One hundred years left. Or so rumour has it.
The Last of the Redheads documents the lives and memories of redheads amidst scientific speculation that they will be extinct by year 2100. Director and redhead Heather Slepchik explores the history and experiences that redheads have faced.
Slepchik explores her own life as a redhead, and demonstrates how others with red hair have similar life experiences. Ultimately the question remains: will redheads cease to exist one day?
In an attempt to preserve their legacy, Slepchik hosts a “redhead-only party” where redheads meet each other and produce a time capsule with the hopes that if they go extinct, their history will be remembered.
Writer/director/producer: Heather Slepchik
Writer: Steven Hoffner
Heather Slepchik says:
“I believe redheads lead very different lives when compared to people with other hair colours. My life with red hair has been a constant commentary for those around me. People love talking about it, asking about it and staring at it.
I am always remembered as the redhead no matter where I go. As a child I was terribly embarrassed of my unique physicality as I was the only one in my school who looked the way I did.
As I grew older, I learned to appreciate my red hair and eventually grew to love how unique it makes me both inside and out. When I found out that redheads could be extinct in 100 years I took the news very personally and used it as motivation to share the “redhead story” I had always wanted to tell.
Documentary is such a wonderful medium to share stories and educate others through images and stories. Film, being a visual medium, seemed very fitting to document the lives and stories of an exclusive group at risk for demise. Through the creation of this film I have produced a literal time capsule of redheads. I have viewed the reports on the possible extinction of redheads and its fatalistic message as a positive opportunity to show a very exclusive story. The Last of the Redheads is to serve as a catalyst of dialogue for the often stereotyped and rarely discussed redhead experience.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is in the beginning, where I used close up shots my own hair, skin and eyes to show and define the physicality of a redhead. These shots are also highly personal and intimate portrayal of myself as an artist. I view the production of this film as a very therapeutic experience because of the interactions I had with the other redheads through connecting and listening to their stories of shared difference.
One interesting element of being a redhead is that due to our rarity of numbers, we don’t often speak one-on-one with other redheads about our experiences. This makes our stories on film a unique experience for both redhead and non-redhead viewers to witness.
I am also pleased to include the voices of Canadian artists in the film, such as comedian Derek Forgie and visual artist Victoria Cowan. Additionally, the film has music by Melissa Bathory and visuals by photographer and graphic artist Dunn Kenaani.
Ultimately, I produced this film to serve as a time capsule for the preservation and sharing of redhead stories and images. I will not be alive in 100 years and so I will never know if the scientific predictions of our extinction came true. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to host a “redhead party,” where I gathered 21 redheads in the same space as inspired by the Princeton Redhead Society, with red foods, drinks and orange effect lighting. This created a very humorously awkward and unique social experience for many of the redheads who had never directly spoken to another redhead before that day.
My film also exists as a vehicle of discussion for today’s redheads, so they can hear the stories of others who have had similar life experiences. And for the non-redheads it offers a glimpse into the curious world of a rare group. It is my hope as a director that through documentary as an educative medium, that the stereotypes of redheads will be broken down and the redhead story weaved with my own will be one to share with diverse audiences.”
About Heather Slepchik
The Last of the Redheads is Heather Slepchik’s first directed documentary short. She is a natural redhead from Toronto, Canada. Heather loves directing, story producing and editing documentaries.
A picture editor by trade, Heather works in video post production as a freelance artist and has been contracted by several Canadian television broadcast companies as picture editor, post production coordinator and assistant editor.
She is a graduate of the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson University, loves animals, art and learning French.
In 2008, Heather was the winner of the Vision TV/Mr. Flemington Scholarship for Excellence in Television Documentary Production.