Photo credit: pixelleX

The Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)’s 25th edition ended on November 27. After two pandemic years, this anniversary edition allowed audiences to enjoy the festival entirely on the big screen. Film enthusiasts and the documentary community once again had the opportunity to gather around 157 screenings3 listening sessions and 5 virtual reality installations, but also during 9 festive evenings8 networking activities4 workshops, and 11 conferencesMore than 15,000 entries were recorded for all combined activities.

Held over an 11-day period, the 25th edition of the RIDM offered 134 feature-length, medium-length, and short documentaries hailing from 49 countries. Bookended by two important works, the moving Rewind & Play by Alain Gomis and Wochiigii lo: End of the Peace by Heather Hatch, the festival proved itself to be a space for free expression for filmmakers from traditionally marginalized communities. Once again this year, short films directed by indigenous filmmakers were screened with each of the seven films in the National Feature Competition, thanks to a longstanding collaboration with the Wapikoni.

With programming comprising more than 55% of films made by women, the festival is proud to present female perspectives from all around the world. The RIDM also once again showed its support for the next generation: 58 emerging filmmakers presented their first or second works in 2022. The Soirée de la relève Radio-Canada was back and awarded Isabelle Kanapé for her film Milik tshishutshelimunuau, this time with a cash prize of $10,000.

Enriching encounters took place thanks to the participation of 27 international guests, as well as 57 filmmakers from Quebec and Canada, who gathered in Montreal to present their works and exchange with the public.

This year, the festival presented a retrospective highlighting a territory; Focus Brazil: Navigating the Future. Festivalgoers had the opportunity to immerse themselves in a selection of this country’s national cinema, which was at the heart of the news this fall, with a number of feature films from the last twenty years, as well as a program of short and medium-length films directed by Brazilian indigenous filmmakers. The popularity of this regionally-focused retrospective has guaranteed its return for future editions.

Another successful new initiative, the Unframing documentary program, gave a special place to documentaries that draw on artistic forms outside the realm of cinema. Live performance was brought to the forefront with narration by director Courtney Stephens during the screening of her film Terra Femme; audio creation was represented by three listening sessions, including the premiere of Projet Polytechnique: Faire face; while the music and documentary projection came together to form What now?, a performance by Philippe Léonard and C.H.R.I.S.T. This edition also marked the return of UXdoc, the extended reality component of the RIDM, which offered a free experience of five virtual reality documentary works and attracted nearly 600 festivalgoers.

The RIDM’s programming was able to engage and resonate with audiences: 17 screenings were sold out. Among this number is the People’s Choice Big Fight in Little Chinatown as well as the premieres of The Myth of the Black WomanBloomOn the Other Side, and Geographies of Solitude. In light of the very positive results of this edition, the RIDM has the wind in its sails for the next quarter century.

The return to an in-person Forum RIDM

For its 18th edition, Forum RIDM reacquainted itself with its audience by welcoming more than 400 accredited guests, including 120 industry professionals. With its almost fully in-person format, Forum RIDM once again offered participants both a space for encounters as well as professional, practical, and strategic content. With a total of 24 activities on the agenda, guests were able to re-engage with the documentary industry by taking part in practical workshops, discussions, and several formal and informal networking activities.

International guests were certainly in attendance this year, most notably thanks to the Forum’s flagship activity, the One-on-One Pitches, which took place over two days: the first in a virtual format, and the second in-person. This hybrid formula enabled local filmmakers and producers to showcase their projects and set business partnerships in motion. Presented in collaboration with the Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC), the One-on-One Pitches welcomed 71 industry representatives from 22 countries as well as 92 participants, thus facilitating 768 business meetings. For the 9th year, Forum RIDM also hosted the Talent Lab, the emerging talent incubator presented by Netflix. Selected through a call for proposals, a cohort of 16 emerging Francophone and Anglophone filmmakers were provided with a uniquely tailored three-day program of activities. A total of $51,000 in grants and support was awarded during the 2022 Forum RIDM.

The 26th edition of the RIDM will take place in November 2023.

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