Montreal International Documentary Festival

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17 November 2020 Festival

The RIDM : Three new sections available from November 19

Press releases

Montreal, Tuesday, November 17, 2020 – The Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) is about to start its second week with a new selection of documentaries to explore at home. Starting November 19, the sections Contemplating DystopiaBecoming Oneself and Challenging Power (presented in collaboration with the CSN) will be added to the festival’s online platform and remain accessible until November 25.


Festivalgoers still have until November 18 to watch the films in the sections titled Disrupting HistoryExploring Nature and Seeking Communities (presented in collaboration with Radio-Canada). Note that a surprise film has been added to Seeking Communities: IWOW: I Walk on Water by Khalik Allah, a unique figure in contemporary cinema whose first film, Field Niggas, was crowned best international medium-length film at the RIDM in 2015.

The sections Redefining Intimacy (presented in collaboration with Cinemania) and Surviving Violence, available from November 26 to December 2, will complete this 23rd edition.

For just $15, the public can access all 11 or 12 films in a section, including short, medium-length and feature films. It’s an excellent way to democratize documentary cinema by improving access and presenting plenty of new talent.


CONTEMPLATING DYSTOPIA – available from November 19 to 25

These 12 films explore the strangeness in our world. From an unlikely road movie with the spokesman for a death cult to imagining the planet without people, from futuristic architecture to multiple nocturnal odysseys, these are creative films that put our reality in perspective.

This eclectic section includes a number of first and second films: Bile by Ira A. Goryainova (Belgium), a journey through history and cultures that examines the human body philosophically, as a political metaphor; A Machine to Live In by Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke (United States, Brazil), which combines documentary, architecture and science fiction into a transcendental trip to the heart of the city of Brasilia; Shānzhài Screens by Paul Heintz (France), about copyist painters who show us their lives and work; and Los Conductos by Camilo Restrepo (France, Colombia, Brazil), an uncompromising political film about present-day Colombia, named best first feature at the Berlin Film Festival.

Fans of experimental film will enjoy A Shape of Things to Come by Lisa Malloy and J.P. Sniadecki (United States), FREM by Viera Cákanyová (Czechia, Slovakia) and Tension Structures by Adrian Duncan and Feargal Ward (Ireland, France). Festivalgoers should not miss The Foundation Pit by Andrey Gryazev (Russia), a kaleidoscopic look at Russia on the edge of the abyss, where people refuse to be silenced despite oppressive censorship; and Me and the Cult Leader by Atsushi Sakahara (Japan), in which a victim of the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo sect meets the cult’s spokesman.

The section also includes three short films in competition: Armour by Sandro Aguilar (Portugal, Canada), Hole by Jaakko Pallasvuo (Finland) and Signal 8 by Simon Liu (Hong Kong, United States).


BECOMING ONESELF  available from November 19 to 25

12 portraits and self-portraits about how we relate to the world: inspiring and poetic existential quests that affirm multiple definitions of self.

This section has a particularly strong Quebec presence, with more than half the films being made here: the short films Lointain by Aziz Zoromba, Mazzarello by Carmen Rachiteanu, Métamorphoses by Nicolas Renaud and Six Pieces in Stargazer Album by Jiyang Zhang (Quebec, China), and four eagerly anticipated features: No Ordinary Man (Un vrai gentleman) by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt, Passage by Sarah Baril Gaudet, Prière pour une mitaine perdue by Jean-François Lesage and Wintopia by Mira Burt-Wintonick. The filmmakers of these four films will take turns participating in a RIDM Podcast session, presented in collaboration with 24 images.

This program also includes two first features by women: My Mexican Bretzel by Nuria Giménez (Spain), built on impressive archival work, and The Plastic House by Allison Chhorn (Australia) about grief and loneliness. Nuria Giménez will also participate in one of the RIDM Dialogue with Rodrigo Ribeiro, director of the short film La Mort Blanche du Sorcier Noir, on Saturday, November 21 at 3 p.m. 

Two more notable entries are Trees in Summer by Suyu Lee (South Korea), an impressionistic, poetic collage that will have its international premiere at the RIDM, and Petite Fille by Sébastien Lifshitz (France), a filmmaker well known for his documentaries Adolescentes and Les invisibles; this new film takes us inside the daily life of a trans child.


CHALLENGING POWER  available from November 19 to 25

These 12 films run the gamut from activist to experimental film, but they all confront current and past injustices, and pay tribute to brave, stalwart figures of resistance. Presented in collaboration with the CSN - Confédération des syndicats nationaux.

Some of the festival’s most-anticipated films are found in this section: the first-ever Congolese film selected for the Cannes Festival En route pour le milliard by Dieudo Hamadi (Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Belgium) who will participate in a RIDM Dialogue on Thursday, November 19 at 7 p.m.; Nardjes A. by Karim Aïnouz (Algeria, France, Germany, Brazil), presented at the Berlin and Visions du réel festivals; and Softie by Sam Soko (Kenya), which has been a festival-circuit hit with screenings at Sundance, CPH:DOX, Full Frame and Hot Docs. 

This section also includes three Hot Docs award winners: Apatrides by Michèle Stephenson (Canada), Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature Documentary; Impardonnable by Marlén Viñayo (Salvador), Best International Short Documentary; and Mother-Child by Andrea Testa (Argentina), named Best International Documentary at Hot Docs and best medium-length documentary at IDFA.

As always, this year’s RIDM gives pride of place to films by women, and they will be well represented in this section with Les femmes du soleil: une chronologie du regard by Hamed Zolfaghari (Iran, France) and Landfall by Cecilia Aldarondo (United States/Puerto Rico), a pair of activist first features. Quelque chose brûle by Victoria Maréchal, Nicolás Tabilo and Macarena Astete (Chile, Argentina) is a child’s-eye-view short that exposes a climate of violence and discrimination afflicting Chilean society.

Three Canadian films complete the section: Invasion by Michael Toledano and Sam Vinal (Canada), documenting Unist’ot’en opposition to a pipeline through their unceded territory; Oil & Water by Anjali Nayar (Quebec), which takes us to northern Kenya, where brave women rise up against colonialist and capitalist exploitation; and Peugeot pulmonaire by Samy Benammar (Quebec), an experimental short driven by white-hot rage against the dangerous sanitary conditions endured by workers in the heyday of industrialism.


LA SOIRÉE DE LA RELÈVE RADIO-CANADA – Sunday, November 22 at 5 p.m.

The annual showcase of emerging talent, La soirée de la relève Radio-Canada, will once again present first works by new filmmakers in an event streamed live on Radio-Canada’s Facebook page on November 22 at 5 p.m.

This year’s crop comprises the short films Allô Téta Allô Jedo by Joudy Hilal, Bâtiment X by Stéphane Mukunzi, Et demain, la tempête by Danyk Grenier, Mémoires Tangibles by Nicki St-Louis, Trait d'Union by Laura Kamugisha and Y'a pas d'heure pour les femmes by Sarra El Abed. The six films will be available for streaming on ICI TOU.TV starting November 23.



This year’s RIDM box office is online-only, via the festival’s website. To keep this online edition of the festival affordable, there are two ticketing options: the RIDM pass ($70 +tax), unlocking all festival programming, and thematic section subscriptions ($15 +tax), providing access to all films within a section. Each film will be available for one of the festival’s three weeks.


Complete program details, virtual activities, round tables, discussions and podcasts:


The 23rd annual RIDM runs from November 12 to December 2, 2020.



Information: |

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To request interviews, Vimeo links or press material, please contact:

Caroline Rompré | pixelleX communications | 514-778-9294 |


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