Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 RIDM announces complete programming

After previously announcing the opening and closing films, the Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM), or Montreal International Documentary Festival, has announced the full programming for its 14th edition.

Included in the strong program of 115 films are Leonard Retel Helmrich's award-winning Position Among the Stars, Michal Marczak's At the Edge of Russia, Inside Lara Roxx by Montreal filmmaker Mia Donovan, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the latest in the series of films which became instrumental in securing the release of the wrongfully convicted group known as the West Memphis Three. While
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory had its world premiere at TIFF, this will be the Canadian premiere of the revised version that includes footage of their release from prison this summer.

The festival will present retrospectives of the esteemed documentarians Frederick Wiseman, Jørgen Leth, and Helena Třeštíková. They will also have tribute screenings for Richard Leacock, Gualtiero Jacopetti, and Michel Chartrand.

The 14th annual Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal will take place from November 9 to 20 at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinema ONF, Cinema Excentris, Grande Bibliothèque, Goethe-Institut and Université Concordia.


Montreal International Documentary Festival
2011 programming

Montreal, Wednesday, October 26, 2011 –
This year’s Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) will be held from November 9 to 20. For the 14th edition, the RIDM has reorganized its sections, the better to bring the year’s finest documentaries and works by new Canadian and international talents to Montreal audiences.

The 115 films programmed this year will be presented in three main sections: the Official Competition, Panorama and Retrospectives. The Official Competition includes the International Feature Competition, the Canadian Feature Competition and the International Short and Medium-length Competition. The non-competitive Panorama section presents a selection of the year’s major films, and includes four sub-sections: Special Presentations, showcasing the latest films by leading documentary filmmakers and the year’s most acclaimed films on the festival circuit; Horizons, which includes works documenting the world’s tumultuous events; Against the Grain, showcasing bold films on the frontiers of popular and underground culture; and EcoCamera, a selection of films with environmental themes. Lastly, the Retrospectives section gives audiences the opportunity to (re)discover the work of three major filmmakers.

RIDM will have the honour of opening the festival with Crazy Horse, the latest film by the distinguished American director Frederick Wiseman. The festival will close with Tahrir, Place de la Libération, by Italian filmmaker Stefano Savona.


International Feature Competition
Eighteen feature films from around the world, will be in competition for the International Feature Award, the Cinematography Award and the Editing Award. Several of the films have already won awards at this year’s major documentary festivals, including Dragonslayer (Best Documentary – SXSW and Hot Docs), The Tiniest Place (Best Documentary, Visions du Réel – Nyon, Switzerland), A Still Jacket (awards at Cinéma du Réel, Paris and Visions du Réel), Yatasto (Best Argentinian Film, BAFICI) and The Castle (Special Jury Prize, Hot Docs). Some of these films use interesting hybrid formal approaches, mid-way between documentary and fiction, including Bouton, At the Edge of Russia and La BM du Seigneur. Other noteworthy entries include the latest films by Mexican director Natalia Almada (El velador, shown at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes) and Swiss filmmaker Fernand Melgar (Vol spécial, which garnered much attention following its première in Locarno this year).

Canadian Feature Competition
Closer to home, 11 films are in the running for the Grand Prize for Best Canadian Feature Competition and the Cinémathèque québécoise Critics’ Choice Award. The line-up features well-known filmmakers from Quebec and the rest of Canada: Catherine Hébert, whose Carnets d’un grand detour (Notes on a Road Less Taken) follows a French public reader on an African trek; Gary Burns and Jim Brown with The Future Is Now!, a playful essay about optimism featuring Paul Ahmarani and a reanimated Sartre; Richard Lavoie, whose Quai-Blues looks at the disastrous deterioration of wharfs in several Quebec villages; and Yanick Létourneau, who takes us on an engrossing journey into the struggle for African independence and unification in Les États-Unis d’Afrique. This year also marks the arrival of several promising new talents: Carlo Guillermo Proto with the meditative El huaso, Mia Donovan and her eagerly anticipated Inside Lara Roxx, Bill Stone with the unique Work in Progress, as well as Marie-Ève Tremblay (Le voyage silencieux), David York (La guerre de Wiebo) and Xun Yu (Tales of West Street (Part 1) – The Vanishing Spring Light), all eligible for the Best New Talent from Québec/Canada Award.

