What keeps you going? What do you enjoy about life? Alan Zweig's documentary 15 Reasons to Live is an uplifting, deeply moving film about what drives people in their daily life.
Inspired by Ray Robertson's collection of essays Why Not: 15 Reasons to Live, Zweig created his own list through short film storytelling. The list includes love, solitude, home, work and friendship. Zweig embarked on the project not knowing what to expect. "I wanted to challenge myself," says Zweig. "I wanted to do something positive. I often hear stories that are beautiful and inspiring. I wanted to create the experience I've had of reading beautiful short stories."
15 Reasons to Live unfolds without the traditional format for documentaries. The 15 stories are presented without a central character. While the theme keeps the film together, each story appears in a sequential order that's unknown to the audience. "There's no intercutting, no back and forth in the stories," says Zweig. "I had to go on faith that the format would work."
There are stories that are uplifting, tragic and comical. The variety of stories range from a woman's daily trip to the mall in "Solitude" to a group of friends rescuing a hurt animal in "Duty." Zwieg's favourite, "Meaning," is a story of individual discovery and wonder. The story reflects many of the great qualities of 15 Reasons to Live–hope, purpose and beauty.
"'Meaning' is my favourite one because the story is about making a real change in your life," says Zweig. "He's a musician who drank and fucked up and he decided he didn't have to accept that. It's really rare and hard to have someone change their life. That's really inspiring to me."