The Montreal International Documentary Festival
“Where all stories meet”
The Montreal International Documentary Festival
(RIDM) is proud to announce the program for its 22nd edition,
coming this November 14 to 24. With 154 films from 47 countries and
numerous free discussions and activities, the RIDM is, more than ever, an
essential event in the world of auteur documentary cinema.
This year, the festival will present 20 world
premieres, 17 North American premieres, 17 Canadian premieres and
71 Quebec premieres. With 57 films from Quebec and the rest of Canada,
the RIDM is delighted to offer exclusive screenings of the latest films by
acclaimed filmmakers along with a wealth of films by new talents. Sylvain
L’Espérance and Marie-Claude Loiselle (The Song of Empedocles),
Simon Beaulieu (White Noise), Brett Story (The Hottest
August), Carlos Ferrand (Jongué, a Nomad’s Journey),
Marlene Edoyan (The Sea Between Us), Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh
Campbell (MS Slavic 7), Tasha Hubbard (nîpawistamâsowin: We
Will Stand Up), Yung Chang (This Is Not a Movie), Claude
Demers (Une femme, ma mère) and Denis Côté (Wilcox)
will present their films in the National Feature Competition.
For the third year in a row, the festival is pleased to maintain gender parity
among its guest filmmakers, and reaffirms its commitment to promoting women
filmmakers with 78 female directors (and 67 male directors). This
year, the festival will host no fewer than 42 international artists and 11
awards will be presented to the makers of the winning films in competition.
RIDM 2019 TEASER : vimeo.com/367254464
The RIDM is pleased to launch this year’s program with
The Disappearance of my Mother, the début feature by Beniamino
Barrese.The film is a portrait of the filmmaker’s mother, Benedetta
Barzini, a 1960s fashion icon and muse to Warhol and Dalí who now prefers to
avoid the camera at all costs. The film will be preceded by the world premiere
of Nitrate, a Quebec-made short by Yousra Benziane, made
as part of the Regards sur Montréal residency program.
The Canadian film Drag Kids will close
the festival. The film follows four colourful pre-teens with a shared passion:
drag performances. With a sympathetic eye, Megan Wennberg captures their
triumphs and moments of doubt as they seek liberty and self-expression.
SUPPORTING NEW TALENT
Grounded in the realities of life and cinema, for many years the RIDM
has showcased new Canadian and international filmmakers by programming
their first films. Among the festival’s international selections are Chève
Lavi by American director Sam Ellison, following two young Haitians
living in exile; Swarm Season by Sarah Christman, filmed in
Hawaii, immerses viewers in a sensory odyssey, following a mother and daughter
as they raise wild bees resistant to challenging conditions; and While We
Are Here takes us to New York, where Clarissa Campolina and Luiz Pretti
search for signs of intimacy in the modern city.
In 2019, the Canadian program features a new competition for
first features: New Visions. This competition will include Another
Word for Learning (Jadis Mariette Dumas) about the education, ambitions
and culture of a Kwakwaka’wakw girl; Cavebirds (Emily Gan) delves
into father-daughter relationships by exploring love, home and heritage; Sisters:
Dream & Variations (Catherine Legault) invites us to discover the
creative world of two artists with Icelandic roots; Don’t Worry, the
Doors Will Open (Oksana Karpovych) shows us Ukraine through its old
trains, as run-down as they are overcrowded; and The Eyes of my Love (Rui
Silveira) looks at an inspiring tradition in a Portuguese village. The new
section is presented in collaboration with Post-Moderne and the Société civile
des auteurs multimédia (SCAM).
This year, in addition to returning sections such as States of the
World and Portraits, which include strong films like Adolescentes
(Sébastien Lifshitz), a long-term observation documentary that follows two
girls from the age of 14 to adulthood, or Cunningham (Alla
Kovgan), a 3D portrait of legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham, there are 3
new sections at the 2019 festival in recognition of the particular
strengths of this year’s crop of films.
NEW FORMS OF ACTIVISM
Documentary is the activist film genre par excellence. The RIDM is proud
to present works in which protagonists dare to fight to improve their societies,
as well as films with a collaborative element in their production. The festival
is pleased to announce the creation of an 8-film section dedicated to activist
works: Resistance. The section includes films that inspire struggles for
change: Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger (Alanis Obomsawin)
about the unjust treatment of Indigenous children by the healthcare system; Advocate
(Philippe Bellaïche and Rachel Leah Jones), a portrait of an Israeli lawyer who
specializes in representing Palestinian defendants; and Ainsi
soient-elles (Maxime Faure), which profiles eight inspiring
octogenarian feminist nuns from Quebec.
