A Rendezvous with Madness: Highlights from the 2020 Festival

The world's largest mental health arts festival is needed now more than ever.

It’s hard to think of a year better suited to the Rendezvous With Madness Festival than 2020. With a pandemic, protests, bushfires, wildfires, murder hornets, and hurricanes—event after event has slowly chipped away at our collective calm.

Rendezvous with Madness (RVM) is the largest arts and mental health festival in the world and this year—the 28th edition of the festival—focuses on the human capacity for endurance in the face of great challenges. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. As people across the world face isolation, social marginalization, income uncertainty, and situational anxiety, RVM provides a space and the opportunity for conversation around mental illness and addiction.

Programming Highlights

The festival’s full programming line-up has much to discover across multiple disciplines. Alongside the superb opening night documentary Judy vs. Capitalism (read ’s review), there is a host of features and short films to choose from.

There’s Nasir, a narrative feature from the Oscar-nominated director Arun Karthick (The Story of the Weeping Camel). Based on a short story about a Muslim man in Tamil Nadu, the film tracks the title character as he navigates the dangerous uprising of Hindu nationalism. Or you could take in the North American premiere of Hiroshi Sunairi’s documentary, 48 Years—Silent Dictator, which follows former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada. Sentenced to death in 1968 for mass murder, he was held on death row for 48 years only to be exonerated. Or close out your festival with Unseen, a non-traditional documentary told using stop-motion animation. Not in a strictly cinematic mood? Then try experiencing Re:Building Resilience, a full-building visual, media and performance art activation at the Workman Arts building located at 651 Dufferin Street. 


With a plan appropriate for a festival actively tuned to the current state of the world, RVM has made all tickets Pay What You Wish and has ensured there are both safe, socially distanced in-person events and virtual options for experiencing the festival.

Check out the full RVM schedule and see what piques your interest, then head here to find out how you can participate and join in the conversation. The Rendezvous With Madness Festival runs until October 25.



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