RIDM Announces Opening Night and Closing Night Films

24 Davids
Courtesy of the NFB


By Pat Mullen

The Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) will kick off its 2017 edition with the world premiere of Céline Baril’s 24 Davids. This NFB production launches the 20th edition of the festival ahead of its theatrical release in 2018. Described as an essay film that spans three continent and brings the director in contact with 24 individuals, all of whom are named David, this globe-trotting doc is a bold and unconventional choice for an opener.

Baril is one of the most original voices in Quebec today having worked in both drama and documentary. Her credits include the 2009 documentary The Theory of Everything, which reflects on Québécois identity in the era of globalization; the 2014 documentary essay on contemporary America Room Tone; and the 2001 drama Games of the Heart starring Karine Vanasse and Xavier Caféïne.

RIDM bookeneds the 2017 festival with bold films by women thanks to the Closing Night selection of Sonia Kronlund’s Nothingwood. The film, which hits RIDM after screening at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, profiles film producer Salim Shaheen, who is the power player in Afghanistan’s economy of micro-budget z-grade movies. Nothingwood opens next winter.

Baril and Kronlund will both be at RIDM to present their films on Opening Night and Closing Night. Synopses and trailers for both films are below:

Opening Night24 Davids

Céline Baril’s latest film takes us across three continents on a quest driven by a simple yet original idea: to shine a spotlight on the inimitable Davids of this world. The 24 Davids in this film are of varying ages and professions, ranging from cosmologist to recycler; together, they construct a playful “ecosystem” of ideas that touches on every sphere of knowledge and carries within it the power to radically transform. 24 Davids offers a melting pot of heady thoughts and politics in a refreshingly freewheeling cinematic format, probing the mysteries of the universe and the challenges of living together.

Closing NightNothingwood

About a hundred kilometers away from Kabul, Salim Shaheen, the most popular and prolific actor-director-producer in Afghanistan, comes to show some of his 110 films and to shoot the 111th in the process. He has brought with him his regular troupe of actors, each more eccentric and out of control than the next. That trip is an opportunity for us to get to know Shaheen, a real movie buff who has been making Z movies tirelessly for more than thirty years in a country at war. Nothingwood is the story of a man who spends his life making his childhood dreams come true.

These selections add to the programme of five documentaries announced previously. Additional titles will be unveiled when RIDM releases its full line-up on October 18.

RIDM runs Nov. 9-19. Please visit ridm.ca for more information.