In several other works, activism also means exciting new approaches to
filmmaking. The Moroccan film Amussu, for example, is
co-directed by the entire Amazigh community featured in the film, which
documents their struggle against a mine that is drying out their land. A call
to rebellion, Espero tua (re)volta (Eliza Capai), is narrated by
three participants in the mass student demonstrations that have shaken Brazil
since 2013, and revisits images filmed from the inside up to the election of
Jair Bolsonaro. Lastly, No Gold for Kalsaka (Michel K. Zongo)
documents an environmental disaster while borrowing formal elements from the
Never have we been exposed to more images and news coverage. Through a
selection of films focusing on history, the RIDM seeks to highlight fascinating
approaches that use archival footage to reflect on the political impact of
images that rewrite history, or that present research allowing us to make sense
of the present. The new History Revisited section includes 6 films that
take a look at history through fresh eyes.
A true visual historian of the former USSR, Sergei Loznitsa documents
equally grandiose and grotesque commemorations in State Funeral,
made entirely from archival footage of Stalin’s funeral and reflecting on the
political impact of the images. In the epic 14-hour Women Make Film: A
New Road Movie Through Cinema (Mark Cousins), we re-learn film history
through the prism of the remarkable work done by women behind the camera. Status
and Terrain, by German filmmaker Ute Adamczewski, presents archival
footage and new material filmed in the ex-DDR to highlight coercive political
measures implemented early in the 20th century, while Marceline.
A Woman. A Century (Cordelia Dvorák) looks back on the incredible life
of the wife of Joris Ivens and close friend of Simone Weil.
NATURE IS WATCHING
As climate-crisis alarms keep growing more insistent, it is more
important than ever to take specific countermeasures, and also to reassess our
relationship with nature. The new Natural Histories section, with 9
films, jumps back to the past with Space Dogs (Elsa Kremser,
Levin Peter), which questions the idea of exploration as well as our
relationship with animals. The new film by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Earth,
looks at the marks humanity has made on the planet, filming terrestrial
materiality and its upheavals. The Seer and the Unseen (Sara
Dosa) follows Icelandic activist Ragga Jónsdóttir as she fights to defend
nature against the construction projects that have been multiplying since the
2008 financial crisis. In the Canadian competition, The Hottest August
(Brett Story) is a lucid, empathetic portrait of contemporary American society,
from Trump to climatic warming. The international medium-length film Fordlandia
Malaise (Susana De Sousa Dias) looks back on a neo-colonialist
industrial project launched in 1928 deep in the Amazon rainforest. The UXdoc
section will also highlight environmental issues with SwampScapes,
a virtual reality experience celebrating the exceptional ecosystem of the
Florida Everglades, in which Kim Grinfeder, Elizabeth Miller and Juan Carlos
Zaldivar follow several experts on the region, known for its biodiversity,
against a backdrop of breathtaking images.
Laura Huertas Millán – Decolonizing Ethnography
A Colombian artist based in France, Laura Huertas Millán creates
formally and conceptually rich works that draw equally on documentary,
ethnography and visual arts, while questioning each discipline’s assumptions.
Her work on the decolonization of conventional ethnography is showcased in a
series of “ethnographic fictions” in which the cross-pollination of genres and
the use of fiction enable liberation from the colonial gaze, the emancipation
of subjects and the creation of new narratives.
Luc Moullet – One Step Forward, One Step Sideways
The enfant terrible of the French New Wave, filmmaker Luc Moullet
made ten feature films and some 30 shorts, from the 1960s to the 2010s,
creating a body of work as deep as it is atypical. Known for deadpan humour and
a critical, anti-authoritarian outlook, a DIY aesthetic and strong sense of the
absurd, Moullet’s films were praised by his peers (Godard, Straub, Rivette)
despite an approach that unsettled more than a few viewers.
The RIDM organizes many activities in conjunction with its film program.
These companion events enrich the documentary and interactive selections with
talks, discussions, workshops, concerts and special events throughout the 11
days of the festival.
For this edition, the RIDM will host a workshop on film and sound
design in collaboration with the Laboratoire de création sonore at the
Université de Montréal. Using the film Symphony of the Ursus Factory
as a starting point, the workshop will be led by three experts in sound for
First, Images of extremism will try to demystify the relationship
between images and the far right, in a discussion moderated by Benjamin Ducol,
head of research at the Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to
Violence. The panel will also include Isabelle Porter, a journalist at Le
Devoir, Samuel Tanner, professor at the International Centre for Comparative
Criminology, Gabriella Coleman, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological
Literacy at McGill University, and Gabriel Allard, documentarist and sound
designer (T’es où Youssef, La bombe).
Focusing on the relationship between art and ethics, the discussion From
theatre to cinema: documentary practices and ethics will be moderated by Patricia
Bergeron, who is presenting the hybrid participatory experience Hotspot
in the UXdoc section. Joining the discussion will be Philippe Ducros,
theatrical director, Kathia Rock, actress, documentary filmmakers Émilie B.
Guérette (L’Autre Rio, RIDM 2017) and Will Prosper, whose film Kenbe
la – Until We Win is in the Resistance section this year.
Screenings – Debates
After the second screening of That Which Does Not Kill,
director Alexe Poukine, Anne-Martine Parent, associate professor in the French
literature department at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) and
Laurence Olivier, a doctoral candidate in UQAM’s artistic theory and practice
program, both of the Centre Figura, will join the public in a debate titled Speaking
the unspeakable. They will field questions, listen to opinions and share
their experiences with the audience after a screening of the documentary, which
tackles the troubling issue of rape.
