In The Young Arsonists, Nicole and Veronica (Maddy Martin, Jenna Warren) are best friends who are struggling to survive their young lives. After the loss of her older brother, Nicole is left feeling adrift emotionally. Meanwhile, Veronica own pain comes at the hand of her abusive, alcoholic father, leaving her at the bottom of her own well of shame and hurt. Things begin to change however, when the two decide to camp out in an abandoned home that used to belong to Nicole’s family. Using the old shack as a refuge from the world, Nicole, Veronica and their friends begin to create a new home for themselves where they feel safe to explore who they are.
Written and directed by Sheila Pye, The Young Arsonists is a passionate, fever piece that unleashes the fire within the soul of its young women. On the surface, the story feels simple but make no mistake.
These Arsonists have heat.
Arsonists portrays a world of oppression and hurt and these young women must come together in order to survive. Ranging from their first period to their battle with abuse and toxicity, the film leans into the moments which can define a young woman’s life. In doing so, Pye’s film grapples with the complexity of youth, offering the sort of understanding that can only come from personal experience.
Arsonists is very much a film about the healing power of community, especially for young women. From oppressive church doctrines to the pain of home, every one of these young women is looking for a place to feel safe. Here, these women have the chance to take their voice back and scream with fury at the top of their lungs.
To hear our interview with the director and cast of The Young Arsonists, click here.
The Young Arsonists premiered at TIFF ’22. For more information, click here.