Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First films announced for RIDM 2012

The Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) or Montreal International Documentary Festival is pleased to pre-announce several films on this year’s program, giving a sneak peek at what promises to be an exciting anniversary edition. One hundred domestic and foreign films will be screened during the 15th RIDM, from November 7 to 18 at the Cinémathèque québécoise, Cinéma Excentris, the Grande Bibliothèque and Concordia University.

A number of not-to-be-missed films at this year’s RIDM are being seen this week at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). They include Mekong Hotel, the latest from Thai master filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a dreamlike documentary that explores the creative process behind a film. The Argentinian documentary The Girl From the South, by director José Luis Garcia, follows the filmmaker’s search for an intriguing peace activist he met in North Korea over 20 years ago. Far From Afghanistan, a film co-directed by a collective of five American filmmakers, looks into the war in Afghanistan ten years on by juxtaposing different types of images. And Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, by Brad Bernstein, is a rich portrait of the celebrated subversive artist Tomi Ungerer, featuring spellbinding animations based on Ungerer’s drawings.

Today’s announcement includes three Canadian films selected for the festival’s official competition. Ma vie réelle, by the late Magnus Isacsson, is a sensitive portrait of four Montréal-Nord youths; it is one of the director’s most memorable works. The festival is also organizing a special evening in tribute to Isacsson. A well-received entry at Hot Docs this year, Hélène Choquette’s Fists of Pride takes us inside a Thai boxing camp were Burmese refugee children go through intensive training. Choquette has created a work full of grey areas; instead of grandstanding or playing for shock-value, the film is imbued with respect for the young boxers’ courage. Lastly, Herman’s House by Angad Bhalla tells the story of a man who has spent 40 years in solitary confinement who agrees to participate in an art project by imagining the house of his dreams. The film will be co-presented with the Montreal International Black Film Festival.

The final three films being announced today are musically themed works co-presented with Film POP. In Grandma Lo-Fi (Jónsson Orri), we meet Sigríður Níelsdóttir, a most unusual grandmother and musician – and a true cult heroine in her native Iceland. More Nordic warmth and humour shine through in the Finnish documentary The Punk Syndrome (Jukka Kärkkäinen and J-P Passi), in which we meet a punk group whose members are mentally disabled. Finally, Charles Bradley: Soul of America (Poull Brien) is an intimate portrait of Charles Bradley, one of the greatest soul singers of our time, during the months leading up to the release of his first album.

The RIDM has many more wonderful films in store for its 15th anniversary edition. The complete program will be announced at a press conference on Wednesday, October 24 at 10 a.m. at the Cinémathèque québécoise, and posted online the same day.

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 talents.

The 15th RIDM will be held from November 7 to 18, 2012.

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