Forum RIDM supports four Canadian projects at Cannes Docs!
The Docs-In-Progress, an initiative organized within Cannes Docs, as part of the Marché du Film du Festival de Cannes, a must-attend event for professionals in the documentary industry, allowed to highlight four Canadian feature-length documentaries in production.
This event was an opportunity for producers and filmmakers of four Canadian projects (selected by the Forum RIDM in partnership with Telefilm Canada and in collaboration with Hot Docs) to pitch and present an extract from their work in front of an audience of buyers, distributors, festival programmers and international sales agents.
From left to right and top to bottom : Nisha Platzer, Joella Cabalu, Justine Harbonnier, Nellie Carrier, Shahab Mihandoust, Jennifer Wickham, Michael Toledano.
An award ceremony was held following the Docs-In-Progress.
The 4 projects selected for the Docs-In-Progress - Canadian Showcase 2022 are the following:
Back Home follows a sister’s pursuit to get to know her older brother, 20 years after he took his own life. Through intimate recollections re-imagined on 16mm and Super8, and handmade visuals, she connects with the friends who knew him best – his chosen family. Floating between memory and present time, Back Home is a fragmented meditation on the transformative power of grieving in community.
Nisha Platzer is a queer artist and filmmaker from Vancouver who graduated from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión in Cuba. Her films meld sounds and imagery that you can dream and drown in. Her last short film, Vaivén (2020) won the best film award at aluCine Latin Film + Media Arts Festival and competed at festivals worldwide including Raindance, Festival du nouveau cinéma, FIDBA and Ji.hlava IDFF. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the National Film Board of Canada. She teaches handmade film workshops and is a member of Iris Film Collective. An alumnus of IDFAcademy, the VIFF mentorship program, and the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator Lab, her work can be found in music videos, narrative and experimental films.
Joella Cabalu is a Filipino Canadian documentary filmmaker based in Vancouver. Her films lay bare narratives about intimacies, identities, and relationships. Her first mid-length documentary, It Runs in the Family (2015) — a personal exploration of acceptance and what the modern queer family can be in the Filipino diaspora — won the Audience Choice Awards at the Seattle Asian American Film Festival and Vancouver Queer Film Festival and a special jury mention at CAAMFest for the Loni Ding Award for Social Justice Documentary. Joella has worked as a producer alongside women directors to realize critically acclaimed short documentaries, including Born Identities (TIFF 2021), On Falling (Tribeca 2020), Biker Bob’s Posthumous Adventure (MDFF 2019), Do I Have Boobs Now? (Slamdance 2017), and FIXED! (DOXA 2017).
- Director: Justine Harbonnier
- Producer: Nellie Carrier (Cinquième maison, Canada), Julie Paratian (Sister Productions, France)
- Countries of production: Canada, France
Caiti Blues portrays the daily life of a 30 year old singer, Caiti Lord, and the locals of Madrid, US, an ancien ghost town transformed in a landmark for hippies and marginal people. Through Caiti’s life and artistic practice, this film explores more universal struggles such as self-acceptance, the burden of social norms and the ideological challenges of her generation in the US current political landscape.
At the end of her studies in literature, Justine Harbonnier, who lives between France and Canada, directed her first short documentary film: Il y a un ciel magnifique et tu filmes Angèle Bertrand. Distributed by SPIRA (Canada), the film had its world premiere at MoMA in New York. Between directing more experimental projects, including the video poem Terrain Vague, distributed by the Maison de la poésie de Montréal, Justine has collaborated in the development of documentary films for production companies. Her second short film, Andrew Keegan Is Moving, shown in numerous festivals (FID Marseille, RIDM, DOXA), explores the social transformation of a territory.
