Charlotte Selb, director of programming for the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival (RIDM, taking place November 10-21), says that the changing direction of the documentary genre has resulted in a vibrant, varied program this year. ‘We’re trying to be as diverse and audacious as we can. We have comedy, drama, theatre, adventure films,’ she says.
Selb recognizes that many filmmakers are exploring the borders between documentary and fiction; thus, some docs in that genre will also be represented at the festival, alongside experimental and art films.
The opening night film, Stéphanie Lanthier’s Les Fros, dealing with the new image of brush cutters in Quebec, is a unique look at the Quebec identity, says Selb. ‘It’s a fresh and funny film, yet very simple. We were charmed by it.’
The closing night film, Lucy Walker’s Waste Land, focuses on Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and his visual art project which involves the workers of a landfill in Rio De Janiero. ‘It’s a very compelling story, very moving and very smart at the same time because it’s a reflection of the artists and the responsibility to the environment and its subject,’ Selb says.
Selb notes that the number of submissions entered regarding the fall of the USSR sparked the From USSR With Love focus. ‘We realized that probably 20 years after [the fall], filmmakers have been able to access some archive that they weren’t able to before,’ she says. Films from Estonia, Poland and Uzbekistan will tackle the subject in the six-film spotlight.
In addition to the doc programming, RIDM will also feature three master classes. D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, whose Kings of Pastry also appears at the fest, takes place November 19, while French director Denis Gheerbrant and Quebecois director Isabelle Lavigne (Junior) each host their own master class. RIDM will also feature two roundtable discussions, with one focusing on community-based arts and one about the presence of female directors in the Americas.Three films will also feature post-screening discussions: Ondi Timoner’s Cool It; L’imposture by Ève Lamont and Sainte-Anne hôpital psychiatrique by Ilan Klippe.
For more information on RIDM and to see the schedule in full, click here.