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Montreal International Documentary Festival announces record passes sales

Record number of passes sold for the 23rd edition, which continues with





Midway through its 23rd edition, the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) is proud to announce that it has already exceeded its box office target for this virtual edition with the sale of a record number of passes to viewers everywhere in Quebec. The results confirm the enthusiasm of festivalgoers for reality-based cinema and this year’s original program. For those who would like to enjoy the festival’s remaining 69 films between now and December 2, the festival is now offering the pass for $50.


The RIDM pass provides access to the three sections that are currently available (until November 25): Contemplating Dystopia, Becoming Oneself and Challenging Power (presented in collaboration with the CSN), as well as the year’s final two sections, starting Thursday, November 26: Redefining Intimacy (presented in collaboration with Cinemania) and Surviving Violence. Single-section subscriptions are still available for $15.

REDEFINING INTIMACY available November 26 to December 2

These 13 films explore issues around private life, family relationships, romantic relationships and elder and end-of-life care. These very personal stories question the individual’s relationship with their society and era.


In this section, the Quebec-made films CHSLD by François Delisle and CHSLD, Mon Amour by Danic Champoux take a look at our society’s approach to elder and end-of-life care, while Life of a Dog by Danae Elon and Rosana Matecki introduces us to two mothers and their sons as they go about their lives during the disruptive lockdowns of 2020. Another Quebec-made film touches on a different sphere: Goodnight Goodnight by Mackenzie Reid Rostad draws our attention to cosmic movements and natural phenomena governing the Earth, through the prism of grief for a loved one.


The section also includes a pair of documentary masters: Claire Simon with Le Fils de l'épicière, le Maire, le Village et le Monde (France), which documents the creation of the online documentary platform Tënk, and Kazuhiro Soda with Zero (United States, Japan), a filmmaker showcased by the RIDM with a retrospective in 2018. The first films in this section are Teeth by Jennifer Martin (United Kingdom), a dystopian short with Lynchian overtones, and The Metamorphosis of Birds by Catarina Vasconcelos (Portugal), which, in fiction-documentary hybrid form, tells the story of Beatriz, a grandmother who died before the filmmaker was born, as well as her mother’s mourning.


Three more films in the section touch on loss and mourning: Thanadoula by Robin McKenna (Canada), a gentle meditation on life and death, separation and intimacy; Sayōnara by William Andreas Wivel (Denmark), which explores the filmmaker’s experiences around his mother’s death, and Mon Amour by David Teboul (France), who, while suffering inconsolable grief, and haunted by profound sadness and guilt, decides to drop everything and go to Siberia.


Rounding out the section are Southern Sorceresses by Beto Amaral, Carla Caffé and Eliane Caffé (Brazil) takes us to the heart of São Paulo, where a group of LGBTQ+ activists and artists document, with spirit and good humour, their occupation of public space, and Tandis que je respire encore by Laure Giappiconi, Elisa Monteil and La Fille Renne (France), who explain the multiple facets of femininity.


SURVIVING VIOLENCE available November 26 to December 2

12 highly topical films that testify powerfully to different forms of contemporary violence: the exploitation of Indigenous peoples, the tragic fate of migrants, countries at war, political repression and persistent violence against women.


Four films in this section explore topics related to refugees and migration: 3 Logical Exits by Mahdi Fleifel (Denmark, United Kingdom, Lebanon), which takes us to Ain al-Helweh, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon; Errance sans retour by Mélanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins (Quebec), taking us inside the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh; La Maison Bleue by Hamedine Kane (Belgium, Cameroon, Senegal), a portrait of a migrant artist living in the Calais Jungle who powerfully defies clichés; and Purple Sea by Khaled Abdulwahed and Amel Alzakout (Germany), a poetic, anxiety-inducing look at a group of shipwrecked migrants in the Mediterranean.


The section also includes some more intimate works in the form of Ankebût by Ceylan Özgün Özçelik (Turkey), an immersion in the thoughts of a woman who is a victim of conjugal violence; Night Shot by Carolina Moscoso (Chile), an award winner at several festivals that explores the psychological repercussions of the rape the filmmaker endured eight years earlier; and The Earth Is Blue as an Orange by Iryna Tsilyk (Ukraine, Lithuania), a poignant chronicle of childhood and resilience in wartime, reminding us of the vital role art can play in our lives.


Three films in the section make powerful political statements: Aswang by Alyx Ayn Arumpac (Philippines, Denmark, France, Germany) shines a light on the ultra-repressive drug policies of the Duterte government in the Philippines; Extractions by Thirza Cuthand (Canada) is an acerbic, uncompromising vision of relations between Indigenous and settler peoples; and Sous un même soleil by François Jacob (Quebec) transports us to the heart of the territorial conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which continues to tear apart Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Completing this section are La mort blanche du sorcier noir by Rodrigo Ribeiro (Brazil), an immersive sensory essay that gives voice to the slaves of the past while crying out for the freedom of those of the present day, and Unarchive by Cecilia Araneda (Canada), which juxtaposes her father’s journey in escaping Chile to settle in Canada and the historic events that shaped his home country.



The festival is always eager to start discussions around creativity and documentary issues, and to that end hosts numerous online discussions in multiple formats (video, audio, written).


On Monday, November 23 at 7 p.m., theatre and film artists will share their experiences during a ROUND TABLE: Film and Theatre – production during a pandemic, presented in collaboration with Espace libre, Wapikoni Mobile and Cinema Moderne. 


On Monday, November 30 at 7 p.m., panellists will check in on the industry with a ROUND TABLE: New reality-based narratives – a checkup, presented in collaboration with INIS and the Labdoc, and moderated by Matthieu Dugal. In the age of COVID, how are “new narratives” faring? What are the long-term prospects and potential impacts of new documentary forms in the wider digital media ecosystem?


On Thursday, November 26 at 7 p.m., the festival presents DIALOGUE: Errance sans retour / Sous un même soleil in which filmmakers Mélanie Carrier, Olivier Higgins and François Jacob will discuss issues of representation in documentary, geopolitical conflict and the survival of displaced peoples.


The DIALOGUE: CHSLD, Mon Amour will take place on Friday, November 27 at 7 p.m. for a discussion with filmmaker Danic Champoux on his recent film shot in the heart of a residential and long-term care center in the Centre-Sud neighbourhood of Montreal, right before the health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Lastly, on Saturday, November 28 at 7 p.m., filmmakers Amel Alzakout and Khaled Abdelwahed will participate in DIALOGUE: Purple Sea in which they will discuss the exceptionally difficult filming conditions and the sinking of Alzakout's boat on the way to Lesbos, where he sought asylum, and the long collective editing process for the film's powerful images.


To give audiences even more context for the films, podcasts and interviews with filmmakers are also available on the festival’s website.



Every year, RIDM hosts free dance parties that are open to the entire city. Despite everything, 2020 hasn’t broken our will to host a MTL Reunion Party. Through an experimental simulation, the festival invites the audience and artists to a reinvented closing party on Saturday, November 28 starting at 9 p.m. DJ sets (Gene Tellem, TiKA, GLOWZI), our famous karaoke hosted by Mubeenah Mughal, and multiple hangout rooms in which to relax with old and new friends will be available for free thanks to the most cutting-edge online technology (Zoom!). To register for the event:


On Tuesday, December 1, at 7 p.m. the festival will name the award winners for the 23rd edition at a virtual ceremony to be livestreamed on the festival’s Facebook page. Awards for the international, Canadian and New Visions competitions will all be announced, along with the Magnus Isacsson Award and the coveted Audience Award. Festivalgoers are invited to vote for their favourite film from within the festival’s online viewing platform.


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