BEING GINGER (Scott P. Harris). 69 minutes. Opens Friday (June 6) at the Kingsway; also Tuesday (June 10) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
It's not easy being red. Director Scott P. Harris grew up teased and feeling unloved because of his freckled, pale skin and carrot-coloured hair. And now, going to film school in Edinburgh, he's appalled at the dating bias against gingers. So as a class project he decided to make a documentary asking random people - particularly women he finds attractive - why they don't like his kind.
It starts off like some icky, self-indulgent vanity project. But Harris, chatting with his unseen camerawoman, has an appealing, unpretentious presence, and he seems up for anything - including asking out a woman who says she likes redheads because of Harry Potter's pal Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Damian Lewis from Homeland.
The film gathers emotional weight when Harris opens up about being bullied, which left him eating lunch alone in the hallway and even being teased by a teacher. A bit of research opens up fascinating vistas for him and us: a website devoted to dating gingers, and a huge convention in Amsterdam for redheads and their admirers.
Harris uses cute animation for a few sequences but doesn't dig too deeply into the societal reasons for the prejudice or even offer a list of famous redheads. Those things could have provided a bit more context and increased the running time.
Harris hosts Q&As Friday and Saturday (June 6 and 7) at the Kingsway and Tuesday (June 10) at the Bloor, which is also Ginger Appreciation Day. (Redheads get in free.)