Montreal International Documentary Festival

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9 November 2016

The RIDM starts tomorrow !

The RIDMstarts tomorrow!

Fire at Sea by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi opens the festival 

and introduces a topical, eclectic line-up

Montreal, November 9, 2016 - The 19th annual Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), which runs from November 10 to 20, opens tomorrow. The Quebec premiere of Fuocoammare, par-delà Lampedusa (Fire at Sea)by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, will launch the festivities. Taking the lead from its ambitious, masterful opening film, winner of a Golden Bear at the most recent Berlin Film Festival, this year’s RIDM presents an inspired selection of works that connect with reality in all its forms. 

Filmed on an island symbolizing the refugee crisis, Fire at Sea puts contrasts into sharp relief, making the absurdity of current tragedies palpable as never before. The documentary film will open the festival on November 10 at 7 p.m. at Concordia University’s Alumni Auditorium (H-110).

The screening will be followed by the opening party at RIDM Headquarters at 9 p.m. Festivalgoers will enjoy the She-Devils’ 60’s-inspired pop along with hip-hop artists Hua Li and Strange Froots. The party will end with DJ sets by Jef Ellise Barbara, Eejungmi and Clearspot. 

A second screening of Gianfranco Rosi’s opening film will be presented at Cinéma du Parc on November 14 at 5:45 p.m.

As always, the festival’s program is brimming with works that investigate some of today’s biggest issues. Combat au bout de la nuit by Sylvain L’Espérance is an unconventional activist epic, tackling head-on the recent socio-political upheavals in Greece, positing the urgency of a fight that has only just begun. Mixed Feelings by Guy Davidi captures, in profound ways, the controversy consuming Israel. Amir Orian’s theatre in Tel Aviv is shaken when he tells his students he opposes the country’s Gaza policy. In Tempestad by Tatiana Huezo, Miriam was falsely imprisoned on human-trafficking charges; Adela’s daughter disappeared ten years ago: two stories, two sides of a tragedy eating away at Mexico. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes by Brett Story is a profoundly activist work on the impact of the American penal system, in the form of a brilliant, meditative essay that reinvents the activist documentary. A masterful epic, Wake (Subic) by John Gianvito uses the contamination of Subic Bay in the Philippines as the entry point to a detailed, meticulous study of American colonialism in the country.

Meanwhile, native stories are front and centre in INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place/it flies. falls./] by Adam and Zack Khalilwhere video, animation, testimonials and performances come together in a kaleidoscopic essay that brings to life the ancient Ojibway prophecy of the arrival of the white man. We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice focuses on Alanis Obomsawin who for six years followed the twists and turns of a legal saga around the fair treatment of indigenous children. Both a tradition and an economic necessity for the Inuit, and an unacceptable practice for animal-rights activists: Angry Inuk byAlethea Arnaquq-Barillooks into seal hunting today and exposes the disinformation surrounding it.The discussion Indigenous Videographers Shoot Back will invite a constellation of Mohawk, Ojibway, Abenaki, and Inuit artists and filmmakers to discuss their own practices and processes. 

Artistic creation is also explored in this year’s programming. David Lynch: The Art Life by Rick Barnes, Olivia Neergaard-Holm and Jon Nguyen is a fascinating interview in which the cult artist reveals himself as never before, down to the very roots of his creative vision. Mr. Gaga by Tomer Heymannfollows the life and work of Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, one of the most imposing figures in contemporary dance and the originator of the Gaga movement.

The RIDM will also keep challenging the boundaries between documentary and fiction. Gus Van Sant’s Elephant comes to mind when we watch Dark Night by Tim Sutton: haunted by the Aurora, Colorado movie theatre massacre of 2012, this poetic, melancholy docu-fiction paints a portrait of a lost country where violence is part of everyday life. In Tales of Two Who Dreamt by Andrea Bussmann and Nicolás Pereda, a Gypsy family awaits a Canadian immigration hearing, but their priority is the fantasy movie script they write and perform before our eyes, their words taking control of the film. In Vienna, young Roma men have no option but to sell their bodies. The unsensational Brothers of the Night by Patric Chiha is a dreamlike theatre of their lives, reminiscent of Fassbinder.

The programming also invites audiences to meet moving, funny and unforgettable characters. Peter clings to the world of his Vermont farm, living as a hermit who muses on the present and often revisits the past. Peter and the Farm by Tony Stone is a heartbreaking portrait of a complex, engaging character. The Hartings are blind. They sing in the Montreal metro, and are haunted by the absence of Hassan, the youngest child who died tragically. Resurrecting Hassan by Carlo Guillermo Proto is a touching portrait of an uncommon family. Young people attending a college on the outskirts of Paris confide their dreams, hopes and fears in Swagger by Olivier Babinet, a poignant, fantastical docu-fiction. 

Quebec’s only film festival dedicated to documentaries, the Montreal International Documentary Festivalpresents the best reality‐based films, including the works of established directors and new talents.

The 19th edition of the RIDM will take place from November 10 to 20, 2016 

at Cinéma du Parc, Cinémathèque québécoise, Pavillon Judith-Jasmin, Concordia University and RIDM Headquarters  (3450, St. Urbain Street).

Information: /


Contact: Caroline Rompré | publicist | 514-778-9294 |

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