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11th RIDM - Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal

11th RIDM (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal)
November 13 to 23 2008

The 11th edition of the RIDM (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montreal) will take place from November 13 to 23. A program of more than 100 films from thirty countries, a long list of special events and the 4th edition of Doc Circuit Montreal - the documentary marketplace, will take over the city. The RIDM is pleased to welcome Madame Louise Beaudoin as spokesperson for the 11th edition of the festival. Former government minister, associate member of CERIUM and coordinator of the Francophonie Network at the Université de Montréal, Madame Beaudoin is also a new member of the RIDM’s Board of Directors. More than ever before, the RIDM has cemented itself as a place for encounters, discussions and for reflection on the great social, political and environmental challenges that face our world. A must attend event on Montreal’s cultural scene; it is a privileged place for the discovery of documentary film and its creators.

The RIDM will dedicate this 11th edition to Santiago Alvarez (1919-1998), the most famous documentary filmmaker from Cuba. This revolutionary and militant filmmaker was a key figure in the Cuban revolution, and is also credited with inventing the music video! The audience will be able to discover his most famous works during a screening in the presence of Lazara Herrera, his companion.

The North American premiere of the film No London Today, by young French filmmaker Delphine Deloget, will open the festival with the filmmaker in attendance. This film is full of emotion and humour and allows us to intimately discover the lives of the illegal immigrants who wait in Calais, in the north of France, in the hopes of making it to England. Closing the 11th edition of the RIDM, is a double program featuring moving films filled with beautiful images that take us to South America. The short film La Sombra de Don Roberto by Juan Diego Spoerer and Hakan Engström introduces us to an elderly Chilean man who has chosen to live his life in the desert, in the very same place where Pinochet imprisoned him. This great film on liberty and the human condition will be followed by the documentary Le Dernier rodéo by Andrés Jarach, a superb road movie about a cowboy who, with his seven-year-old son, crosses Patagonia, on the way to his last rodeo.

More than ever, the RIDM official selection reflects the current preoccupations of our world. Camera- stylo offers a selection of films that stand out for the distinctive approach of each director and the personal quality of the writing, and the films in Camera au poing, explore in depth the socio-political issues of our constantly changing world.

Quebecois and Canadian filmmakers examine a wide variety of subjects, including neo-liberalism and its spin-offs in Encirclement by Richard Brouillette, the wounds of September 11 and the war in Afghanistan in The Magician of Kabul by Philippe Baylaucq, the deployment of young Latino- Americans to Iraq in Une mort insensée by Raymonde Provencher, the separation of families between North and South Korea in Tiger Spirit by Min Sook Lee, and the relationship between immigrants and their gardens in Un jardin sous les lignes by Bruno Baillargeon. Catherine Veaux- Logeat follows the quest of a woman, who for thirty years, investigates the disappearance of her Guinean husband in Hier encore, je t’espérais toujours, and Peter Svatek looks at the adoption of the children of the disappeared in Argentina by the friends of the regimes dictators in Vols de bébé, vols de vie. Finally Marquise Lepage, with Martha qui vient du froid, examines the displacement of Inuit populations by the Canadian government so that it could establish its sovereignty in the Great North.

Just like the local films, the international selection places importance on today’s burning issues. The state of women in the Middle East is seen from the inside in the film Stone Silence, on the stoning of an Afghan woman, and in Four Wives–One Man, an amusing and brilliant portrait of polygamy in the Iranian countryside. Refugees from Darfur are at the centre of the magnificent and unreal film Au loin des villages. Lakshmi and Me examines the relationship between a young feminist filmmaker and the woman who has been her housekeeper for 5 years in a rarely documented aspect of Indian women’s lives, and No More Smoke Signals examines KILI the largest Indian-owned and operated public radio station in America and how it defends its local culture, history and rights. The theme of illegal immigration is witnessed in two troubling films: La Forteresse the film from Swiss filmmaker Fernand Melgar (who will teach a master class), and that won the Golden Leopard at Locarno, and La Frontera infinita from Mexican filmmaker Juan Manuel Sepulveda. Finally, some of the great names of documentary filmmaking will join the official competition Fernando Solanas, for the final instalment of his trilogy on the Argentine crisis (La Proxima estación), and Avi Mograbi (Z32), who follows up the film Valse avec Bachir by Ari Folman, taking up the theme himself, exploring with originality the role of Israeli soldiers in the war in the Middle East, using not only animation but musical comedy and special effects!

The EcoCamera section returns for a 3rd year. In collaboration with UQAM’s Cœur des sciences and the Institut des sciences de l’environnement, EcoCamera tackles major scientific and environ- mental challenges. In the official selection, we find films from Quebec that examine reality in our own backyards: Black Wave : L’héritage de l’Exxon Valdez, on the worst environmental disaster in North America, La Bataille de Rabaska, chronicle of a catastrophe, Lacs – Sous la surface, on the famous “blue green algae”, La Savane américaine, where the obsession for a perfect lawn is examined through the lens of humour, ecology and sociology, L’Héritage des trappistes d’Oka, on these contemplative agronomists profoundly rooted in society, and Terres à la dérive, a call for the sovereignty… of food! From outside Quebec the film Fuel, presents a smart, humorous look at how the U.S. came to rely so heavily on oil; About Water, People and Yellow Cans, is a visually stunning work on communities with too much or not enough water; The English Surgeon, a heart wrenching look at the tragic effects of two-tier medicine, and Taking Root–The Vision of Wangari Maathai, a chance for audiences to meet the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. The EcoCamera section is a presentation of Télé-Québec.

Finally, the RIDM is proud to present the newest section in their official selection, Doc Tape. This section is dedicated to underground works, atypical and marginal in subject or in form, that explore popular culture from a new point of view. In this new section, we examine street art (Roadsworth, Crossing the Line) and pornographic art (Nina); Palestinian hip hop (Slingshot Hip Hop) and warm Cuban rhythms (At Second Glance – Social Club Buena Vista, which examines the mystery of the Buena Vista Social Club, the club that no one, not even Wim Wenders, had been able to penetrate before this film); the lighter side of life (The Reinactors, on the new Elvis, Marilyn and Superman who stroll Hollywood Boulevard to amuse tourists) and documentary film noir (Roubaix, commissariat central, affaires courantes, which unravels the dark shadows surrounding an inquest into murder); Chinese dogs and their weird owners in In the Year of the Dog to the film Chats errants from Belgium… to the house of a cranky old lady with dozens of stuffed animals (Esther Forever)!

New discoveries are always honoured at RIDM: this year there are twenty debut films found throughout the four sections of the official selection, and they are all in competition for the First Camera Award. Also, in an effort to expand their reach outside of Montreal, the RIDM, in collaboration with the Musée de la civilisation, will return to Quebec City from November 13 to 16, for a 4th consecutive year, to present a selection of documentary films.

The 11th RIDM will be held at the following locations: the Cinémathèque québécoise (335, de Maisonneuve Boulevard East), the NFB Theatre (1564, Saint-Denis Street), UQAM’s Cœur des sciences (200, Sherbrooke Street West), the Grande Bibliothèque (475, de Maisonneuve Boulevard East), Cinéma du Parc (3575, ave. du Parc) and Concordia University (1455, de Maisonneuve Boulevard West). And in Québec, at the Musée de la civilisation.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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