International Short and Medium-length Competition
Eight short films and nine medium-length films, both Canadian and international, will be presented in this competitive section, which includes a number of gems: from profiles and experimental films to comedy and drama. Highlights from Quebec and Canada include Johanne Fournier’s contemplative Le temps que prennent les bateaux, the not-to-be-missed Ma famille en 17 bobines by Claudie Lévesque, the magnificent He Whose Face Gives No Light by Andrea Bussmann, and Tess Girard’s stunning A Simple Rhythm. Touching characters and colourful people are the focus of films such as Flying Anne (Netherlands, Best Short Film at Hot Docs and Visions du Réel), Out of Reach (Poland, award winner at Sundance), Hula and Natan (Israel), Moving Up (Iran), Ramin (Georgia/Latvia), and Armand 15 ans l’été and Bielutine, dans le jardin du temps (France, both shown at the Directors’ Fortnight).


Special Presentations
The Special Presentations include the year’s marquee documentaries. The latest from great auteurs such as Alexander Sokourov (Il nous faut du bonheur), Jacques Perrin (L’Empire du milieu du Sud), Leonard Retel Helmrich (Position Among the Stars) and Charles Najman (Une étrange cathédrale dans la graisse des ténèbres) will be shown, along with the year’s most prestigious films, including Jose et Pilar, a profile of the writer Jose Saramago and his unforgettable love affair with Pilar del Rio (the film is Portugal’s entry for the Oscars); The Look, a beautiful self-portrait by Charlotte Rampling; El sicario, Room 164, an unflinching portrait of a former Mexican drug cartel hit man who tells all for the camera; Nous, Princesses de Clèves, the story of a group of Marseille high school students’ adaptation of the famous novel by Madame de La Fayette, a film that was a hit upon its release in France; and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, the much-anticipated third instalment in the Paradise Lost trilogy, which has chronicled the legal saga of the West Memphis 3 for 15 years. RIDM is proud to present a cut that has been updated since it was screened at TIFF.

For those with an interest in current affairs, Horizons presents viewpoints from some of the most talented filmmakers. The screening of Karamay is not to be missed; the six-hour Chinese documentary, banned in China, examining a terrible tragedy that destroyed a small community. Other pivotal films include Fragments d’une révolution, a heart-breaking anonymous film on Iran’s Green Revolution; Impunidad, a denunciation of Colombia’s “Justice and Peace” law, which granted immunity to the perpetrators of massacres of civilians; Spectres, an award winner at FID Marseille, which takes a disturbing look back at the assassination of Lumumba in the Belgian Congo; and Prison and Paradise, the terrifying inside story of terrorism in Indonesia.

Against the Grain
Against the Grain lifts the veil on a marginal community that has chosen to live in Death Valley (Darwin), tells all about Irish pop-rock (Backyard), solves the mystery of strange plaques found in cities, all bearing the same cryptic message (Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tyles), explores a young boy’s fascination with the Hell’s Angels (Mom et moi) and even presents the singing of the five million verses of an epic Arabic poem (Sira – Chanson du croissant de lune). The riveting docu-fictional film Putty Hill transports us to Baltimore, into a community in mourning after a young man dies from an overdose, while Les trois disparitions de Soad Hosni reveals the turbulent life of an Egyptian icon through archival VHS tapes of his works.

