Private Project

High End Dying

When elite level chef Eloise Vaughn receives a scathing review from famed critic Alistair Brown, she invites him back for a private dinner service aimed at redeeming her name. Alistair accepts, and as the service commences, the pairs shared history is revealed, as are the extreme lengths Eloise is willing to go to impress him.

  • Helen Liu
  • Jordan Symes
  • Nancy Kamar
  • Melanie Germain
  • Moheb Jindran
  • Nhi Do
    Key Cast
    "Eloise Vaughn"
  • Stuart James
    Key Cast
    "Alistair Brown"
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 15, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    13,317 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Crazy 8s Gala
    April 15, 2023
    Competition Premiere
    Top 6
  • Calgary International Film Festival
    Calgary, AB
    September 23, 2023
    World Premiere
    Official selection
  • Hamilton International Film Festival
    Hamilton, ON
    October 27, 2023
    Ontario Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Vortex Sci-fi, Fantasy & Horror Film Festival
    Providence, RI
    United States
    October 28, 2023
    US Premiere
    Best Horror Comedy Short
  • Reelworld Film Festival + Summit
    Toronto, ON
    November 3, 2023
    Toronto Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Blood In The Snow Film Fest
    Toronto, ON
    November 20, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Helen Liu

Helen Liu is a Vancouver-based, Chinese-Canadian Writer/Director and Script Supervisor. Helen graduated from Emily Carr with a BFA and received a screenwriting degree from InFocus Film School. She is known for her short film Braised Pork Belly, which she wrote and directed, and played at multiple film festivals.

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Director Statement

High End Dying is a modern-day surreal horror inspired by an angry food review the writer Jordan Symes read online. The author's re-telling of their experience with upscale dining was so bizarre that Jordan felt it almost read like a horror tale. Thus, he decided his next script would be an actual tale of horror set in the world of fine dining; soon, a bloody version of Ratatouille meets Whiplash was born. In High End Dying, elite-level chef Eloise literally puts herself into her craft as her attempt to impress famed food critic Alistair descends into a bloodbath. 

When I first read the script, gorgeously bloody images and grandiose music rushed into my head. I strongly relate to the relationship between Eloise and Alistair. As a creative, I constantly have people critiquing my work, but it’s the comments from people I deeply trust that encourages me the most. The harsh notes push me to improve and do better work. The relationship goes beyond purely art and criticism, it becomes a personal connection that lasts. I knew this was a film I needed to make. 

Being raised in a foodie family, cooking has always been a big part of my love language. I naturally grew to love eating and cooking different types of cuisine. Food elements are a constant in my films; the more I learn about restaurants, the more I find similarities to a film set. Both have long-standing hours, rely on teamwork, and have high stress and tension. High End Dying puts a dark twist on the universal theme of pursuing one's dreams and passion, pushing it to the extreme, to the point where our protagonist literally puts her heart into her craft. 

High End Dying shows how people break down in an unhealthy work environment when they focus too much on their work and ignore their mental health and the signs their bodies send to them. I want this film to open a conversation for people who love their job and to have people thinking about their relationship between work and self-care.