Rendezvous with Madness Announces Line-up

I am Another You


By Pat Mullen

Toronto’s Rendezvous with Madness film festival has announced its line-up! RWM unveiled its 2017 programming yesterday and the festival offered a few docs for its annual event that engages audiences with films about mental illness.

“Film has always been a uniquely insightful window through which to view the subjective experience of mental health – it can immerse you in a characters inner life in a way nothing else can – and of course immersion creates empathy and understanding,” said Rendezvous with Madness programmer Geoff Pevere in a statement from the festival. “In this year’s lineup you’ll find films about addiction, bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression and relapse, but also stories of men, women, children, institutions, family crisis, clinical experience and people who have simply fallen off the grid, whether by choice or circumstance.” [Read an article by Pevere on mental illness and Fred Wiseman’s classic Titicut Follies in the current issue!]

The docs in this year’s RWM line-up include Kalina Bertin’s extraordinarily raw and personal Manic, which explores her family’s history with bipolar disorder. The film sees Bertin revisit family home movies as she interprets her childhood through a new perspective after learning that her father, George, was bipolar and that his illness has been passed on to two of her siblings. “It was like seeing another side of our family that was right there in our face but I didn’t have the right information to process it,” said Bertin in an interview with POV earlier this year.

Also screening at the festival is the Canadian doc Pushback by Matthew Hayes. The film takes audiences inside Peterborough’s Warming Room homeless shelter where residents escape the cold and receive food and a bed during the winter. Hayes also takes audiences outside the shelter during the six months of the year that the Warming Room isn’t open to see how residents of this region struck by poverty survive during the off-season.

On the international front, RWM offers Doctor Feelgood, directed by Eve Marson, which profiles Dr. William Hurwitz, who received a 25-year prison sentence after being convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution, and The Blood is at the Doorstep, directed by Eric Ljung, about Dontre Williams, a black man with schizophrenia who was shot 14 times in a park in broad daylight. Especially worth catching at the fest is Nanfu Wang’s I Am Another You in which the director meets a young man named Dylan and explores his nomadic lifestyle of perpetual rootlessness and motion. Back at Hot Docs, we called I am Another You an “intricately layered, visually seductive exploration of the longing for absolute freedom, [and] the thin white line between vision and madness.” POV is proud to support RWM by co-presenting I am Another You at this year’s festival.

RWM also features the exhibition De-Institute, which examines alternatives to forms of institutionalized care through artistic interpretations of mental health and addiction. De-Institute offers four works by Canadian contemporary artists: Brad Necyk, a multi-media artist that focuses on patient experience, auto-ethnography, psychiatry, pharmaceutics and biopolitics; Jan Swinburne, a video-sound artist; Julie Riemersma, a multi-media and fashion artist; and Wendy Whale, a multi-media and visual effects artist.

Rendezvous with Madness runs Nov. 3-12 and is presented by Workman Arts.

Please visit RendezvousWithMadness.ca for more information on this year’s festival.