Here’s what’s running at RIDM

Here’s what’s in store for this year’s Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM).

the square
The Square


Yesterday morning, RIDM announced the complete line-up for this year’s festival, which can be summarized with the following:

135 films
43 countries
180 sessions
20 activities for the industry at Doc Circuit Montreal
20 free music shows and DJ sets
10 awards
12 world and international premieres
14 North American premieres
21 Canadian premieres
41 Quebec premieres
90 foreign guests
18 Quebec filmmakers
60 decision-makers and panelists at Doc Circuit Montreal


The fest will celebrate documentary filmmaking from Nov. 13–24, starting with Jehane Noujaim’s The Square (Al Midan), about the political state in Egypt over the past two years. Closing the festival will be Annie St-Pierre’s Fermières, which explores the Cercles de Fermières du Québec.


International feature competition
Twelve international features will be competing for the Grand Prize for Best International Feature, the Image Award and the Editing Award.
E agora? Lembra-me by Joaquim Pinto (Special Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Prize, Locarno)
Haricots rouges by Narimane Mari (winner of three awards at FID Marseille)
Char… The No Man’s Island by Sourav Sarangi
Calle López by Gerardo Barroso Alcala and Lisa Tillinger
Vers Madrid (The Burning Bright)! by Sylvain George
Let the Fire Burn by Jason Osder
American Vagabond by Susanna Helke
Fifi hurle de joie by Mitra Farahani
Belleville Baby by Mia Engberg
The Mother and the Sea by Gonçalo Tocha
Nuits sans sommeil by Eliane Raheb
Tzvetanka by Youlian Tabakov

American Vagabond
American Vagabond

Canadian feature competition
Alanis Obomsawin (Hi-Ho Mistahey)
John Walker (Arctic Defenders)
Helene Klodawsky (Come Worry With Us)
Julie Perron (Le semeur)
Dominic Gagnon (Hoax_Canular)
Laura Bari (Ariel)
Ashley Sabin and David Redmon (Night Labor)
Khoa Lê (Bà nôi)
Dominic Leclerc (Alex marche à l’amour)
Joseph Hillel (Ayiti Toma, au pays des vivants)
Alexandra Sicotte-Lévesque (À jamais, pour toujours)
The selection of films from Quebec and across Canada runs the gamut from intimate portraits and political documentaries to essays, experimentation, music and docu-fiction, an eloquent testament to the diversity of our country’s documentary cinema.

International short and medium-length competitions
Eleven short and nine medium-length films round out the official competition. It is a powerful, awe-inspiring selection that takes us everywhere.

Short competition
A Story for the Modlins by Sergio Oksman
A Third Version of the Imaginary by Benjamin Tiven
The Blazing World by Jessica Bardsley
Jimbo by Ryan Flowers
Letter by Sergei Loznitsa
Lisa, Go Home! by Oksana Buraja
Redemption by Miguel Gomes
Solecito by Oscar Ruiz Navia
Magnetic Reconnection by Kyle Armstrong
Da Vinci by Yuri Ancarani
The Village by Liliana Sulzbach

The Art of Disappearing
The Art of Disappearing

Medium-length competition
Crop by Johanna Domke and Marouan Omara
Dusty Stacks of Mom: The Poster Project by Jodie Mack
The Joycean Society by Dora Garcia
Leaf in the Wind by Jean-Marie Teno
Le nu perdu by Tomi Grgicevic and Davyd Tousignant
Red Wedding by Lida Chan and Guillaume Suon
Silence Radio by Valerie Rosier
A New Product by Harun Farocki
The Art of Disappearing by Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosolowski


Special presentations
This section includes the latest works from the world’s great documentary filmmakers:
At Berkeley by Frederick Wiseman
Dans un jardin je suis entré by Avi Mograbi
L’image manquante by Rithy Panh
La maison de la radio by Nicolas Philibert
The Crash Reel by Lucy Walker
First Cousin Once Removed by Alan Berliner
Salma by Kim Longinotto
Father’s Garden by Peter Liechti
Finding Vivian Maier by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction by Sophie Huber
The Lebanese Rocket Society by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
Pays Barbare by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi


