Montreal International Documentary Festival

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1 November 2018 Festival

50 Years After 1968: Three Practical Workshops at the RIDM

Fifty years after 1968, the RIDM, thanks to the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, will present three workshops exploring the fundamental issues that face documentary filmmakers working in conflict zones. The free workshops are an opportunity for professionals, students and the general public to benefit from the expertise of the RIDM’s exceptional guests.


WORKSHOP #1 – Documenting events: a high-risk activity
Sunday, November 11, 10 a.m.
90 minutes

Speaker: Jonathan Saruk, producer/cinematographer (Sweden)

Documentary filmmaking can mean working in dangerous, unpredictable settings. Filming in conflict zones or violence-prone situations requires filmmakers and their crews to be thoroughly prepared, and equipped with extensive tools and knowledge. Swedish producer, cinematographer and photojournalist Jonathan Saruk covered the war in Afghanistan from 2008 to 2012, the Arab Spring in Yemen and Bahrain in 2011, several insurrections in Gaza and the West Bank, the rebellion in the eastern Congo, and post-conflict events in Sierra Leone, Ukraine and Colombia. In this workshop he will share his experiences and help equip participants who are considering filming in risky places.

Jonathan Saruk will give an overview of questions to be asked and contingencies to plan for, illustrated with examples from his own work.

WORKSHOP #2 – Images and the law
Monday, November 12, 2 p.m.
90 minutes

Remy Khouzam, attorney specializing in audio-visual and digital production + Mélissa Beaudet, director (Police Académie, 180 JOURS)

The way we capture images of others has changed significantly since the age of direct cinema. Today’s documentary practices are situated in a very different context, in which technological change and the massive growth of social media have made it possible for anyone to capture images and distribute them widely. More than ever, we are attentive to our own image and those of others, and to their sacred aspect when taken in public. As a result, it has become important to establish a legal framework for the use and publication of images. Attorney Remy Khouzam will help us understand the law around images with an overview of the legislation and jurisprudence, to give creators a better idea of how to strike a balance between free expression, privacy and public interest.

Illustrating the workshop with real-world examples of filming and editing, Remy Khouzam and Mélissa Beaudet will discuss the appropriate balance between respect for the subject and public interest, privacy and freedom of expression. Beaudet will discuss her experiences with delicate situations, such as filming minors and vulnerable individuals.

WORKSHOP #3 – Aesthetics and the analysis of revolution
Tuesday, November 13, 2 p.m.
90 minutes

Speaker: Narimane Mari, filmmaker (Loubia Hamra (Red Beans) (RIDM 2013)and Le fort des fous (RIDM 2017)) on Skype
As a watershed moment for documentary cinema, May 1968 is often discussed from a purely Eurocentric perspective. And yet it gave rise to a constellation of cinemas spanning the entire globe, from South America to Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Anti-colonial insurrections were part of that creative energy, and it is important to recall that the documentary cinema born in the crucible of ’68 is also a cinema of decolonization. Franco-Algerian filmmaker Narimane Mari is part of that heritage. 

In this interactive session, the filmmaker will explore the aesthetics of historic and contemporary events. For Mari, the cinematic image is based on emotions, fantasies and dreams – making them just as important for our understanding of history as politics, ideologies and facts. She will explain her approach to composition through different sources, her way of re-evaluating her composition for each protagonist, and her approach to situating individuals in their environment. What kinds of liberties can we take in opening and combining these sources? What is our responsibility for what is made and said? How can the imagination explode reality while remaining true to the subject? Is it sometimes appropriate to downplay aesthetics?

All three workshops are free and open to all.


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Discover the best in documentary, take part in our year-round activities, and make the most of your festival!