A producer and director from Lévis, Canada, Nellie Carrier began her career as a production manager and line producer for production companies Voyelles Films and Art et essai. In 2016, Nellie produced her first feature film, Sashinka by Kristina Wagenbauer (FNC, Seattle International Film Festival, Canadian Screen Awards, Iris 2019). In 2017, she created the company Cinquième maison where she’s made several short films, including Amies (TIFF 2018), Cherche femme forte (Best Short Film at Berlin Short Film Festival 2020, three Prends ça court! 2020 awards) and Nuit blonde (Gabrielle Demers). She also co-produced Marie-Ève Juste’s short film As Spring Comes (TIFF, FNC 2020) and This House (Miryam Charles, Berlinale Forum 2022), both produced by Embuscade Films.
- Director and producer: Shahab Mihandoust
Beside its significance in the physical geography and its salience to the history, economy and politics of the The Middle East, waterways of Khuzestan in Iran remain to be a significant source of income for the communities who inhabit the region. Meezan (Scales) looks at the physical and emotional aspects of labor among these communities and reflect on the relation between bodies and scales.
Shahab Mihandoust is an Iranian-Canadian filmmaker who received his BFA in Cinema in 2014. His practice stands at the intersection between cinema and research. Inspired by ethnographic approaches to research and creation, his work deals with issues of identity and labor in relation to natural and built environments to study how social, cultural and political processes affect people and places. His goal in his practice is to ask how our everyday social and sensorial experiences are formed in response to current circumstances and transformations of our environments. Zagros, his first feature documentary, follows the artisanal creation of carpets across the Western mountains of Iran. Zagros has been shown and awarded internationally in several documentary and ethnographic festivals. Currently, he’s working on Meezan, his second feature documentary, that reflects on labor and everyday life in the border province of Khuzestan, Iran.
- Co-directors: Michael Toledano, Jennifer Wickham, and Brenda Mitchell
- Co-producers: Jennifer Wickham, Brenda Mitchell, Michael Toledano et Franklin López (Yintah Film Ltd., Canada)
- Country of production: Canada
- 🏆 Docs-In-Progress Awards: Think-Film Impact Award
Full project details: yintahacceess.com
Yintah (the Wet’suwet’en word for land) follows Howilhkat Freda Huson and Sleydo’ Molly Wickham as they mobilize their nation in a decade-long battle against fossil fuel corporations, the Canadian government, and militarized police. Building homes and a healing centre on the route proposed for a series of gas and oil pipeline projects, Wet’suwet’en families assert their right to protect their land.
Jennifer Wickham is Wet’suwet’en, and belongs to the Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) of the Gidimt’en canadian first nation clan. Jennifer grew up in and around Wet’suwet’en territory, and has actively participated in the nation’s governance system since 2006. Her background is in writing and Indigenous resurgence, with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria. She has worked as an educator, a mental health advocate, and community support worker. She is a founding member of the Indigenous Life School on Wet’suwet’en territory. From 2018 to 2020, Jennifer worked as the Executive Director of the Witsuwit’en Language and Culture Society. During this time, Jennifer managed media relations and communications for the Gidimt’en Camp.
Michael Toledano is a filmmaker and journalist based in British Columbia, Canada, effectively living at the Unist’ot’en Camp for the past two years. Michael has a strong background in photojournalism and documentary filmmaking, and has co-produced several documentaries with VICE Canada on Indigenous communities on the frontlines of Canada’s environmental conflicts. He is known for vibrant, ground-level documentation of social movements ranging from Black Lives Matter Toronto to No One is Illegal.
Brenda Mitchell is Chief K-eltiy of the Unist'ot'en people of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. She has lived in the Wet'suwet'en communities of Witset and Burns Lake all her life, and was groomed to participate in Wet'suwet'en governance from a young age. Brenda is trained as a Wet'suwet'en language instructor and has worked as a post-secondary education coordinator for the Lake Babine Nation Band for decades. Brenda is a grandmother of ten and this fight is about protecting the Yintah for her grandchildren. She believes that this film is an important way to tell her people’s story and listen to the words of her Grandmother Knedebeas who always told her children, “Don’t let no white man take my yintah.”
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, producer and editor Franklin López has been making political films for over 30 years, with a focus on social justice and environmental issues. He has published hundreds of films online since 1998 under the name subMedia, which have been watched by millions, broadcast on international TV networks and screened in alleyways and movie theaters all around the world.