The Rendezvous With Madness Festival Begins Wednesday in Toronto

Rendezvous With Madness is one of the largest — and first — art and mental health festivals in the world.

Now entering it’s 26th year, Rendezvous with Madness 2018 includes media installations, visual art, theatre, film, panel discussions and in-conversation events.

The expanded Rendezvous with Madness Festival takes place October 10 – 21, 2018, with the opening program timed to coincide with World Mental Health Day (October 10th). Events will run throughout the 12-day period at several venues throughout Toronto.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit the festival’s official website.


The Song and The Sorrow, Millefiore Clarkes, Canada, 2018
Toronto Premiere – documentary
Legendary Canadian songwriter Gene MacLellan, best for hits including “Snowbird,” “Put Your Hand in the Hand,” and “The Call,” gained national attention as one of the most brilliant songwriters in Canadian music, but he was never comfortable with the spotlight and struggled with depression, taking his own life in 1995. Years after his death, his daughter Catherine revisits her father’s past in an effort to reconcile her family’s tragedy.

Demons in Paradise, Jude Ratnam, France, Sri Lanka, 2017
North American Premiere – documentary
Director Jude Ratnam remakes a journey by train from southern to northern Sri Lanka that he took with his family when they fled the civil war and persecution by the Tamils. He follows the traces of the war: the violence, the people who helped and the self-destructive terrorism of the militant groups and the deep scars that remain.

Dressage, Pooya Badkoobeh, Iran, 2018
Canadian Premiere
A group of teenagers rob a convenience store for kicks but forget to take the security camera tape and force Golsa, a girl from a much more modest family than the rest, to go back and get it. Through Golsa’s story Badkoobeh scrutinizes the rigourous class divisions of Iranian society.

El Espanto (The Dread), Martin Benchimol, Pablo Aparo, Argentina, 2017
Canadian Premiere – documentary
The residents of a remote village in Argentina have a unique talent: they can heal almost all diseases. But there is one affliction that they are not willing to treat: Espanto, the Dread. This rare illness affects mostly women and can only be cured by a mysterious old man named Jorge, but the local men won’t allow their wives visit him. This witty documentary digs deep into the secrets of the villagers to unravel some of the unspoken truths behind their mentality.

Goliath, Dominik Locher, Switzerland, 2017
Canadian Premiere
Two twenty-something lovebirds, Jessy and David, simultaneously face pregnancy and a violent attack, which spurns David into intensive physical training and anabolic steroid abuse. A lyrical and vehement warning about toxic masculinity.

La prière (The Prayer), Cédric Kahn, France, 2018
Toronto Premiere
22-year-old Thomas is a drug addict who decides to put an end to his habit by checking into a rehab center in a remote rural area at the foot of the French Alps. The rehab consists of a tight-knit community of young men who come from rough backgrounds and struggle with addiction. All of them follow a strict, almost militaristic set of rules that help them stay clean. They also pray – consistently and fervently. In his uneasy route to recovery, Thomas discovers faith and love, and learns to make tough choices…

Laila at the Bridge, Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei, Canada, Afghanistan, 2017
Drug addiction affects millions of people in Afghanistan and has become one of the country’s deadliest problems. Amidst this crisis, Laila Haidari, the “Mother of the Addicts,” founded her own trailblazing addiction treatment facility. Local authorities chastise Laila and her methods while doing nothing to help the victims of Kabul’s opioid crisis. Laila has to stand against the corrupt government, financial hardships and even death threats to keep her center alive.

Land, Babak Jalali, Italy, France, Netherlands, Mexico, Qatar, 2018
North American Premiere
The matriarch of an Indigenous family residing on the isolated Prairie Wolf Indian Reservation, with one severely alcoholic son and one clean son now working on a cattle farm, learns that her youngest child Floyd, a commander of a unit in Afghanistan, has been killed while on active duty. The family sets out on a long struggle to repatriate Floyd’s body as they endure the unjust treatment from the US government.

Les Mondes De Vincent (The Worlds of Vincent), Rozenn Potin, Canada, 2014
Toronto Premiere – documentary
Vincent lives in two worlds. One world is his “reality” where he leads a regular life and the other is his “delirium,” where he is famous and extraordinary. In this delirious world, there are mystical creatures, danger and fighting where Vincent constantly battles against his greatest friends and enemies along with the numerous voices that live in his head. Vincent’s sister and director, Rozenn Potin, returns home from Québec to document her brother’s daily life and his struggle with mental illness

My Talk with Florence, Paul Poet, Austria, 2015
Canadian Premiere – documentary
A minimalist interview-film with Florence Burnier-Bauer who fled from the sexual and psychological abuse by her post-war bourgeois home into the Austrian counterculture community Friedrichshof, led by the infamous Vienna Actionist artist Otto Mühl, where her own children were subsequently taken away and the cycle of violence and mistreatment continued.

Qu’importe la gravité (Regarding Gravity), Matthieu Brouillard, Canada, 2017
Toronto Premiere – documentary
A touching and poignant portrait of a friendship between two completely different people – Christian, 63, who suffers from a rare genetic condition that impairs his vision, and Bruce, 71, who is hard of hearing and bipolar. Despite his disability, Christian has become skilled at paragliding. Now, he wants Bruce to join him in this adventurous sport. Filmmaker Brouillard observes the two men as they passionately fight gravity while deconstructing the conventional notions of living with physical and mental disabilities.

SPK Komplex (SPK Complex), Gerd Kroske, Germany, 2018
North American Premiere – documentary
In 1970, Dr. Wolfgang Huber and a group of patients founded the “Socialist Patient’s Collective” (SPK) in Heidelberg, Germany. Controversial therapy methods, political demands, and a massive interest in the movement from patients deeply distrustful of conventional “custodial psychiatry.” Their experiment in group therapy ultimately ended in arrests, prison and the revocation of Huber’s license to practice medicine. SPK Complex shares the untold story of events before the German Autumn, connecting the dots from Germany’s failure to address its Nazism after WW2 to present day inadequacies of the “modern” psychiatric system.

The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey, Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, 2017
Free outdoor screening
Nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Animated Feature Film, The Breadwinner follows an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. When her father is wrongfully arrested, she cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy in order to support her family.

Xiao Mei, Maren Hwang, Taiwan, 2018
North American Premiere
A young shop girl named Xiao Mei suddenly vanishes from her usual existence, without explanation or trace. Has she dissolved, or perhaps redeemed herself somehow? Nine people from her immediate surroundings try to fill the empty space left behind by this supposedly insignificant young woman.

YAVASHAKI (White Chairs), Reza Dormishia, Iran, New Zealand, 2017
Canadian Premiere
Renowned Iranian filmmaker Reza Dormishian offers a surreal and visually inventive portrayal of a shared traumatic experience. Using stop-motion technique and voiceover narration throughout his film, Dormishian chronicles the love story of two people whose relationship exists only in their minds.

A Mother Brings Her Son To Be Shot, Sinéad O’Shea, Ireland, 2017
North American Premiere – documentary
The War in Northern Ireland, also known as “The Troubles,” formally ended in 1998 with the Good Friday Agreement. But in the streets of Cregan, Derry blood is still shed and turmoil unobtrusively prevails. Members of this community reject any outside help and practice violent self-policing under the guise of keeping their community safe. One day, they give Majella O’Donnell, a mother of a teenage boy accused of dealing drugs, a choice: either she brings her son to be shot in the legs or he will experience something much worse. Sinéad O’Shea investigates the story of O’Donnell family to understand how such atrocities could happen within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.

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