Six National Film Board of Canada (NFB) produced and co-produced films will be in competition at the 2020 Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)-in a lineup of NFB titles featuring the best in women’s non-fiction filmmaking from across the country, as well as a festival homecoming for filmmakers with deep roots in Quebec.
RIDM will be available online across Quebec for three weeks, from November 12 to December 2, with films featured in week-long thematic presentations.
This year the festival presents five acclaimed NFB feature-length documentaries:
- Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer, a filmmaker, producer, writer and activist of Algonquin, Métis and French heritage from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg (Maniwaki), Quebec, who grew up on Treaty 9 territory in Thunder Bay and currently splits her time between there and Toronto.
- The Forbidden Reel (Loaded Pictures/NFB) by Afghan-Canadian director and Oscar-nominated producer Ariel Nasr, the NFB’s newly named interim producer at its Quebec and Atlantic Studio in Montreal.
- Stateless (Hispaniola Productions/NFB) by distinguished Haitian-Canadian director Michèle Stephenson, originally from Sherbrooke and now based in New York City.
- The Magnitude of All Things (Cedar Island Films/Flying Eye Productions/NFB) by Sundance award-winning director Jennifer Abbott, originally from Montreal and now based in Vancouver.
- Wintopia (EyeSteelFilm/NFB), Montreal filmmaker Mira Burt-Wintonick’s portrait of her late father, renowned Montreal documentarian Peter Wintonick.
It’s a lineup of films that re-examines the past, challenges injustice, and explores how the most personal stories impact us all, now touring festivals across Canada and around the globe.
Canadian Feature Competition
November 12 to 18: Disrupting History
Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer (90 min.)
Produced by Stuart Henderson (90th Parallel Productions), Justine Pimlott (NFB) and Jesse Wente. The executive producers are Gordon Henderson (90th Parallel Productions) and Anita Lee (NFB).
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/inconvenient-indian
- In this time of radical change and essential re-examination, Inconvenient Indian brings to life Thomas King’s bestselling book, dismantling North America’s colonial narrative and reframing history.
- Latimer’s film is a powerful visual poem anchored in the land and amplified by the voices of those who continue the tradition of Indigenous resistance, including artist activists, land protectors, hunters and those leading cultural revitalization.
- Winner of the People’s Choice Documentary Award and the Amplify Voices Award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Most Popular Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival.
The Forbidden Reel by Ariel Nasr (119 min.)
Produced by Sergeo Kirby (Loaded Pictures) and Kat Baulu (NFB), with executive producers Sergeo Kirby and Annette Clarke (NFB).
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/the-forbidden-reel
- The story of Afghanistan’s fearless and visionary moviemakers-who gave birth to an extraordinary national cinema amidst war and chaos-and the films we almost never got to see.
- Winner of the Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs 2020.
- An award-winning director and Oscar-nominated producer of film and interactive works, Ariel Nasr started a one-year term as NFB interim producer in Montreal on October 19.
November 12 to 18: Exploring Nature
The Magnitude of All Things by Jennifer Abbott (85 min.)
Produced by Andrew Williamson and Henrik Meyer for Cedar Island Films, Jennifer Abbott for Flying Eye Productions, and produced and executive produced for the NFB’s BC & Yukon Studio by Shirley Vercruysse. With the participation of the TELUS Fund and Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds, through the Theatrical Documentary Program.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/the-magnitude-of-all-things
- When Jennifer Abbott lost her sister to cancer, her sorrow opened her up to the profound gravity of climate breakdown. The Magnitude of All Things draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief-both personal and planetary.
- Stories from the frontlines of climate change in Northern Canada, Australia, Ecuador, Sweden and England merge with recollections from the filmmaker’s childhood on Ontario’s Georgian Bay. What do these stories have in common? The answer, surprisingly, is everything.
- Named Best Canadian Feature at the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival in Toronto.
November 19 to 25: Challenging Power
Stateless by Michèle Stephenson (95 min.)
Produced by Jennifer Holness and Michèle Stephenson (Hispaniola Productions), and Lea Marin (NFB), and executive produced by Anita Lee (NFB), Joe Brewster (Rada Film Group) and Sudz Sutherland (Hungry Eyes Media).
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/stateless
- Through the grassroots campaign of electoral hopeful Rosa Iris, this acclaimed doc by filmmaker, human rights lawyer and activist Michèle Stephenson reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
- Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs 2020, Best Feature Documentary Award at the BlackStar Film Festival in Philadelphia and the Best Feature Film Audience Award at the Boston Latino International Film Festival.
New Visions Competition
November 19 to 25: Becoming Oneself
Wintopia by Mira Burt-Wintonick (88 min.)
Produced by Bob Moore (EyeSteelFilm) and Annette Clarke (NFB), with Daniel Cross and Mila Aung-Thwin as executive producers for EyeSteelFilm.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/wintopia
- Wintopia is part Utopian odyssey, part mourning ritual, as a young filmmaker traces the enigmatic footsteps of her late father, renowned documentarian Peter Wintonick.
- Winner of the Colin Low Award for Canadian Documentary at Vancouver’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival.
- Peter’s credits included co-directing the landmark Necessary Illusions/NFB co-production, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, with Mark Achbar.
National Short and Medium-Length Competition
November 26 to December 2: Redefining Intimacy
Thanadoula by Robin McKenna, with art direction by Elise Simard (6 min. 38 s.)
Produced by Robin McKenna (Gaudete Films) and Jelena Popović (NFB), and executive produced by Michael Fukushima for the NFB’s English Animation Studio in Montreal. Produced with a grant awarded by bravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) and completed with the support of the RiverStyx Foundation and the Women Make Movies Production Assistance Program.
Synopsis, biographies, images: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/thanadoula
- Two sisters entwined by love. When Annie disappears, her younger sister, Natalie, seeks her out in an unconventional way: as a thanadoula, accompanying the dying in their final stages. Between their slow and final breaths, Natalie finds a bridge between life and death and, ultimately, a pathway to her sister.
- Honourable Mention for the Canadian Film Institute Award for Best Canadian Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival.
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