Newcomers shine at the 22nd RIDM

The 22nd annual Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) ended on Sunday, Nov. 24. Once again, Quebec’s biggest all-documentary festival brought together devotees of reality-based cinema for 154 works from 47 countries, presented in 175 sessions, of which 46 were sold out. There were also numerous festive parallel activities. This year, the festival had the honour of hosting 115 international artists, who met their audience.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival was the strong presence of women, who made up nearly 54% of directors of films in the program, for the RIDM’s third consecutive year of gender parity. Numerous activities were dedicated to the new generation of artists: a new Canadian feature competition, the Soirée de la relève Radio-Canada and the screening of a short film from the Wapikoni Mobile to open each Canadian feature presentation.

Both forward-looking and mindful of the past, the RIDM presented retrospectives of Luc Moullet, one of the French New Wave’s most creative filmmakers, Laura Huertas Millán, a young Colombian filmmaker based in France whose work is both avant-garde and profoundly political and the Mexican feminist collective Los Ingrávidos. These special programs included two master classes.

With the opening and closing films, The Disappearance of My Mother and Drag Kids, setting the tone, many of the films in this year’s program focused on questions of identity, gender and territory. Present.Perfect. and Heimat is a Space in Time, the International Competition winners, took novel looks at China and Germany respectively, while Une femme, ma mère, winner of the Canadian Grand Prize, captured the complexity of a Quebec woman’s life since the 1950s. The Audience Award winner, Kenbe la, Until We Win, is an inspiring portrait of a Montreal-based Haitian activist. Also noteworthy was the screening and debate session for That Which Does Not Kill, a hard-hitting film about sexual abuse. Inspiring protagonists and politically aware films were the cornerstones of a 22nd annual RIDM that highlighted the originality and relevance of documentary cinema.

Forum RIDM recap

Forum RIDM (formerly Doc Circuit Montreeal) took place from November 16 to 20. Nearly 700 professionals attended the five-day Forum, along with almost 500 guests, including 85 from abroad. With its refreshed format, Forum RIDM was a clear success thanks to its study groups and focus on co-production with Europe.

Documentary professionals attended 19 workshops and talks, 16 networking activities, 6 grant sessions, 2 pitch activities and one rough cut session in which a filmmaker and producer presented their film at the editing stage to a panel of high-profile international experts. The One-on-One, Forum RIDM’s marquee activity, brought together 94 decision makers and 146 participants for 1343 business meetings.

The opening breakfast, with British journalist Robert Fisk in conversation with Le Devoir editor Brian Myles, kicked off the 15th annual Forum RIDM. Other activities included discussion groups on topics such as international co-production, distribution and the inclusion of under-represented groups in the film industry. The new format made it possible to explore each topic in depth, including discussions of concrete solutions. The two-year exchange QC+BY DOC COPROD continued with the participation of a delegation of Bavarian producers in the Forum’s activities and in several closed-door workshops.

For the sixth edition of the Talent Lab presented by Netflix, several grants were awarded to francophone and anglophone participants: a $10,000 support grant from Canal D, an award from the ONF’s French-language studio valued at $9,000, one from the NFB’s English-language studio valued at $2,500, and a $5,000 support grant from CineGround. International decision makers came out in force, with representatives from Netflix, the Sundance Institute, Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel, France Télévisions, ARTE France, CNC, FICUNAM, BFI London Film Festival, Ambulante, Ouaga Film Lab, Sideways Film, Grasshopper Film, Women Make Movies and Windrose.

  • The 23rd annual RIDM will take place in November 2020.
  • Information: ridm.ca

—Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)

—AB

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