The Canadian documentary Conviction, by directors Nance
Ackerman, Teresa MacInnes and Ariella Pahlke, argues for a justice system that
promotes healing over punishment. What would you have needed in your life to
keep you out of prison? The reflections of the film’s protagonists, Bianca,
Treena, Laura and Caitlin, four inmates from Nova Scotia, will set the tone for
the discussion. Titled Rehabilitation or punishment? it will be led by
the film’s directors and Aleksandra Zajko, Associate Executive Director of the
Quebec chapter of the Elizabeth Fry Society.
VISIONS, an experimental and documentary
film series, will present works by the Mexican avant-garde feminist collective Los
Ingrávidos, with two programs of short films that delve into the collective
imagination, bringing together archival materials, Aztec mythology and
Emceed by Matthieu Dugal, La soirée de la relève Radio-Canada is a great opportunity to see short
documentaries by new Quebec filmmakers in a warm and festive setting, with the
filmmakers present. The Prix Radio-Canada will be presented to one of the six
directors by a jury of documentary professionals. The films will then be made
available on ICI TOU.TV.
Assembled by Le Carrousel international du film de Rimouski on the theme
of winter, a program of international shorts for children ages 4 to 9 will
delight the young audience. The screenings will be followed by a fun
educational workshop, including a snack.
To highlight the talent of young Indigenous creators and the importance
of the issues they explore, the RIDM and Wapikoni Mobile are joining forces to
present 7 X Wapikoni Mobile: seven shorts to be screened in rotation
before each feature film in the Canadian competition. These touching, original
and sometimes hilarious films reveal new voices and celebrate the achievements
of Wapikoni Mobile over the last 15 years.
To mark the 35th anniversary of the production company Rapide-Blanc,
a special evening will bring together the company’s founders, close partners
and key filmmakers, inviting the public to share in the company’s imaginative
world. Oscar Thiffault (1988) by Serge Giguère will be
screened for free as part of the festivities.
This year, the now-traditional public listening session will
present the French audio work De rue et d’amour by Julien
Baroghel. The session will start with the three winning short pieces from the
2019 edition of the “Le réel à l’écoute” competition.
The RIDM will also present the documentary video installation Dénombrement,
un regard sur l’incarcération au féminin created as part of a community
art project spearheaded by the Quebec chapter of the Elizabeth Fry Society,
featuring the protagonists of the work, members of the Art Entr’Elles
collective, in collaboration with director Émilie B. Guérette and scenographer
In a welcoming setting, Inis will present its documentary program
and documentary direction mini-program with instructors and graduates present,
and give the public the chance to participate in a variety of discussions on
the key ingredients for a well-made documentary.
Presented by Radio-Canada, selected excerpts from the
podcast Bienvenue à Cité-des-Prairies (ICI PREMIÈRE + URBANIA)
will be available for listening for the first time, taking us inside the lives
of young people in a rehabilitation centre when two motivated youth workers
invite them to take part in the Winter Classic, a day of outdoor hockey. The
listening session will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Marie-Ève
Tremblay, with director Gabriel Allard and other speakers.
The Jeunes pousses NFB X UQAM interactive school presents Bubble, a project that takes us to Montreal in
2050, in a world where climate change was not taken seriously, leading each
person to fend for themselves. There will be a public presentation with members
of the team on Tuesday, November 19 at 8 p.m.
The Beat Dox Sessions will be the highlight of several evenings
at RIDM Headquarters, with concerts and DJ sets. These parties are a chance for
the public and film professionals to get together in a casual setting after the
day’s screenings. This year’s program, curated by Pomeline Delgado, invites us
to dance to plenty of great beats. Dance the night away with Annie Sama,
Akpossoul, NOVEMBER, Bibi Club and many more.
The RIDM thanks its partners
The RIDM wishes to acknowledge the support of its institutional, primary
and associate partners who have helped make this 22nd annual
festival a memorable one. Thanks to the ministère
de la Culture et des Communications, SODEC, the Secrétariat à la région
métropolitaine, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ville de Montréal,
Telefilm Canada, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, Bell Media, Canal D, the
Canada Media Fund, Télé-Québec, FACTOR, Tourisme Montréal, the CSN,
Radio-Canada, Université du Québec à Montréal, Concordia University,
Post-Moderne, the Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia (SCAM), Studios
Saint-Antoine, Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, PRIM, BDO, the Cinémathèque
québécoise, Cineplex, the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and Candlewood
Quebec’s only film festival dedicated to
documentaries, the Montreal International Documentary Festival presents
the best reality‐based films, including the works of established directors and new
The 22nd annual RIDM will take place from
November 14 to 24, 2019.
at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Centre Pierre-Péladeau, Cineplex Odeon
Cinéma du Parc, Cinéma Moderne and Concordia University.