The 18th annual RIDM (Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal), which ran from November 12 through 22, is clearly one of the major doc festivals in North America. While still playing to its core strength of representing the finest Quebec docs made each year, the festival organisers have cannily developed an international approach, exemplified by their alternative Anglo name, The Montreal Documentary Festival. In a charmingly naïve press release, the festival dubbed the current edition, “a resounding success,” and continued, “Audiences, filmmakers, industry professionals and the festival’s partners attended in record numbers, making this ‘coming of age’ year one to remember!” That record number is 63,200, a figure that’s up 34% from RIDM”s 17th event.
POV was there to cover the festival in depth. In fact, we’ve created a dossier on RIDM. Maurie Alioff and Tyler Prozeniuk offer wide ranging views on the festival and some of its many films while Ron Deutsch concentrates in his piece on the festival’s Beatdox section. We’re reprising Adam Nayman’s pre-festival coverage of the RIDM curated programme A Photographer’s Eye and Pat Mullen’s interview with filmmaker Geneviève Dulude-DeCelles of Bienvenue à F.L., which garnered the best new talent from Quebec/Canada award.
Two other award-winners are covered by our writers: Field Niggas (best international mid-length film) by Prozeniuk and Homeland (Iraq Zero Zero), which won the Grand Prize for best international feature and the People’s Choice award and is written about in great detail by Alioff.
And what would a festival be without controversy? RIDM screened of the North, Quebec director Dominic Gagnon’s new work, which consisted of Youtube clips made by Inuits, and found the festival embroiled in a fierce debate about representation, native rights and the use of found footage. Judy Wolfe interviews Inuit filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril while Prozeniuk offers a much different perspective in his article.
As an attendee at this year’s festival, I came away impressed by RIDM’s professional and quite helpful organisation and its generally adventurous programming. We hope that it negotiates its way into a splendid adulthood in the coming years.