and science whiz, Audrey, straddles a delicate balance between two worlds – the independence of living and attending school in downtown Toronto, and the expectations of her suburban Asian-Canadian parents. Mich is a young artist, who is estranged from her mother, on welfare, and struggling with the loneliness of living on her own. And Kiki, an American high school basketball star and middle-class summa cum laude student, feels the pressure to maintain her own high standards on the basketball court and in the classroom.

“I made 17 and Life Doesn’t Wait to spark a dialogue around the changing roles for young women,” says filmmaker Maureen Judge. “I was particularly interested in how teen girls best deal with the conflicting expectations and values they experience in society as they grow into adults.”

17 and Life Doesn’t Wait will also air on TVO September 28 at 9 pm ET, September 29 at 10 pm ET and will be available to stream anytime across Canada on tvo.org beginning September 26 at 9 pm ET.

A special, one-night only screening of 17 and Life Doesn’t Wait will take place on September 19 at Innis Town Hall Theatre in Toronto. TVO’s Nam Kiwanuka will lead a panel discussion following the film delving into the topic of Girls Graduating Into A Future That Feels Right: Anxiety, Expectations and Opportunity. More info and tickets.

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