Global events are the focus of the Horizons section.
Les Chebabs de Yarmouk by Axel Salvatori-Sinz
Night Replay by Eleonore Weber
Mirage à l’italienne by Alessandra Celesia
Big Men by Rachel Boynton
La clé de la chambre à lessive by Floriane Devigne and Fred Florey
Québékoisie by Melanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins
Atalaku by Dieudo Hamadi
The Eternal Night of Twelve Moons by Priscila Padilla Farfan

Against the grain
The festival’s boldest section covers everything from Montreal’s roller derby scene to the many faces of Boris Karloff.
Derby Crazy Love by Maya Gallus and Justine Pimlott
A Masque of Madness by Norbert Pfaffenbichler
Art/Violence by Mariam Abu-Khaled, Udi Aloni and Batoul Taleb
Suitcase of Love and Shame by Jane Gillooly
Master and Divino by Tiago Campos
Rougarouing by Donal Mosher and Michael Pamieri

Derby Crazy Love
Derby Crazy Love

The Territories section is devoted to films that explore the human–environment relationship; it provides opportunities to better understand our planet and its inhabitants.
Sans terre, c’est la faim (No Land No Food No Life) by Amy Miller
Bidonville by Jean-Nicolas Orhon
Cloudy Mountains by Zhu Yu
Unter Menschen by Christian Rost and Claus Strigel
The Expedition to the End of the World by Daniel Dencik
In Hanford by Chris Mars
City World by Brent Chesanek

Beat Dox
The RIDM’s new section for documentaries on musical topics includes five films and a wide variety of musical styles.
Bloody Daughter is a portrait of the great classical pianist Martha Argerich, directed by her daughter, Stéphanie.
Brothers Hypnotic looks at the jazz/funk band the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
My Prairie Home introduces us to Rae Spoon, a transgender electro-country singer from Western Canada.
Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton documents the key hip-hop label Stones Throw Records.
The Punk Singer is a portrait of Kathleen Hanna, the feminist icon and vocalist famed for her work with Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.

The Punk Singer
The Punk Singer

Docs 2.0
Our webdocs section returns for a second year with seven web projects, presented in public with assisted navigation. The Canadian entries are Fort McMoney by David Dufresne, Ceci n’est pas Embres by Matt Soar and A Short History of Highrise by Katerina Cizek. Other works include I Love Your Work by Jonathan Harris, an enlightening webdoc about a lesbian porn production, and Type:Rider, a multiplatform game that immerses us in the world of typography, accompanied by an interactive installation at festival headquarters.


Marcel Ophuls
Headlining this year’s retrospectives is a major tribute to legendary Franco-German filmmaker Marcel Ophuls, including screenings of his complete documentary works, from 35mm prints of classics such as The Sorrow and the Pity and Hôtel Terminus to films never before shown in North America like the highly entertaining Yorktown and the autobiographical À la recherche de mon Amérique. This program will delight anyone with a passion for cinema or 20th century history.

The Sensory Ethnography Lab
A special program will be devoted to Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, including screenings, round tables and a performance. The Sensory Ethnography Lab has earned acclaim for its avant-garde approach to ethnographic documentary cinema with films such as Leviathan, Sweetgrass, Foreign Parts and Manakamana.

The RIDM will present a tribute to the Franco-Belgian documentary television series Strip­Tease, giving many Montrealers their first taste of “the show that undresses you,” a cult hit in French-speaking European countries since the 1980s.

Da Vinci
Da Vinci

Yuri Ancarani
Accompanying the presentation of Da Vinci in the short film competition, the festival presents Il capo and Piattaforma Luna, the first two instalments in the trilogy by Yuri Ancarani, one of today’s most talented and original Italian filmmakers.

Michel Brault and Arthur Lamothe
Michel Brault and Arthur Lamothe both passed away recently, and the RIDM and the Cinémathèque québécoise will pay tribute to both filmmakers with a special presentation of four shorts by Brault (Les raquetteurs, Québec-USA ou l’invasion pacifique, Les enfants du silence and Éloge du chiac) and of Lamothe’s Mépris n’aura qu’un temps.


