The most disturbing moment in Girls’ Night Out for me was not the sight of young women in tank tops funnelling booze. It was a quote from a student who said the lure of alcohol was so great that on a sunny day she would say, “Oh it’s nice outside. I want a drink.”
Now that’s scary.


Director/Writer: Phyllis Ellis
Producers: Peter Raymont, Andrew Munger, Barri Cohen

2016 • 90 & 60 min

An intimate, all-access journey into the lives of young women and binge drinking, Girls’ Night Out is a deeply personal point of view documentary directed by Phyllis Ellis (About Her). In Girls’ Night Out young women reveal not only how they binge, but why.  The film explores the glamorization of drinking through celebrity pop culture, target marketing by alcohol companies and how excessive drinking has become the go-to solution in this self-medicating, low self-esteem, anxiety-driven culture.

Binge drinking among young women is an epidemic which has become crushingly normalized.  The statistics are alarming:  Alcohol is the leading cause of death for women age 18-24 in the Americas.  Alcohol is involved in 9 out of 10 campus rapes. Nearly 14 million US women binge drink 3 times a month. (Source: U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Girls’ Night Out is directed by Donald Brittain Award-winner Phyllis Ellis (About Her) and produced by Emmy-Award-winning filmmaker Peter Raymont, with Andrew Munger and Barri Cohen. The film is inspired and informed by Canadian journalist and author Ann Dowsett Johnston’s best-selling DrinkThe Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol (Top Ten book of 2015 – The Washington Post).

With unprecedented access inside binge drinking culture, Ellis follows four university students engaged in binging, as well as women now in recovery.  She examines this prevalent and dangerous culture with the eye of a reporter, the curiosity of an anthropologist, and the sometimes-wounded heart of a teenage girl.

 Girls’ Night Out features the stories of women like Jen McNeely, founder of the popular website ‘She Does the City’. Now 36, Jen recalls going to the school nurse who asked her how much she was drinking; “it was like 35, 40 drinks a week. She advised me to go to Alcoholics Anonymous”.  

Kelsi Byers now a 28-year-old PR professional sought treatment after passing out and waking up in jail when someone drugged her drink.  And Cara McArthur, an actress, cites her attraction to drinking from ads and TV shows glamorizing pop culture figures like Rihanna and The Kardashians.

Girls’ Night Out also features Sarah Hepola, author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank To Forget, who highlights the power of the brand of single, empowered ladies “Suddenly you were Carrie Bradshaw – you drank a lot, you had marauding sexual adventures. You’re living the life.”

Inspired by “Drink” by Anne Dowsett Johnson (2013 Ten Best Books list, Washington Post)
& “Blackout”, by Sarah Heppola (New York Times Bestseller, 2015)

Girls’ Night Out tackles the prevalent and often dangerous culture of binge drinking and young women, with the eye of a reporter, the curiosity of an anthropologist, and the sometimes-wounded heart of a teenage girl.
— CBC First Hand
Indeed, Girls’ Night Out names the problem, but it focuses on the “whys” behind it.


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