RIDM’s “green” section provides food for thought on the relationship between humanity and the environment, from old-growth forests on Vancouver Island (Rainforest), to resources under the surface (L’or des autres), the American mythology of the Frontier and hunting (The Last Buffalo Hunt), to an old house threatened with destruction by expansion of the port of Antwerp (Un ange à Doel). Several well-known directors investigate environmental questions, including the great underground filmmaker Lech Kowalski with The End of the World Begins With One Lie, about the BP disaster in 2010, and Noël Burch who, with Allan Sekula, has made a masterful essay on the excesses of global capitalism in The Forgotten Space.


Frederick Wiseman, Jørgen Leth, Helena Třeštíková

Three major retrospectives round out the official selection. First, the RIDM will pay tribute to the legendary American director Frederick Wiseman, screening ten of his most important films, most of them on 16mm, including Titicut Follies, Law & Order, Primate, Model and Domestic Violence. The works of Jørgen Leth, a towering figure in Danish cinema and the director of The Five Obstructions with Lars von Trier, will also be honoured. Lastly, audiences will have the opportunity to discover the works of one of the greatest Czech filmmakers, Helena Třeštíková, who made the acclaimed Marcela, René and Katka trilogy and won two awards at the RIDM last year. All three filmmakers will give master classes for the general public and professionals (see the Special Events press release).

Tribute Screenings
The RIDM will also mark the passing of direct cinema pioneer Richard Leacock by screening an exclusive interview with Peter Wintonick. The festival also pays tribute to the late Italian director Gualtiero Jacopetti, one of the first “shockumentary” filmmakers, with the screening of a 35mm print of his cult film Mondo cane. There will also be a salute to labour leader Michel Chartrand with a special screening of Chartrand le malcommode by Manuel Foglia. To mark the screening of The Future Is Now!, by Gary Burns and Jim Brown, there will be a showing of a 35mm print of the original film, La vie commence demain (Nicole Védrès, 1949). Lastly, the recipient of this year’s Albert Tessier Award will be honoured at a special screening on the final Sunday of the festival.

The 14th edition of RIDM will take place from November 9 to 20 at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinema ONF, Cinema Excentris, Grande Bibliothèque, Goethe-Institut and Université Concordia. With the aim of extending its reach beyond Montreal, RIDM will also present selected documentaries in Quebec City from November 26 to December 2, in collaboration with Cinéma Cartier.

À bout de bras
À charge et à décharge
A Simple Rhythm
A still jacket
A Sunday in Hell
American Passages
Armand 15 ans l'été
At the Edge of Russia
Au revoir Mandima
Better This World
Bielutine – Dans le jardin du temps
Carnets d'un grand détour
Chartrand le Malcommode
El Huaso
El Sicario, Room 164
El Velador
Élégie de Port–au–Prince
Entrée du personnel
Flying Anne
Fortune Teller
Fragments d'une révolution
Good and Evil
Haïti. Untitled
He whose face gives no light
High School
Hitler, Stalin and I
Hula and Natan
Il Castello
Il nous faut du bonheur
Inside Lara Roxx
Ivan & Ivana
José e Pilar
L'or des autres
La BM du Seigneur
La guerre de Wiebo
La vie commence demain
Le voyage silencieux
Les États–Unis d'Afrique
Les trois disparitions de Soad Hosni
Lida Barrova's Bittersweet Memories
Lost Innocents of Kashmir
Ma famille en 17 bobines
Mom et moi
Mondo cane
Motion Picture
Moving Up
My Freedom, Your Freedom
New scenes from america
No blood in my body
Nous, Princesses de Clèves
Out of reach
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Position Among the Stars
Prison and Paradise
Putty Hill
Qu'ils reposent en révolte (Des figures de guerres)
Salut, Richard Leacock !
Sira – Chanson du croissant de lune
Solar System
TAHRIR, Place de la Libération
Terre et chocolat
Territoire Perdu
The Door of No Return
The End Of The World Begins With One Lie
The Forgotten Space
The Future is Now!
The Last Buffalo Hunt
The Perfect Human
The Tiniest place
The Vanishing Spring Light
Un Ange à Doel
Une étrange cathédrale dans la graisse des ténèbres
Vol spécial
Work in Progress

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