Discussion between Marcel Ophuls and John Friedman: To mark the 25th anniversary of Hôtel Terminus, a film that earned Marcel Ophuls the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, the RIDM invites the public to an historic reunion between the legendary filmmaker and the American producer of Hôtel Terminus, John Friedman. The two men will talk about their collaboration on the film, the difficulties they encountered and the director’s career.

Inside the Sensory Ethnography Lab: Since last year’s Leviathan, the film world has been fascinated by the Sensory Ethnography Lab, the Harvard University research centre that seeks nothing less than to redefine the connections between visual ethnography and aesthetic innovation. The SEL’s main filmmakers (Lucien Castaing-Taylor, J.P. Sniadecki and Stephanie Spray) will discuss the laboratory’s philosophy and their own eclectic and exacting approaches to filmmaking.

Marcel Ophuls
Marcel Ophuls

Issues in sound design: Sound design is one of the least studied of all facets of documentary production. With special guest Ernst Karel, the sound designer for all Sensory Ethnography Lab films, the RIDM presents an opportunity to learn about the process and issues involved in the use of sound in documentary film and other artistic disciplines. Ernst Karel, Simon Gervais and Christian Calon will discuss the innovative use of recorded sound.

Documentaries and archives: Archival audio-visual materials have always been a crucial resource for documentary filmmakers. While often used for illustrative purposes, they also have tremendous evocative power that begs to be used. Numerous recent films have demonstrated sustained, original and even deeply poetic use of pre-existing sounds and images. A number of filmmakers with works in this year’s festival (Yervant Gianikian, Jason Osder, Jane Gillooly and Dominic Gagnon) will discuss these developments.

Screenings + debates: The screenings of Char… The No Man’s Island and Salma will be followed by debates. The first looks at the future of an imperilled nation, Bangladesh, which could lose as much of 20% of its land by 2050 due to rising sea levels. The second delves into the troubling issue of child marriage and its consequences, with special guest Salma Rajhati Samsudeen, the subject of Kim Longinotto’s Salma.

Meet the directors: Daily at 1 p.m. in the RIDM café, a film critic will interview one of the festival’s guest filmmakers (3450, Saint-Urbain St).


Ernst Karel and Émilie Payeur: Ernst Karel is both the Sensory Ethnography Lab’s sound designer and a multidisciplinary audio artist. He will give a performance to introduce festivalgoers to this facet of his artistic work. This event is a Montreal first, and it will be accompanied by a performance by Montreal-based electro-acoustic musician Émilie Payeur.

Public reading – The Lebanese Rocket Society: To celebrate the launch of a new monograph by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, the co-directors of The Lebanese Rocket Society, Joreige will give a performance-reading reflecting on the rewriting of certain historical events and the construction of imagination.


Beat Dox Sessions: Accompanying the music-themed documentaries in the festival’s Beat Dox section will be nearly 20 free concerts at festival headquarters, in collaboration with partners such as local music festivals Pop Montreal, M pour Montréal and Suoni Per Il Popolo. Confirmed artists include Passwords, Foxtrott, How Sad, Chevalier Avant Garde, James Irwin, Maica Mia, Deluxe, Technical Kidman and Seoul. There will also be a number of launch parties and theme events featuring DJ sets.


Kino-Pedals: Presented in collaboration with Quartier des Spectacles, the Kino-Pedals draw passers-by into an immersive interactive world. Every evening from Nov. 8–24 starting at sunset, the installation outside Saint-Laurent metro station will be open to the public. Four modules in the shape of the letters R-I-D-M, equipped with pedals, will trigger projections of short films on a large outdoor screen.

Type: Rider: In connection with the webdoc Type:Rider, this interactive, poetic installation uses video projection and shape recognition to allow users to interact with typographical characters that they move and arrange on a large magnetic wall. ■

RIDM, the Montreal International Documentary Festival, runs Nov. 13–24. For more information visit their website.

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